Founded by Swiss designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, Berlin-based fashion label OTTOLINGER garnered a real cult-following in just under five short years. "Fashion was for both of us a mystery - more like a dream and something unreachable in Switzerland. There was no social media – and fashion magazines were only available in selected stores - not in the mountain newspaper store. But we both loved clothes - to build things with our hands, paint, sew and cutting shoes apart," tell us the designers.
Both Bösch and Gadient couldn't see a future in fashion at first and decided to study something else but, their love for clothes and the unfulfilling prospect of careers in graphic design and law led them to take a leap of faith and apply to study at the Fashion Design School in Basel, Switzerland. "We studied together," they explain, "and always liked each other's work. Talking a lot about fashion, the system and what we are missing led us to start working together."
In time, they managed to create a brand that aims at making us feel more energetic and look better. "We think to love yourself is very important for our daily life, and we would love to spread self-confidence, make people feel strong, feel protected and beautiful – that is what Ottolinger's aim is."
Throughout the years, the brand evolved, and the designers became more 'realistic.' Starting from figuring out which products are missing in their collection and wardrobes, both Bösch and Gadient are often challenging proportions and add details to make their clothes unique. Their creative process always starts with deconstruction and textile experimentation like burning, lacerating, ripping, waxing and dying – where each of their pieces bears the mark of their handcraft.
The last few months enabled them to figure things out and stick to the essentials but also made their progress as an independent brand slightly more complicated with slower payments and cash flow challenges. "However, we are super grateful to be safe and healthy and to have been shown so much support that makes us very hopeful for the future," they add.
Luckily, their outlook is positive. "We feel that thanks to social media, there is an even stronger dialogue between the consumer and the brands - what is amazing and can lead to direct actions and inputs. We have some very exciting things in the making and will announce soon," they conclude.