Meet Sintija Avotniece, the 27 year old designer who is passionate about exploring the different aspects of sustainability within fashion. Inspired by timelessness, minimalism, and recently the Fargo series and musician Nils Frahm, Sintija is creating a reputation for pure collections that respect both the wearer and the environment. In 2008, Sintija spread her wings and left hometown Riga, Latvia to pursue a Bachelors degree in design and business from the Copenhagen School of Design and Technology. Discovering her interest in sustainable design, as well as a burning to desire to live in Berlin, Sintija went on to pursue the MA Sustainability in Fashion at ESMOD Berlin, where she graduated last year. Currently based in Copenhagen once more, ‘at least for the time being’, we catch up with Sintija to talk about her ‘Gravity is Volatile’ collection, inspirations and plans for the future.
The Fashion Conversation: You grew up in Riga, Latvia and went abroad to study, first in Copenhagen and then Berlin. What were your motivations for studying in Copenhagen? And what inspired your pursuit of the MA Sustainability in Fashion at ESMOD? Were you always planning on studying fashion?
Sintija Avotniece: I guess a part of me always wanted to study something fashion or design related. I didn’t go down this path straightaway, but everything I have done so far has somehow led me to it. I went to Copenhagen to study because I had Danish language as a subject in high school. A random reason for going to Denmark, but it turned out to be the starting point of me ending up in Copenhagen. Continuing my education at ESMOD in Berlin was a logical continuation of the path I’d started to walk. I simply saw (and I still don’t see) any other way fashion should develop than towards sustainability. I am fascinated by the the many different aspects of sustainability within fashion. Also I was really attracted by the idea of living in Berlin for some time, so getting into ESMOD there was great in so many ways. Berlin is a very special place for me.
TFC: You’ve experimented a lot with the development of creative clusters, how did you branch into this field? What have you discovered?
SA: The first real introduction to the creative clusters concept I got was when I worked for Latvian fashion label QooQoo, which at the time, had an office space at a creative business incubator in Riga. Working together, sharing ideas, spreading inspiration – I think that one can get so much further by sharing and helping each other. There are is also a lot of practical benefits behind clusters, hubs and similar concepts, where rent and maintenance costs might be cheaper, tools and machinery more accessible, contacts and networks broader etc. I really believe in this philosophy of sharing, togetherness and inspiring each other. Especially sharing ideas within not just one specific field, but many different fields and crafts.
TFC: What inspires you to create?
SA: Two things that have inspired me lately in terms of my work is the Fargo series and musician Nils Frahm. Aesthetically I was really fascinated, when I watched the season two of Fargo series. The outfits, set design, everything was just so beautiful and even thinking of the series just makes me want to create and create. And musician Nils Frahm inspires me so much, even though he represents a completely different field. His dedication, continuous exploring, experimenting, inventing, developing, creating. And above everything the outcomes of his work and the exquisite quality of his music, is something that inspires me greatly to keep growing, to never stop learning, to never stop exploring, to never stop creating no matter what it is.
TFC: What were your inspirations behind your ‘Gravity is Volatile’ collection?
SA: First of all I am truly fascinated by the idea of timeless design – even though it is a concept that is really hard to achieve and there is no guarantee whatsoever that the designs that anyone creates today will actually become timeless. Bauhaus, Danish design, designs and philosophy of Dieter Rams, as well as iconic fashion pieces, have been able to remain fashionable through decades. The core aim of ‘Gravity is Volatile’ was to create garments that are made with respect to people and the environment, are of high quality, functional, comfortable and aesthetically appealing. Aesthetic appeal is of great significance of value when it comes to garments ability to stand the test of time and go against the hectic stream of fast fashion. My goal is to create timeless designs, and even though this goal may turn out to be just a dream, it is something that motivates me to keep designing.
TFC: You’ve mentioned your design objective revolves around timelessness, what other notions are captured in your design aesthetic?
SA: I am really fascinated by minimalism and pure shapes combined with details in construction. But then there is this other side of me, who is crazy about more unique handicraft pieces, colors and prints. In my next collection I plan on finding a way to combine these two rather opposite elements. Generally, I aim to create designs that would be able to become vintage one day. Again this may be something that might just be a dream, but the idea of it being a possibility is something that drives me. Most of the clothing that is made today doesn’t stand a chance to become anything near vintage, and I want to go against that stream.
TFC: What are your future plans? And goals for the future?
SA: Working on my own designs and always becoming better and better. I always want to be learning and developing. I never wish to create anything bad, but in the same time I wish that, say in ten or twenty years’ time, when I look back at the work I am doing today, I hope to be able to think that what I do at that point in the future is much more elevated than what I am doing today. I am also planning on getting more involved in zero wastes design method, something I have wanted to pursue more closely for a long time. I’m also looking forward to experimenting more with natural dyes and printing techniques as it is an area which really excites me.