Alternative Realities - Johann Ehrhardt
TITLE: Can you give us a brief introduction to yourself and tell us about your brand KUNO?
Johann: My name is Johann Ehrhardt, I am in my last semester of my fashion designer studies at the “Lette Verein” Berlin. I got into sewing and designing by chance and am very happy that I was able to turn my hobby into a career. In mid-2020, I started my own business with my very good friend Julius Weißenborn and we founded KUNO, which focuses on sustainability. Fashion, like many industries, has a very bad reputation and I would like to be part of a change so that fashion gets a value again. KUNO works exclusively with recycled materials and has its fabrics woven in Germany. The production of our clothes takes place in Berlin. In addition, we plant a tree for each product, in cooperation with the “Bergwaldprojekt”. The coordinates of the planted tree are then applied to the product.
TITLE: At TITLE, we emphasize the importance of staying true to yourself, your art, and your identity. What would you say is your True Identity?
Johann: 80% of our behaviour we copy from fellow human beings and it influences our taste, what we see and what we listen to. I believe that we are all on an eternal search for our true identity. We are constantly changing and learning new things every day and receiving lots of new information. So it is almost impossible to find your true identity. But as long as I can enjoy life along the way and not harm anyone or, best of all, do something good for others, I'm a lot closer to that.
TITLE: Your collection is called phobia. Do you have a phobia?
Johann: I don't really have a phobia myself. Of course, there are things I don't like very much, but I don't have a real phobia. Nevertheless, I found the topic of phobias exciting because I like to put myself in other people's shoes and understand why they act and think differently.
TITLE: Which is your favorite piece of the collection and why?
Johann: The black dress is, I think, my favourite garment; it was the first finished garment and the other two build on that.
TITLE: What inspired you to design/ create fashion in the first place?
Johann: In fashion, I've always found the craftsmanship of making clothes very inspiring. Watching others work always makes me want to get started myself and is still a great source of inspiration and motivation for me today.
TITLE: How do you stay creative during the pandemic? Do you have any advice for fellow creatives?
Johann: The year 2020 was ironically one of the best years of my life so far. I got a job as a studio tailor at Paula Kunkel, I started my own business and my friends and family have been doing very well too, despite the pandemic. I feel like the world is on pause at the moment, and I've just been given time that I've been able to use very well so far. As soon as we’re back to normal, things can really get going. Last year I was very lucky, and I am very grateful for that.
TITLE: Alternative Reality is a name we use when describing realities we allow ourselves to enter when creating, something very separate from reality itself. What is the difference between alternatives and realities for you?
Johann: I often drift off into daydreams, especially when I want to go to sleep at night and I still have a thousand ideas running through my head. In such moments I feel like an excited child who can’t wait for the next day. In these moments, I scribble or note down my ideas. Most people know this feeling or have experienced it once. You build your own little world and the best thing about the whole situation is to turn it into reality.
TITLE: Which moment in your career are you most proud of so far? And which goal would you like to achieve in the next ten years?
Johann: There have been many moments where I was very "proud" or happy, so I can't name a specific highlight. I love to give joy to others and the people who wear my clothes always appreciate it very much. I usually experience great happiness when they tell me that they were asked about it. That is one of the best feelings in my career/profession.
I would like to open my first own shop in Berlin by the end of 2021. And together with my business partner and Johannes Stoehr (a member of the design team), I would like to organise a fashion show with at least 20 outfits at Fashion Week. I don't really have any long-term goals, but I would like to still be able to work in this profession in 10 years' time and remain healthy.
TITLE: Who do you look up to?
Johann: I don't really have a role model, I like art and artists a lot because they are connected to what I do, but there are so many people doing beautiful things, it's hard to focus on a few specific people.