Anne Trautwein An experimentalist among the new German designers

Using industrial paper and wood veneer Anne Trautwein creates avant-garde looks that are also extremely wearable.

Anne Trautwein, Aamulla-Collection S/S 2013 Anne Trautwein, Aamulla-Collection S/S 2013 | Photo: Christoph Jann, Marcus Jacobi This fashion collection from Halle in Saxony-Anhalt is predominantly white and made of a wool-like fabric that puts an end to worries about marks or pilling. Apart from standing out with stunning looks these dresses, tops and skirts of the young designer, Anne Trautwein, are also sensational with regard to the used material. By processing engineering paper from the field of architecture, she is able to produce a fine yarn that she then knits into garments. This polyethylene fibre material offers a host of advantages – it can be washed at up to 90 degrees centigrade, it does not pill, is completely anti-allergenic, easy to wear and can be fully recycled time and time again.

Exciting “green” fashion

Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 | Photo: Christoph Jann, Marcus Jacobi In turn, this brought Anne Trautwein an invitation to take part at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin where she presented her new collection “Aamulla”, created together with Finnish designer Katja Palomaa. Her presentation at the Ethical Fashion Show and in the Green Showroom was showered with praise by the press and in fashion blogs. Her label “Luxaa” was noted as being an example of how exciting “green” fashion can be, demonstrating what can be achieved when a designer starts to look for alternatives to cotton and leather.

Unusual materials

Already during the early days of her studies at Burg Giebichenstein in Halle an der Saale Anne Trautwein showed signs of being cut out for this line of fashion design.

Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 | Photo: Christoph Jann, Marcus Jacobi Right from the start, pure garment design did not really appeal to the young fashion student; “I think it is much more exciting to use unusual materials. During my course of studies I also started to experiment with car seat covers”. And she showed little interest in any strict adherence to shape and form: “I find product design very interesting and have always seen myself more as a general designer than a creator of pure fashion. I took a very interdisciplinary approach throughout my studies”.

Knitted paper

Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 | Photo: Christoph Jann, Marcus Jacobi For her final year project, she tried to define the different style types of people, using a fabric. Besides noticing the restrictive properties of conventional materials during this project, she also discovered how individual fabrics produced fixed associations: “Silk is always considered cool and high class, wool is warm and hemp creates a feeling of being natural. I found all of this too fixed, I wanted to find a new material.” And she needed one that was ready to stand up to stress and that maintained neutral looks – certainly no easy task. In the end, the Erfurt-born designer found the engineering paper “Tyvek”, a non-woven fabric of polyethylene that is pure white and has absolutely smooth features.

This paper is commonly used wherever hygiene and cleanliness are a priority – in operating theatres, for instance, laboratories or also in architecture as a breathable membrane. This type of paper has been around since the nineteen sixties, but no one has ever used it to knit with before.

Project wood

Anne Trautwein, Paperknit Collection Anne Trautwein, Paperknit Collection | Photo: Matthias Ritzmann Anne Trautwein found out how to do this after many hours of trial and error. She developed a way to extract wool-like balls of thread from the paper that could then be knitted into a fabric without much difficulty – to make dresses, capes and skirts. Inquiries have been coming in from the processing and medical technology industry. After all, the properties offered by this material are hard to beat in some professional fields: they are more hygienic than cotton, wash better than linen and are softer than wool. A patent is also pending. The fabric is now being machine made by a medium-sized enterprise in Saxony-Anhalt.

Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 Anne Trautwein, Aamulla Collection S/S 2013 | Photo: Christoph Jann, Marcus Jacobi Nevertheless, Anne Trautwein continues to develop prototypes in her studio and is on the look out again for new, unusual materials. Wood is next on the list. In fact, she is actually looking at laminated wood veneer that is more commonly used to make furniture. Together with product designer Johann Schmidt, she repeatedly breaks it down, glues it again and bends it until it can be used to make belts, bangles and sun visors that excellently match the white Tyvek dresses of the Aamulla collection. When asked about her next plans Anne Trautwein comments: “I am always trying to find unusual materials that can be appropriately worked and processed. You just have to look hard enough.” And keep trying things out, something that Anne Trautwein is certainly not afraid of.