I give myself a chance to dive in deep into the curiosities of textile world and speak with a brand new textile engineer Katharina Bredlich. She's just 24, freshly graduated from North-Rhine University of Applied Sciences [Germany], holding a Bachelor’s degree in textile engineering.
We meet in Belgrade, and it's a place, where she did her internship in a knitting company “IVKO” [http://www.ivko-knits.com/en/ - by the way, the promo video is quite impressive] and where she got a job offer to continue her life-long learning experience adding to it a few extra years in the management of textile world.
It’s important to have an Inspirer
It all always starts with something. Something probably extremely small, a small urge or a splash of passion, but later on it turns out to be very meaningful detail in someone’s career. Katharina entered the enormous world of textile industry unconsciously by seeing her older sister making clothes. Was it a grasp of competition or an inner wish to make something beautiful with your own hands, she doesn’t know, but she felt she could overcome this challenge and she did start sewing, while still studying at school. And one of the best qualities of Katharina as I notice from our conversation, is this unbearable enthusiasm she has to learn new things, making the quote of Adidas “Impossible is Nothing” fit her perfectly. Not many people make their own graduation dresses, but she’s one of those who did.
After finishing last exams at school Katharina had to choose her future profession and she actually got approved for studying Architecture after passing all entrance tests. But something changed her mind about Architecture and she skipped that study year. But the things never stopped in her own fashion and design world - and she applied for an internship in Köln at “Ludvik” to work with well-known couturier and fashion designer Fenja Ludwig [ http://www.ludvik-cologne.de/ ]. And even though from a professional point of view Katharina’s graduation dress didn’t seem to be perfectly made, again her unbearable enthusiasm and excitement about the designing, sewing, and willingness to learn and improve her skills to perfection, accompanied with enormous amount of creative ideas, made Fenja choose exactly her to be her trainee. And she did succeed. As Katharina tells now, she’s most thankful to Fenja Ludwig for being an Inspirer for her, as she was the one, who taught her a lot of new things and had the main influence on her choice of future directions in life.
The Textile Engineering: a close-up on Industry’s Latest Demands
“You don’t need to study fashion design, you just need to learn to make shapes,” was the advice Katharina got from her former teacher Fenja Ludwig before she applied for studies at North-Rhine University of Applied Sciences. And even though the entry test was rather similar to the one that fashion designers try to pass - at least the creative part, she chose to apply for textile engineering, as it included not only her favourite subjects from school times - like Chemistry or Maths, but the previously mentioned fashion design either, that meant gaining new skills and tricks how to do the things she enjoys the most. ”That’s a perfect combination of Chemistry and Textile,” Katharina says “and from technical part, you get to know the things that matter the most in textile world: fiber, the quality, expenses, technique, the origin of it”. Fashion is just a small part of the enormous fabric industry, though studying textile engineering gives an opportunity to experience how the whole creating process looks from inside - to see how a small piece of yarn transforms into a creasy, light and flowery fabric and what makes it so - all the machinery work and creativity of a human is captured there. Weaving, textile and knitting techniques, game of colors, compositions, screen printing, laboratory experiments and much more. Her choice seems to be quite practical and she notes: “An artist is doing it for a matter of art, a designer has to stick to certain rules. So you have to know the rules to play the game.” And the game can be played anywhere, where the textile is present.
There’s something about bees...
Asked if she has her own label already... she smiles and points at little insects on her dress she’s wearing today. I thought those are flies, but she nods that everyone thinks so, but those ain’t flies, those are BEES! During her studies one of the projects consisted of the task of making a design on fiber using screen printing technique and design clothes... and her main motive were bees. Asked about her choice she points that: “Everyone is crazy about butterflies or all kinds of flowers, but I haven’t seen much bees in cloth design. Bees are underestimated. There’s definitely something more about them.” And bees themselves carry with them a stereotype of very diligent creatures, so could be Katharina herself. Always unsatisfied, always fully inside the working process and always interested to explore what’s beyond the horizon of the neighbouring flower field.
While other study mates are obtaining their Master’s degrees already, she does not worry about it. She takes the opportunity to work in her field, and learn as much as she can, so that after years she can enter the Master’s program and the labour market already as an experienced young specialist, having a real background of how the industry is functioning. And probably “IVKO” is the best venue for her right now as it’s “the Place where knitting begins to tell its’ story” and I have no doubt she can truly brighten it up, this self-driven, always on the move Kathy [like a] Bee...