Designer Jackson Wiederhoeft (@wiederhoeft_) views “fashion through a theatrical lens,” where the collaborative effort to build a fantasy world is at the heart of their namesake brand, Wiederhoeft. On this episode of In The Know: Style Changemakers, Wiederhoeft gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how they and their team pluck inspiration from various sources, from fine art to Facebook Marketplace, to create a fantastical universe of storybook-inspired garments.
“Even though so much of what I’m influenced by is costume design, I wouldn’t say that I’m trying to transform people into characters,” Wiederhoeft tells In The Know. “I really want people to feel like the best version of themself and imagine their own story.”
Storytelling’s impact on Wiederhoeft is evident not only in the garments they create but also in the narratives of the brand’s runway shows, promotional videos, and studio space. “There’s a consistent world that we’re building,” informs Wiederhoeft, which becomes an extension of the individual wearing the clothing.
Regarding Wiederhoeft’s design process, their studio space is a cornucopia of ideas and influences. Whether it’s fine art, King Arthur, or books about exorcisms, a big part of creating for Wiederhoeft is combining spooky and macabre elements with ethereal and beautiful details. “There’s a lot of absurdity happening in the thought process,” Wiederhoeft explains. “Every collection is an amalgamation of so many different inspirations.”
Now that the brand is in the process of developing its first runway show, Wiederhoeft is looking forward to combining “the forces of theater and fashion into one experience.” For Wiederhoeft, transporting viewers to a new reality at a fashion show is as crucial as elevating an individual’s world through wearing their garments. “Production value, theatricality, and really fleshing out the vision is very important to me,” shares Wiederhoeft. “You want to feel something at a fashion show. You want to be transported.”
For Wiederhoeft, building their brand and its narrative doesn’t happen in a vacuum. “My best friends are my best collaborators,” the designer says, explaining that community is vital to the success of their brand. “Without community, what are you? It’s kind of [just] a rack of clothes,” Wiederhoeft says.
Ultimately, collaboration and community are where Wiederhoeft derives the most joy and satisfaction as a designer. “It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to build this vision with people who have been here since day one,” Wiederhoeft recognizes. “Without my collaborators, we never would have gotten here.”
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