1. Dear Alina, I am very pleased to be able to introduce you and the Alina Klemm label as part of our Female Founder Community. Please tell us a little about yourself and your company.

Dear Lisa, thank you very much for allowing me to be part of the Female Founder Community!

I would like to briefly introduce myself, I am Alina, a 27 year old from Hamburg and founder of the Alina Klemm label. What particularly fascinated me at a young age was the development of an idea into a finished product. There are no limits to you in fashion, you are absolutely free in your forms, you can express your feelings, make statements and shape the fashion world through your consciousness. So it was clear to me that after graduating from high school I wanted to make my dream come true and study fashion/textile design in Hamburg.

Through my studies I developed a new view of the fashion industry, appreciation of clothing, quality and sustainability came to the fore. Since the beginning of my studies, my collections have always been characterized by a connection to nature and I regularly incorporated my travel experiences, such as my trip through Namibia. In May 2020 the time had finally come when I decided to become self-employed and started my fashion label Alina Klemm in a small studio in Eppendorf.

What makes me and my label so unique?

I attach great importance to unique designs; high-quality and limited collections are presented twice a year after an intensive development phase. It is important to me that I can achieve sustainable awareness with this, which is why we produce on demand so that we can avoid unnecessary production surpluses. High-quality workmanship, fabrics and materials ensure a long-lasting product and of course I also want to be able to guarantee fair production, which is why all products are produced sustainably and under fair working conditions in my studio and another location in northern Germany.

2. It's definitely a long way until a finished piece of clothing hangs in your studio! What does a classic production process look like for you?

Oh yes, the path is really long and time-consuming! The Alina Klemm label presents two collections a year, spring/summer and autumn/winter. This means that there is approximately half a year per collection to transform an idea into a finished product. I'm not the type of person who sits down at a desk and then all the ideas come all at once. A collection idea usually comes spontaneously; I am completely inspired by my surroundings. Landscapes, feelings and small details in particular give me the necessary spirit. Once the foundation has been laid, I start with the design drawings; I like to be guided by current trends, moods and colors.

At the same time , I research suitable fabrics, as this is often one of the most time-consuming topics. The entire collection stands or falls with the fabrics. I attach great importance to the quality and fiber composition. After the final design sketches are in place, the cuts are made. I like to invest a lot of time in this because I attach great importance to perfectly fitting cuts.

Together with an editing director, the cuts are then completed and prepared for production. I then create a sample for each product, which will later be used for shoots or exhibitions. After the shoot we are almost at the collection release, little things like labels, packaging, lookbooks and of course the website are being adjusted and then nothing stands in the way of the limited on demand collection.

3. What does slow fashion mean to you?

Slow fashion is a very important topic for me and a guiding principle of my label. I have already designed my thesis on the topic of slow fashion. It is important to be aware of how much effort and time goes into a product. Slow fashion should not mean giving up fashion or the latest trends, but rather conscious shopping. We don't need 12 collections a year, of which so much is overproduced that a large proportion of the products are destroyed to make room for the next collection. Absolutely incomprehensible to me! Appreciation of clothing and quality are my focus. In contrast to fast fashion brands, my label focuses on high-quality and long-lasting collections.

All my collections are limited and produced to order to avoid unnecessary overproduction. If there are leftover fabric scraps, beautiful scrunchies are made from them. The substances and materials are purchased in the EU and then checked extensively again. All of the products from the Alina Klemm label have so far been made by me and I am pleased that I will receive support in Northern Germany starting with the winter collection in September.

4. Were there any hurdles or difficulties that you experienced in your first year as a founder and if so, how did you deal with them?

I think my biggest hurdle was starting the first Corona lockdown. I had to redevelop my concept because the focus was actually on small events and design markets. Of course, that was almost impossible, but it was primarily my customers that gave me the strength to carry on and rethink. Of course I had ups and downs, but I learned from them and grew. I have developed a new concept, which does not exclude the old from the future. It is important to remain mentally flexible and not get stuck on one idea.

5. Your job is characterized by creativity and new ideas (e.g. for new styles). What tips can you give other female founders to visualize and structure their creativity and ideas?

Good question! I'll show you my favorite tips on how I structure my chaos of thoughts.

Keep a cool head
I have phases when I'm just bubbling over with ideas, but it's important to keep a cool head. Don't let your own ideas confuse or even unsettle you!

Take notes
There are pieces of paper and pen everywhere in my home because I get my best ideas especially at night or in the shower. I then immediately write them down or record them. It also helps me a lot to let the notes rest for a few days and then look at them again. Is the idea still as good? Or maybe it can be expanded? I can then evaluate the ideas more objectively and assign them better.

Kill your darling!
In my first fashion design semester, my lecturer said to me “Kill your darling” during a collection blockade. Don't put too much emphasis on an idea just because you personally like it best. Consider whether it fits into your concept and whether your customers would understand the ideas

Make a priority list
You can't implement all ideas at the same time. Make a list of your ideas and start organizing and prioritizing them. Perhaps one idea even excludes the other. This way you can create a perfect overview, develop a schedule and don't feel overwhelmed by the flood of ideas.



If you would like to find out more about Alina and Atelier Alina Klemm, please take a look here:

To the website: www.alina Klemm.de

To Instagram: @atelier.alina Klemm