Ninna Berger has a Master of Fine Arts in Textiles from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm.
When working with her Master degree project in 2007, she coined the term Restruction.
ALL WORK IS EXCLUSIVELY MADE OUT OF 100% REUSED MATERIAL,
ALL FABRIC COMES FROM BLACK SECOND HAND GARMENTS AND
ALL GARMENTS ARE PRODUCED WITHIN AN ARTISANAL WORK PROCESS WHERE NO MATERIAL IS ALLOWED TO GO TO WASTE
My interest in clothing was awakened by the simple realization that I could make them myself. I was then about 11 years old and the supermodel era was on its height. It was with an urge of wanting to break rules and go against the stream that I found fashion as a powerful tool to use in order to be seen and to differentiate myself from a conformed group. Growing up in a very small community in rural Sweden in the 80-90’s, “being different” is something that you learn fast. This epiphany was many years later, in art school, turned into an investigation; How does our way of dress influence the way we perceive and are perceived by the world; How can fashion as tool be used as fuel in artistic research? The project grew from an art school project into a practice. Along the way there were some things that was important to me and ideas that were kept intact; In my work with Restructional Clothing I have never composed a press release; I have never had a commercial agenda and all approaches from pr-firms or other commercial interests has been declined. The project was simply never meant to be a commercial clothing-brand. These are conscious choices and in this I take pride. In my mind independence and to be anti-establishment are essential in order to stay free. It is easy to forget that we have options, that what we are told is one opinion; there are many others to explore and there are many ways to do things.
When I started my project the world of fashion was completely different from how it looks today. The conglomerates that now thrive on handbags and perfumes were in their cradle, Martin Margiela was still an obscure figure and sustainability as a word and concept was unheard of. Today it is an established fact that small designers struggle immensely to make a living and that most small brands qualify as a full time hobby financed by holding many jobs at the same time. At the same time the industry relies on small brands to distil new trends and keep them with goods to copy.
I never set out to be in the sustainable field as this is something that to me comes as a natural mind-set. My work was as an investigation on how to deconstruct and reconstruct: producing a concept where all material was forced to be re-used in an, to me, aesthetically appealing way. How do I make the old new again? How do I turn waste into a desired product using fashion as tool? When I presented my masters project in 2007 one comment was – Why make it so hard for yourself, why not just use meter by the yard? Sustainability has with time become somewhat of an industry in itself and for me another pair of chairs to fall in between. The concept of sustainability is a hypocritical green-washing idea that is yet to be proven. No large-scale profitable company in the world can claim that they are sustainable. It is a contradiction in terms and does not exist within fashion, the big companies still use child-, preferably young women- labour and the textile industry is still one of the most polluting industries that we have.
I have always been strong headed and unwilling to conform to what other people think is best. But a resistance needs energy to keep burning and I haven’t found this in the field of fashion. On this www-home of Restructional Clothing I have tried to collect all the material I’ve produced over the years, some has never been documented and some has been lost but most of it is here. The handcrafted and unique garments that I have produced are to be communicated as an idea and hopefully as an inspiration even if they were made to be seen in real life – worn, touched and sometimes even heard.
Q: Why don’t you sell the clothing?
A: It takes time, a lot of time to collect, think, and construct, every little piece of material has to be hand cut and assembled. The material composition in every garment is exclusive to that garment. This makes the pieces unique. I have never made two of anything. I will have another idea and move on.
Fashion has the advantage of being very fast and it travels on a predictable timetable. The fashion system is always wanting something new and it is always hungry. This can be taken advantage of and can also become self-indulgent. These properties are also what make it into the terrible and sometimes beautiful problem that it is. Last summer I spoke at a textile biennale in Los Angeles. After my speech I got curious questions and I had to further explain my artistic methods and poetic values, but in a way that to me felt all together wrong. A few years ago I would have been triggered to argue my opinions further and try to communicate even harder. Contemplating this event I decided to listen to what the questions really said. In this now I realized I wanted to move on. My creative mind wants other type of food. It was a difficult decision but it is with a feeling of freedom that I leave this platform.
And therefor I say goodbye to Restructional Clothing for now.
Thank You for all the love and support.
You find the continuation of my journey here
Portrait By Sanna Helena Berger.