PARIS — For Savoar Fer founder Eliane Heutschi, even the most underrated techniques should be considered craftsmanship.
“I’m interested in all the techniques that are now looked down upon, like darning and mending,” said the Swiss designer, who founded her brand in 2017 after working two years alongside Lutz Huelle. “They are not seen as luxurious because at some point in history everyone used them and they weren’t considered a talent.”
But Heutschi, who has been part of Designer’s Apartment, an incubator supported by the Fédération de la Mode et de la Couture, since her second collection, is fascinated by these outdated techniques. “How does a technique fall out of fashion? For example, a lot of people think they don’t like cross-stitching, but that’s just because they are used to seeing it on cushions and dishcloths. We can change their perception by applying these techniques to fashion garments.”
Heutschi’s label seeks to celebrate all things craft — the name riffs on the French term “savoir faire,” or “know-how” — with each collection focusing on a textile technique. After bobbin lace, cross-stitch, box pleats and buttons, the Basel-trained designer, whose collections are sold via Seoul-based retailer Rare Market as well as on the brand’s web site, decided to put the spotlight on mending techniques for her first collection on the Paris Fashion Week calendar.
“Fashion is so fast, there is so much overproduction. Why do we throw so much away?” asked the 32-year-old Heutschi, who chose to only use deadstock fabrics to create the 14 silhouettes of her fall collection. Mending becomes ornamental: tulle pieces are used to highlight holes and patches, while darning is transformed into embroidery.
Savoar Fer’s small team, based in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, is working toward being more sustainable. “Usually three or four toiles are made to create a garment and then discarded,” explained Heutschi. “As this is our fifth collection, we already have a lot of patterns. We decided to reuse them: for this collection, half of the garments are made of former patterns. This is one of the steps fashion brands can take to limit waste.”
The label will hold its first on-schedule presentation on Feb. 28.