Designer Interview

By: FashWire
Dec 08, 2022 03:21 PM

When did you know you wanted to become a designer?

Fashion and aesthetics have always played a big role in my life, but I only found direct access to the fashion industry after my marketing studies. As a marketing consultant, I worked for several international fashion brands at different advertising agencies and dived deeper and deeper into this magical world. I was finally allowed to advise brands in product design and became a designer myself. When I talk about design, I always see the whole brand appearance, where the product forms the design core, and from this, a unique and authentic brand world should be created.


What was your previous work experience before launching your brand?

After my marketing studies, I first worked for a large and private German TV station in the editorial and marketing departments. After that, I switched to the advertising & PR industry as a marketing manager until I founded my own marketing agency for fashion & lifestyle brands in 2006, where I am still CEO today.


What is your earliest design memory for your brand?

An absolute and impressive highlight was my first visit to one of our Italian fabric suppliers, Lanificio Bottoli, in Italy. This five-generation family-run business with even its own sheep farm near Venice truly captivated me with its positive energy, friendly nature, and creativity. Moreover, sustainability is very important at this weaving mill, and they stand for a fully verticalized production cycle for 100% manufactured fabrics from Italy.


"Classic garments are increasingly being combined with sporty and casual products, which I find very exciting and diverse as it appeals to my personal style and that of DORNSCHILD."


What made you want to design men’s vests?

My passion for vests was especially forced during my work as a fashion marketing manager and through visits to international fashion fairs. I often searched there for my own needs from brands that did not offer conventional suit/jacket vests. By this I mean vests that impress in terms of cut, proportions, fabrics, and workmanship, have no lining back, and can be combined and styled in a variety of ways. I simply couldn't find anything like that and sew a gap in the market with a needle, I founded DORNSCHILD. The world's first brand that specializes purely in fashion vests for modern men.


Where do you find inspiration?

If you walk through life attentively and positively, there are countless impulses that inspire you. As a creative person, you absorb snapshots that come from architecture, art, music, and nature, but also from meetings with unique people. People who, with their stories and their attitude to life, trigger something in you and make you think.


What is your favorite fashion trend? Least favorite?

In recent years, dress codes in men's fashion have become extremely relaxed and a casual-chic look prevailed in popularity more and more. Classic garments are increasingly being combined with sporty and casual products, which I find very exciting and diverse as it appeals to my personal style and that of DORNSCHILD.


How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style goes quite clearly in a modern and casual, gentlemanly direction. I like to mix different styles like sporty, casual, and classic with each other. This creates an exciting, but also authentic look that fits almost every occasion, without being overdressed.


What sets your brand apart from the rest?

Outstanding design is made up of numerous components and details that only come to light when you take a closer look, try them on, and combine them. With our founding in 2013, we wanted to put the topic of vests, modern yet timeless, in a new fashion light for the world of men.

We developed numerous cuts and prototypes laid out like a "jacket without sleeves" and meticulously tweaked every millimeter to create the perfect cut for different body types. In fit, our vests are cut narrower and more masculine, but also longer for larger men.  In the end, after a lot of hard work, we succeeded very well. Only the finest Italian luxury fabrics are used for our men's vests, and lining backs as well as plastic buttons are taboo for us. We offer numerous cuts with many details, whether single-breasted with or without lapels, smart double-breasted, casual hooded vests, and chic tuxedo to cool biker vests.


What inspired you to name your brand?

As a German premium brand, it was important to me to have a brand name that shows our roots, is memorable, and of course, sounds masculine and high quality. I think brand names should authentically reflect their origin or include a creative derivation of it. DORNSCHILD (DORN - in English THORN - and SCHILD - in English SHIELD) came to my mind one night during a walk and I knew right away, that's the one.


“Reflect your true self onto your business constantly and act as an entrepreneur, marketer, and designer in one person.”


Do you find it difficult to have a brand based in Munich, Germany? What are the perks versus the challenges?

As Munich is a modern metropolis in the middle of Europe, our position could hardly be better from a European perspective. For many international brands, Germany is also a very important, if not the most important European market. This makes it exciting, but at the same time not easy to succeed here as a special and small brand, against large corporations in the business-to-business fashion trade. We are currently looking for distribution partners in America and Canada, as we constantly receive great feedback from these countries and are sure to appeal to many customers there with our style and standards.

With our own online store, we are in turn independent retailers, and can thus sell our brand very well and successfully worldwide via social media marketing and other digital channels.


What is the one piece of advice you would give to a new designer?

Always follow your heart, mind, and passion! Reflect your true self onto your business constantly and act as an entrepreneur, marketer, and designer in one person.


How has the fashion industry changed since you first started out?

When we started our brand in 2013, an asymmetrical oversized look was an absolute fashion trend at the time. I know two brands that were founded at that time and in that style and had a lot of success in the short term. However, when this trend flattened, their success and desirability also declined sharply. With this, I want to express that trends are short-lived and brands must embody an authentic brand world that should stand above any trend.


What can consumers expect to see next from your brand?

As a premium fashion brand for the modern man, we will continue to be all about the fashion vest. In addition to our numerous designs which include men's vests with and without clapels, double-breasted, vests with detachable hoods or a woolen shawl collar, zipper vests, to tuxedo and biker vests, new and exciting cuts will be added continuously with great attention to detail. 

But there is more! Starting from our core product vest and in the typical DORNSCHILD DNA, we offered for the first time in the Autumn/Winter 2022 season an exclusive and very high-quality coat collection. The feedback from the trade and our customers has been so great since then that we will continue to offer smart casual designer coats.


If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career, what would it be? 

Take the necessary time for creative processes, look for long-term and close partners who stand behind you and your vision, and don't try to want everything at once. Focus on the essentials, learn from your mistakes, and as an entrepreneur, trust consumer feedback, and don't take the fashion trade as a pure benchmark.


What is one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate for your company?

In any case, this person should bring passion, team spirit, and talent. If there is also a certain amount of creativity and a sensitivity for aesthetics, even better. Everything else, such as knowledge and experience, can be learned.


What do you envision for the future of your brand?

We want our international customers and retail partners to remain enthusiastic and happy with our DORNSCHILD vest and coat collections while also establishing a successful presence with our brand in other continents and additional European retail partners.