How to Find Creative Bliss during Difficult Times - Interview with Barbara Weigand from IOSOY
IOSOY –Translated from Spanish the brand's name means 'I am'. Throughout her life, founder Barbara Weigand aims to make a statement with her art. Initially working in painting, she became a certified textile designer before starting her slow-fashion label IOSOY in 2008. She designs wedding and evening dresses made of the finest materials and a cross-collection with "ready to wear" pieces that can be combined with each other regardless of seasons or trends.
Sustainability and a conscious approach to clothing is a top priority for Barbara Weigand. To provide this, all her designs are sewn in Europe. With the European borders closed and Germany in lockdown, the designer's way of working had to adapt. In our interview we asked her how she is coping with the challenges and she told us how she is reaching a larger clientele now. And how we can recognize high quality textiles when shopping online.
MADAME: How do you spend your time in isolation?
Barbara Weigand: Fortunately, I was able to spend the exit restrictions in my house in the east of Munich. There I have my studio, where I can work very creatively while enjoying the view of the countryside.
At first, I had to cope with being set to zero at full speed. That makes you think. I used the time to think extensively, with walks across meadows and fields. I have a very playful Vizsla girl and it lifted my spirits tobe outside with her. It was very helpful and grounded me.
M: Are you working from home? What is your working day like?
B.W.: As a designer the isolation is not so bad, you can concentrate on your work and be very creative. In November 2019 I launched my#easyglambyiosoy collection, which was well received with orders for the 2020 ball and wedding season. But many cancellations have occurred now because no-one can foresee how the upcoming weddings can be celebrated.
Therefore,my intern and I worked very efficiently for 5 hours every day on new topics. We screened pictures, rewrote texts and did a digital"cleaning up" of everything that would otherwise have been left behind.
Sometimes this is inconvenient because you only think about work at home, but I realized that we are actually more productive simply because you can work more concentrated. After a coffee break I feel more relaxed and can get back to work faster, more focused and concentrated. This is avery valuable realization.
M: Nice! Did you gain more new insights and abilities due to Corona?
B.W.: If you work from home, you have to get used to the fact that the phone will be ringing all day long. Most of the time it started at 8:30 a.m., so sometimes at noon you would find out, oh, I'm still in my sleeping clothes.
The experience of many things going online was very exciting. You had to get used to this kind of communication,that several people talk to each other via ZOOM or Hangout. But after a while it became really fun. I easily got in contact with supporters allowing me new ideas to develop. Soon we decided to integrate my easyglam series into a new Shopify shop to reach a much larger clientele. But today you need both: An online presence and a retail shop. New retail concepts will come, because just buying online will not work. People are social, online shopping is distancing.
Nevertheless,I also think that we, as a small production company, will have the chance to provide the desired transparency to ensure quality. I believe that production on demand and high-tech will help to ensure that the diversity of craftsmanship survives.
M: What will you no longer take for granted in the future?
B.W.: The definition of success. The definition of safety. We cannot grow indefinitely, and now we have to change direction to maintain some form of quality of life. We can only do it together.
M:Was there a nice moment of surprise?
B.W.: My biggest surprise was the solidarity of my customers. Despite the difficult times, they supported me by buying vouchers, placing orders and motivating me to continue – just by signalizing that they are with me. This is the real success of my work as a fashion designer over the last 12 years. It makes me proud and yet humble.
M: How can a customer recognize high-quality textiles when shopping online?
B.W.: Unfortunately, a customer won't recognize the differences online because you can't touch the material. Of course, you can perhaps conclude from the material composition and the type of fabric described that it might have a high quality. Clothes made of not particularly high quality are usually less durable and not neatly finished. But when a company communicates how it produces and shows transparency in its supply chain, it develops a sense of trust among customers.
M: Which textiles do you prefer to use for summer dresses?
B.W.: I like to use raw materials such as cotton, linen and viscose for summer dresses because they are very absorbent, cool and skin-friendly on hot days.
M: If you had to choose a flower for your home, what would it be?
B.W.: I love peonies in summer and proteas in winter
M: What would you say about your past self/future self?
B.W.: Have trust
M: Do you have a mantra to live by? What does it say?
B.W.: Everything has its reasons, just go forward and don't stock on pettiness
M: Your guilty pleasure?
B.W.: A very good glass of red wine
M: Which smell reminds you of your childhood?
M: Your favourite place of all time?
B.W.: There are many places in the world that I have seen, but stepping outside the door at home and walk across the meadows is a gift.