Berlin-based fashion designer Judith Bondy has launched her new collection “OTHERWORLD”, featuring outsiders in a fantasy playworld – a space cowboy saloon, a Victorian tea party, an exotic safari, a 20’s cabaret – hunted by the status quo and fighting for their own uniqueness.
Following “Fillette” the rather sweet and gentle debut collection, “Otherworld” makes a markedly brighter and bolder statement. Voluminous tulle dresses, tops, and skirts are mixed with glitter PVC jackets, bottoms and pants topped by two pieces composed of glass crystals. Bondy’s signature style – creating strong contrasts by mixing heavy hardware with delicate fabrics to balance softness and stiffness – is found in all her looks. The collection is rounded out by a new line of accessories and bags. Otherworld is available online: SHOP.
Read our interview with Judith Bondy, to learn more about her work and inspiration.
Tell us a bit about you, and what brought you to fashion in the first place? As far back as I can remember I have loved fabrics. Even as a little girl I was asking for fabrics for xmas to dress my stuffed toys. I also loved crafting and had a talent for it. When I was 12 my grandmother, who was a seamstress, told my mum to buy a sewing machine. From there I started sewing right away, either changing up my clothes or making completely new ones. My mum never saw the sewing machine again… At the age of 16 I decided I wanted to be a designer, without knowing what that would mean, but somehow I haven’t changed my mind since.
What inspired you for this new collection? Any anecdote in particular? The new collection is inspired by so many different things that are not connected at all in the first place. That is what I love about fashion. As a designer you can take anything that inspires you and weave it into a story. Storytelling is so important to me. For the collection OTHERWORLD I was inspired by the Victorian era, tea parties, safaris, 50s style, cooking in America, crocodiles, space westerns, nightlife, and cabaret. The model is some kind of a time traveler, playing around and acting like she was living in these particular times. Meanwhile she is watched by two evil forces who represent the real world, and want to take her away from the fantasy playworld which she created for herself.
“As a designer you can take anything that inspires you and weave it into a story.”
“Nowadays people often forget to dream; everything is so serious. The world is full of rules and regulations. I want to break that, encourage people to be however they want to be.”
What message do you want to spread through your work in general? I have a very creative mind and a lot of crazy fantasies. Nowadays people often forget to dream; everything is so serious. The world is full of rules and regulations. I want to break that and encourage people to be however they want to be. I suppose my clothes are expressing that.
Your aesthetic is quite contrasted, mixing opposite elements and fabrics together… Are these strong contradictions a reflection of your own personality? Yes, they absolutely reflect my personality. I am very emotional and soft but at the same time quite strong and tough. The mix is very interesting because one element supports the other contrasting element, and together they are unbreakable. I think it is some kind of a superpower to have such a contradicting character. But of course it needs to be balanced – that is the biggest challenge.
“I think it is some kind of a superpower to have such a contradicting character. But of course it needs to be balanced – that is the biggest challenge.”
Your work is so colourful! Do you feel like Berlin has a strong influence on your creativity? Berlin definitely has a strong influence on me – though not so much how people are dressed. It’s more the energy of the people here. I do love how people dress up at night – just as much as the typical straightness of the original Berliners! But I take my inspiration from anywhere, especially Asia.
What artist/designer do you look up to? Any surrealist or DADA artist is a huge inspiration for me. But I also go to art fairs as often as I can and keep discovering new great talents. As far as fashion designers go, I love Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simon’s early collections, Margiela, and many more. The mix between different disciplines such as fashion and art is what is appealing to me. Ottolinger’s porcelain bag is a great example of that.
What’s next for you ? My main focus is on my own brand, and I am currently working on my new collection. I am trying to develop a new system of growth that works for me and my brand, to counter the outdated system which the fashion world has now. And as I love both art and fashion, I will keep working for different artists and fashion designers in addition to my own company. Every day / every week is totally different, so it is hard to say what will happen next, which I am honestly quite happy about. It is nice not to know sometimes.