Anne Gorke “Details with no function bother me”

Fashion designer Anne Gorke
Fashion designer Anne Gorke | © Christian Rothe

Anne Gorke uses environmentally friendly materials manufactured to fair trade standards for her fashion, which is inspired by the Weimar Bauhaus. But sometimes it just has to be parrots.

When you think of Weimar, the names Goethe and Schiller – who once lived and worked here – automatically spring to mind. But Weimar was also the home of Bauhaus, the famous art school founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius with the aim of bringing fine art and crafts together. Its characteristic style still has plenty of charismatic influence, for instance on young fashion designers. And that’s why the Anne Gorke fashion label, which is named after its founder, is based in this Thuringian town.

Every frill is superfluous

Anne Gorke Summer Collection Anne Gorke Summer Collection | © Getty Images When you look at Anne Gorke’s collections, you don’t necessarily associate them with the Bauhaus design, which is known for its uncluttered design idiom. Sometimes the dresses feature large parrot and artichoke prints – or even word statements in an oversized majuscule font. That may be because there is “no specific style” that Gorke follows or that influences her. “It’s more about quiet aesthetics and decisiveness”, says the designer.

It did actually all start with the famous Bauhaus University: Anne Gorke studied there – admittedly not fashion design, but media culture with a focus on film. “During this period my aesthetics and understanding of form developed and consolidated significantly”, remembers Gorke. Looking back, she perceives the discovery of the Simple Design and Form Follows Function principles as being “like an awakening” and an “aesthetic home-coming”. Although she describes her fashion as “Bauhaus-inspired”, she does not consider herself to be influenced by a specific Bauhaus discipline but has “more of a fundamental attitude to the design and form of things and objects”. Every frill is superfluous. “Details with no function bother me. I need clear lines, clear areas and distinct silhouettes. If something flows too much, I’m not satisfied”, says the designer.
 
  • Anne Gorke Collection © Getty Images
    Anne Gorke Collection
  • Anne Gorke Summer Collection © Getty Images
    Anne Gorke Summer Collection
  • Anne Gorke Summer Collection © Getty Images
    Anne Gorke Summer Collection
  • Anne Gorke Summer Collection © Getty Images
    Anne Gorke Summer Collection
  • Anne Gorke Collection © Getty Images
    Anne Gorke Collection
All item of clothing designed by Anne Gorke are manufactured in Germany. That’s unusual, because most labels have their goods produced cheaply abroad. But Gorke goes a step further: she uses high-quality materials that are not only manufactured under fair trade conditions, but are also environmentally friendly and sustainable. It doesn’t always have to be cotton, wool or leather – in the current collection she has also used recycled materials. Sustainability is something Anne Gorke has understood since she founded her first label Vilde Svaner – Swedish for Wild Swans – especially in the sense of transparency and responsibility for the people who are involved in the production of her clothes.

Sustainability means transparency and responsibility

“My top priority is that the manufacturing process is carried out responsibly. I don’t necessarily consider certification important. I would like to know the people involved and hear them tell me how the fabrics are made”, says the designer. Anne Gorke’s collections are mostly found in retail outlets – in Osnabrück but similarly in Berlin-Kreuzberg or Dubai. The typical customer is “self-aware, between 30 and 70, open-minded, interested and has both feet on the ground”.

Anne Gorke’s collections are mostly found in retail outlets – in Osnabrück but similarly in Berlin-Kreuzberg or Dubai. The typical customer is “self-aware, between 30 and 70, open-minded, interested and has both feet on the ground”.

Films and images that become collections

Anne Gorke Collection Anne Gorke Collection | © Getty Images Anne Gorke’s most recent collections had names such as Nightingales or Artichokes, and you might think that she sets a theme for each collection. But for her it’s more about “always having an atmosphere, a situation and a mood. Films and images play a key role here”. She is not focusing on a particular genre – “blockbusters, indie, documentaries,…”, it changes from one collection to the next. “It always starts with a specific moment, which kind of logs itself in inside my head, and then bit by bit a structure builds up around it. The title usually comes right at the end, because it’s only then that I realise exactly where I’ve finished up. It’s a sort of intuitive hand-over-hand through the jungle – the jungle of thoughts.”

Gorke never looks for a particular theme; it tends to find itself. Sometimes she fears that she might be confronted with a sudden inner void, “but it hasn’t happened yet”. Usually the ideas come so quickly that she can’t even keep up with them. The only thing that helps then is being alone and quiet. “Opportunities for retreat and withdrawal are very important for me.”

In July 2014 Anne Gorke was invited to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin yet again, to showcase her Autumn/Winter collection Too Cool for Cruel.