I met Laura Stöckl briefly at Graduate Fashion Week where her AW13/14 collection graced the catwalk as part of the Istituto Marangoni Show and her portfolio had left me so mesmerised that I just had to get in touch to find out more about this young up and coming Fashion Designer:
Hi Laura, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m half German, half Luxembourgian, born and raised in a small town near Frankfurt. Since a young age I travelled a lot and grew into an open-minded person, fascinated by the different arts and cultures I learned about, especially by the beauty of Latin American countries. At the age of 16, I decided to spend the 11th grade of my Abitur (equivalent to A-levels/high school) abroad in Mexico, which turned out to be an amazing experience. It changed my perspectives on life and myself. It was also during the exchange year in Mexico that I realised I wanted to become a fashion designer.
So how did you get your start in fashion?
Since I can remember, being creative has been my greatest passion and the most fulfilling aspect of my life. So it was a natural interest that got me closer to fashion – and when I was sixteen I started to sew my own clothes. After that I did a one-year project as part of my A Levels which included designing and creating a collection inspired by Frida Kahlo. The project was based on the year I had spent abroad in Mexico and did not only reward me with the highest achievable mark but also confirmed my dream to become a fashion designer. Thus, I decided to do a BA in fashion design.
What are your aspirations as a designer?
It is very important for me that whatever I do – I want to do it good. I cannot just work on a collection to make money but it needs to be good. My aim as a designer is to create something that people will enjoy and want to wear. In the future I would like to reach senior design position or become art director of a successful, globally recognised fashion brand. Also, I would love to get the opportunity to one day launch my own line and have it commercially produced.
Who or what are your greatest influences and inspirations as a fashion designer?
I constantly seek for new inspiration and always try to visit current art fairs and exhibitions. My approach in fashion roots in a continuous interest in fine arts and design – there is no switch between creativity and free time for me. Street style icons and women who I could or would like to imagine wearing my designs are also a great inspiration to me.
You’ve recently graduated from Istituto Marangoni London, could you tell us a bit more about your time there and your course?
Istituto Marangoni is an Italian university, which is based in Milan with schools in London, Paris and Shanghai. I actually decided to study there because of its excellent reputation in the industry – and was not disappointed. The BA course is really work intensive and competitive – one only determined students will get through. What I really liked about the course is that we started designing from the beginning and had a lot of opportunities to experiment and develop our own style, to see what we like and what we don’t. We also did menswear and accessories, high street, avant-garde, haute couture. The courses were covering a wide range of subjects related to fashion. While there was a lot of focus on design, pattern making and construction, we were also taught about the business aspect of design and all the technical parts that come into creating a collection such as specification sheets, technical drawings, merchandising collections and coordinating fabrics and colours. Furthermore we had to do marketing and business plans, as well as creating customer profiles. We also learnt a lot about history of art, fashion, contemporary art and fashion innovation and were taught a strong base in digital designs covering programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.
So how was the Graduate Fashion Week experience for you?
Graduate Fashion Week was an incredible experience! First of all – the show was amazing! We had an amazing set and beautiful models and everything went well. Being on stage with a model in my dress for the final run – there are no words to describe this feeling. I think it was only then that I realised how hard I had worked for this and it was just great to see that it paid off. Moreover, it was a great opportunity to meet people from the industry and other young designers.
Could you tell us about your design process from concept to completion for your AW13/14 collection:
My graduate collection is about the spirit of youth and the fear of losing one’s dreams along the road when growing up. It is an Autumn Winter 13/14 collection and consists of six outfits; 12 pieces. I tried to combine a vibrant and young mood to a modern, sportive look with playful elements. Main inspiration was the sense of freedom I found in Ryan McGinley’s photography and contemporary art connected to the theme. Originally, I started off a year ago by researching on markets, looking outside the fashion world and trying to see trends and future developments that could have an influence on fashion in the future. This helped a lot in terms of textile and colour inspiration but also lead me to a lot of inspiring research. Further on, I started building up different concepts and ideas, mostly experimenting with different approaches, silhouettes and manipulations. I love prints and embellishments but wanted to come up with something more innovative, something new– which is how I started creating my own sequin prints, cut from printed acetate sheets. Finally, I settled with the concept “forever young” for which the sequin manipulations ended up as a centric element; the semi-transparent, printed acetate shines in bright, saturated colours to encapsulate imagery of vivid dreams for the wearer. In the end, it does not matter how old you are but how old you feel, and my collection is aimed to make the wearer feel forever young.
So what’s next for you?
Currently, I am looking for international job opportunities as a fashion designer. Also, I am participating in design competitions such as Vogue x Muuse Talents – Young Vision Awards and trying to put myself out there on the radar of the fashion design houses that interest me. Designing is a way of life to me and I already have plans for future collections. It is my dream – and as I believe probably the dream of every passionate designer – to ONE DAY have my collection commercially produced and sold on the market under my own label.
Are you a designer?