Maria Seifert was very clear about the fact that she would like to become a designer. Thus, the girl from Leipzig lives the dream of many young girls. The fashionable 34-year-old is well aware that fashion is not a plaything for dreamers, but rather a tough business. And she seems to have done everything right. With its timeless, sustainably produced favorite pieces, Maria Seifert has built up a strong customer base. Instead of constantly throwing new collections onto the market, it is based on a clever basic collection with favorite pieces such as the “Lotta” trousers, which are constantly enriched in new colors and materials, completely new in autumn-winter 2017 in wool. Or – one of my absolute favorites – a friendly yellow A-line skirt. Or the light, airy blouse, or the piqué shirt “Elly” … In short: I am a real fan of Maria and her fashion. I met her in Berlin and talked to her about timeless favorite pieces, family, her inspiration sources and the challenge as a mother and designer.
Interview with Maria Seifert
my-GREENstyle.com: You belong to the “Greenshowroom dinosaurs” and you were there at the “Hotel Adlon”. Then you have been exposed for a few seasons and have now returned. What moved you?
Maria Seifert: Originally, I showed at the Innatex and then at the Ethical Fashion Show. Then I was invited to show at the Greenshowroom. I had deliberately set a year for a break and looked around to see which trade fair works best, because many conventional shops also find my collections well and I would also like to expand my customer base there. But the Greenshowroom is definitely the best platform for me. The ambiance is the most beautiful: it is elegant and wonderfully simple. I like the urbanity and the high quality of the exhibitors. For me as an exhibitor, the competition is also very important. And it is very strong at the Greenshowroom.
The Greenshowroom is definitely the best platform for me.
my-GREENstyle.com: Is creativity with you in the family?
Maria Seifert: My background is quite creative: My grandmother was a designer. She made first a sewing apprenticeship and studied then design. My grandfather was an opera singer at the Leipzig Opera. The rest of my family comes from the technical sector. My brother and his wife work at a big automobile company, my mother is an engineer, my father is at the environmental protection office. I was handed both 50:50. So I somehow live between the worlds. There is always a small inner dispute …
my-GREENstyle.com: You already knew very early that you wanted to be a fashion designer. Would you do the same again today?
Maria Seifert: The question is mean (laughs). I say quite honestly: No. If I could rage again, I would rather go into the scientific field. Art history has always interested me.
I was blue-eyed, as my parents say, but maximally motivated.
But I love my profession. And as it is now, everything is fantastic. But the way was very hard and rocky. I have accepted a lot and have done a lot of hard work. But I have gained a lot of experience and have now arrived at a point where it is so intricate and running. I have a vision as a designer, I have the customer feedback, I have found my market place and it has to be expanded now.
my-GREENstyle.com: What did you bring back with you?
Maria Seifert: I learned a lot on the way and it has brought me a lot of humanity. I am able to apply a wide range of skills from PR to editing and design. I am very versatile in a company. This is very nice and makes me very proud. But the hard way – if I had known that beforehand – I would have been too cowardly to go this way.
My parents are so proud.
my-GREENstyle.com: Do you have a tip for Fashion enthusiasts, which have the same plan as you?
Maria Seifert: I would advise all interested people to listen to their gut feeling and ask themselves “what do I want?”. There are so few places and perspectives in this area nowadays, so you have to be clear about what you really want before you study.
.My conclusion: Where do I want to go, what will I do later. And then work specifically on it.
You have to approach the topic professionally from the first second. If, for example, you want to get into the industry, you have to align yourself accordingly. You have to do a lot of internships, you can not concentrate exclusively on the design. Just the same when you want to make fashion PR. You have to focus very early on. The fashion business unfortunately does not offer much room for dreaming …
Dreaming is in fashion not possible
my-GREENstyle.com: You have an eight-year-old daughter. How do you manage the fashion design job with your own label and your child?
Maria Seifert: For five years now, I am single mother and that is a real challenge. Of course this was beside my desire for deceleration also a reason why I moved from Berlin back to Leipzig. My whole family lives in Leipzig. And that is a huge discharge for me. The job like I just do it just works with my big family in the back.
And I have to compromise: I now have, for example, a studio that is attached to the apartment. I can not expand as I wish, because I also want to be there for my child, would like to take care of the homeworks, would like to make a relaxed breakfast. Hats off to our children.
As much as I love my job – I want to be there for my daughter.
my-GREENstyle.com: What grounds you?
Maria Seifert: My family. And I have a retreat in the Harz. At least every two months, I have to get out completely. Because you can adjust the clock. No mobile phone, nothing. Only forest. Family. Child. Go hiking. Sports. Reading. And when I come back, everything is all right.
my-GREENstyle.com: In the past, you used to make skirts from old army blankets and lining outfits made from cellulose fibers. Is Upcycling also a topic for you?
Maria Seifert: I just designed my own upcycling collection. For this I work with wonderfully colorful old saris, which I get from a women’s cooperative. I work with substances from overproduction, fabric rests etc. The topic is very, very exciting.
Timeless design interests me most
my-GREENstyle.com: Are you experimenting with sustainability, or have you found your way?
Maria Seifert: I think I’ve found my way for the Collections line. The experiment is the upcycling line. But I am open to all things as long as they can be integrated into everyday life. Sustainable technical functions I would only conditionally in the collection. Except it has a very grounded character
my-GREENstyle.com: What material would you like to work with?
Maria Seifert: I find functional materials particularly exciting. For the next autumn / winter collection, a quilted coat is in the conversation, which I would like to leave for myself. The upper material should be made of recycled polyester or similar.
Trend research is also not my thing. I work with a basic collection
my-GREENstyle.com: Where do you find your inspiration?
Maria Seifert: Actually, I have no direct source of inspiration. Of course, I have newspapers at home and like to go to the museum, but I do not have enough time. Trend research is also not my thing, because I work with a Basic collection. But I love old cuts. My mother has an old “Burda Moden” collection from my grandmother. I like to try cuts and fit them.
my-GREENstyle.com: And how do you approach a new collection?
Maria Seifert: My ideas are collected in my sketchbooks, which I review every season again. I draw from my old designs and there is still a lot.
The past is a great source of inspiration for me
my-GREENstyle.com: Which fashion designer would you like to meet?
Maria Seifert: Phoebe Philo of Céline. She plays so intensive with modern cuts, urbanity and portability – that’s just fantastic.
my-GREENstyle.com: What do we find in your favorite wardrobe except Maria Seiffert Collection?
Maria Seifert: Much Hessnatur. I just ordered two sweaters at Grüne Erde. I like to buy jeans second hand.
my-GREENstyle.com: When was the last time you bought a non-sustainable piece of clothing and what?
Maria Seifert: This is indeed quite a long time ago.
my-GREENstyle.com: Vegan fashion – is this a topic for you?
Maria Seifert: Most of the collection is actually vegan. At least 70 percent.
Over 70 percent of my collection is vegan
my-GREENstyle.com: What is fashion for you?
Maria Seifert: Wearability, style, combination diversity, freedom. The possibility to underline your personality. That you can freak out.
my-GREENstyle.com: The topic that is going on at the Greenshowroom has many names – sustainable, green, slow … Which term describes this form of fashion best?
Maria Seifert: I find sustainable and conscious very good. This is very international. However, I do not rate it.
In fashion you have to feel at home.
my-GREENstyle.com: And what is the topic of sustainability in your private life?
Maria Seifert: Consistence. I have been very sustainably educated. I do not know when the last time I bought bread with my mother. Friends of us have a mill. Then we buy the flour. Our whole infrastructure is very self-made. And to think about the next steps. I look at electricity costs, heating costs, etc. Not to save money, but energy. I buy very deliberately. Finished goods have no place for me. Locally is a big theme – we have a lot of farms. Conventional milk does not come to my table.
Thank you, Maria, for the inspiring and entertaining conversation!