NEW TYPE #17: NAMILA - NAN LI AND EMILIA PFOHL INTERVIEW

November 29, 2016 2:00 PM

NAMILIA was founded in 2015 by Berlin based designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl. The duo met while attending University of the Arts Berlin. Li went on to earn a Masters degree from the prestigious Royal College of Art London and quickly returned toBerlin to launch NAMILIA with Pfohl. The duo’s first collection, “My Pussy, My Choice” was selected for VFiles Runway October 2015. New York and the fashion world responded with aresoundingYES!and they soon graced the pages of celebrated fashion magazines and blogs including: VFiles, Vogue Italy, LOVE Magazine, Dazed & Confused, i­D and many more. The collection has been shot by David LaChapelle, StevenKleinandWillyVanderperreand more.  

 

-----NAN LI AND EMILIA PFOHL INTERVIEW----

 

1.How would you describe your personal style?

I think as designers we express ourselves so much through our collections that we like to keep it simple and comfortable when it comes to our own appearance;) Also since we are based in Berlin, the general fashion scene is not as expressive as in NYC or Asia.

 

2.Where have you lived and how has it influenced your understanding of fashion?

We have lived mainly in Berlin and London for our studies and traveled a lot to New York and Los Angeles for work. It is always exciting to be in the US as we’re really inspired by pop and celebrity culture and there is always lots of fun and over the top things to explore in America. In Europe, fashion is really conceptualized especially in University so its a nice contrast between those to quite opposite approaches and fashion which is also reflected in our designs.

 

3.Do you share a similar taste in terms of fashion?

Yes, Emilia and I are very synched up on our aethetics and brand message we want to send out. We have been working for a very long time together and we pretty much think like one person. Its great to be two people though. You can always bounce off ideas and the design process gets easier through open discussions.

 

4.What designers do you most admire?

There are lots and lots of designers that we admire. Everyone has his own voice and entitlement on the fashion scene. Some that we personally admire I would say John Galliano and Donatella Versace but we are also a big fans of sportswear brands like Stone Island, Helly Hansen or North Face.

 

5.Do you have any specific icons or characters for your collection?

Since we are really inspired by pop culture and what it means to be feminist in 2016/17 we look at characters and icons that embody girlspower to us. Women that have power and truly changed something but are maybe perceived in a different way by the media like Kim Kardashian, Lil Kim, Paris Hilton are main sources of inspiration for the coming AW17 collection. 

 

6.As a fashion designer, which moment is happiest time for you?

I would say its definitely the show time when every single aspect of the world you have been working on for so long is finally materializing and coming to life. Its only 15 minutes but then even more concentrated and exciting. On the other hand, I think that the communication without customers is also something very rewarding. We quit the showroom/retail system this season to really focus on direct consumer business and it is really great to be able to get direct feedback and comments from our customers across the globe.

 

7.What you challenged for latest collection?

The last collection was a question of female objectification and sexualization in Western society. For the show we produced a Runway Manifesto with our biggest points of concerns which is below.

 

NAMILIA SS17 RUNWAY MANIFESTO

- YOU’RE JUST A TOY -

1. Visualization of the extreme power and madness of teenage fandom and turning boys into sexual playthings.

2. Reversing patriarchal society’s concept of female sexualisation and objectification.

3. A mash up of hardcore fetishwear, provocative slogans and nsfw visuals to create the true fashion activist

4. A Celebration of the deviant and the freakish; reinterpreting the rebellious and sexual codes of punks and goths

5. Freeing yourself from the common rules of decency and letting your most inner fantasies run free.

6. Take down Trump.

 

This Manifesto is brought to you by the invincible all-girl Namilia cult

 

8.What are some of your interests outside of work?

I think outside of work we really like to use our downtime to relax and reflect. Berlin is an amazing city to live. Great people, great parties and there is definitely lots and lots to do in your free time. 

 

9.What get you most excited about your work?

The possibility to have a platform to express what we believe in. All of our questions, concerns and fantasies.

 

10.Namila is a young brand, what do you see your brand in five years?

We hope to grow bigger and bigger every season and to establish ourselves on the international fashion scene. As you said we are very young and it will take some time to figure out where we want to go but even just in the last years so many amazing things have happened and we can’t wait to see what the future will hold for us.

 

11.Do you have new projects are you working on?

Right now we are fully focused on our AW17 collection which will be showcased in New York in Februrary and at the same time I’m also working with Kanye West on his Yeezy fashion lines.

 

12.Do you have any life-essential tips for our readers?

I would say always believe in what you want and there is nothing impossible.

 

13.What are your lifelong dreams?

To make a small impact on the world we live in and to be able to shape the future.

 

 

INTERVIEWED BY YU WATANABE

 

PHOTO CREDIT: NAMILA

 

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