Meet COLLECTIVE12: Dé afstudeerders van MAFAD

Pia Walter

Woensdag 30 mei 2018

In de aanloop naar Fashionclash Festival zullen wij de komende weken een aantal afstuderende design studenten van MAFAD voorstellen. Deze studenten zijn onderdeel van COLLECTIVE12. Deze lichting studenten moet in tegenstelling tot voorgaande jaren hun eigen afstudeershow  organiseren en financieren.  Met jou steun kunnen deze studenten deelnemen aan Fashionclash Festival waar zij in samenwerking met FASHIONCLASH een volwaardige afstudeershow neer kunnen zetten.

Naam: Pia Walter


Instagram: piawalter_

My name is Pia Walter, 25-years old and currently living in Maastricht. I was raised in the rural area of Zülpich in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. After I graduated from the German Gymnasium with an English-bilingual Abitur, I started an education as Garment Technology Assistant at Berufskolleg Humboldtstraße, Cologne.  I really enjoyed these two years of technical and industry-related education, but felt the need to develop my creativity further. I decided to move to the Netherlands to study Fashion Design at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design (MAFAD). At the end of the third year, I went for my internship at Fyodor Golan to London for six months.

How do you look back at your study? What was the most importent moment you have experienced?

Overall, my studies were a journey of self-development for me: Who am I, why am I the way I am and what is actually important to me? It was constantly pushing my limits, broadening my views and lots of emotional ups and downs along the way.

My highlight was clearly my internship in London. The style of the brand Fyodor Golan was far out of my comfort zone, but I decided to  accept the challenge to get new and different input for my own aesthetics. It was tough work, but London and its vibe were incredible and extremely inspiring. Again, I feel like I did not only change and improve work-wise, but also developed my personality a lot. I met lots of amazing, hard-working and inspiring people and even got the opportunity to work on a project for Reebok.  My time in London showed me how important your surrounding can be when it comes to your work, and through constant feedback and exchange with like-minded people I learned where to position myself.

What characterizes you as a designer?

I enjoy working from existing objects and clothing, deconstructing and reconstructing them to new items. I love sports- and streetwear, a vibe which can be found back all along my work. Lots of hoodies, sweatpants, leggings and big coats — comfort and non-restrictive clothing is important to me. Against muted, rather dark colours you will find contrasts in bright, flashing colours. To add more edge and a modern vibe I use prints and shiny materials.

When have you decided to become a fashion designer?

I never planned to become a Fashion Designer. It all started when I was 16 and frustrated with the clothing choices in stores. Nothing really appealed to me, and if it did, it was far out of my budget. Out of this frustration I decided to start taking sewing lessons next to high school. One day my teacher back then, Bettina Bauerfeind, asked me whether I could imagine to actually turn my hobby into my job, because I was talented and passionate. One year later I started my education as Garment Technology Assistant, which included not only pattern-cutting, sewing and techniques, but also acquiring knowledge on weaving, knitting, fibres and production chains. All in all, it was very industry-orientated and design and illustration lessons were mostly focussing on commercial design. Through some contacts, I discovered MAFAD, went to an Open Day and finally applied.

What facinates or inspires you at a daily bases?

The human mind and its complexity is a reoccurring subject in my work, and I think I might never get tired of it. More than that, I take my inspiration from film, nature, youth culture, sportswear and digital art.

What message do you want to spread through your designs?

Fashion is a medium to empower ourselves, and once a piece is put on, there should be no further worry about it. Clothes should support us, our thoughts, moods and our focus, and not distract us.

What is your vision on the fashion industry in the future? Which roll will you be taking there?

I believe in picking items which truly fit to oneself rather than following every trend. Only when clothing is carefully picked and adapted to one’s personal desires and needs, it functions as this tool of empowerment and aligns with my belief in fashion as a medium of empowerment.

In the future, I first want to work for a commercial brand, preferably in the sports and streetwear section. A position in design would be amazing, but I can also imagine myself working in a more technical rather than creative position, for example in pattern cutting. After gaining more professional experience, I can also see myself teaming up with somebody and starting an own label.

What is the concept of your graduation collection?

My graduation collection “AWE” is about balancing our technology-filled lives with experiences in nature.

Especially the generation of so-called Digital Natives grew up alongside technologies such as computers, the World Wide Web, smartphones, Social Media and Virtual Reality. With all benefits and opportunities technologies bring with them, there are also downsides coming along. The lines between what is real and what is fake are getting blurrier, everything is moving along faster, and the pressure on (especially young) individuals is rising, which results in increasing numbers of mental health numbers at dropping ages.

Humans have always found retreat in nature. I believe that nature can be the answer to many of our mental health problems and that its importance will increase in the future. I want to show that nature is an essential part of our lives, it is where we derived from. There is neither a possibility nor a need for us to abandon society and technology, but it is important to create a temporary distance every once in a while, to find a healthy balance in order to get the best out of both worlds.

To visualise the concept in a fashion collection I merge elements from camping-equipment and army clothing with sportswear and digital prints.

What can we expect of you in the nearby future?

I would love to give you a more precise answer to this question, but I am for now going with the flow — I am going to apply for some jobs, but I want to keep some time after my graduation as open as possible. I want to be able to seize opportunites which might open up through the whole graduation process and the show at Fashionclash.

And, as I explained in my concept, I can sure use some time in nature to fully recharge ;)


Fotograaf: Ginger Bloemen

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