FORWARD FLIP: For smaller labels, getting by in fashion these days takes grit — and imagination. Paris-based design duo Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins understood during the spring lockdowns that when business resumed, the world would be a changed place, calling for nothing less than rethinking their approach to fashion.
“The confinement period was long, we thought a lot and one day we counted how many trips a garment makes before the final piece enters a department store — our production was in Italy and in Portugal,” said Feldman, speaking in a showroom space in Paris. The pair, who are married, established their label in 2012, melding his interest in skate culture and eccentricity à la Tim Burton with her fascination of experimental fashion.
Between five and eight trips, they concluded.
“We said to ourselves, this serves no purpose, how much carbon emissions, how many trips? We decided to set up our own production in France and minimize the trips — to two,” she explained. From this season on, the label will only offer pieces that can be produced entirely in-house.
The design duo is also embracing another new way to doing things: reversible clothing. One item of clothing, two looks, they said, lifting pieces from a rack behind them. Office-appropriate on one side, a long, thinly striped, collared shirt could be worn like a tunic, with a layer of fluid silk poking out of the bottom. Flipped inside out, the piece becomes a dressy smock, elegantly gathered along the shoulder. A lightweight khaki jacket looks like a dressy suit jacket on one side — with a line of embroidery running down the arm, and slanted pockets. The reverse side offers a more casual look, with trim cargo pockets, but no embellishments.
“It’s not just a few pieces, the entire collection is reversible,” said Berzins. “Two visions are reflected perfectly in one piece,” he added.
Feldman described their design process. “I don’t like saying our style is masculine or feminine, but rather a dialogue between Tomas and me, between his masculine view and mine, as a woman,” she said.
The pair, who are gradually weaving men’s wear into the label, have a fashion show planned for Sept. 29, the second day of Paris Fashion Week.