Richert Beil was founded in 2014 by fashion designers Jale Richert and Michele Beil who met whilst studying at Esmod Berlin. The emerging designer duo who interned at Peter Pilotto, James Long and Iris von Arnim stands for timeless creations with subtly quirky and conceptual details. The pieces come together in a collection for both men and women and function as mirror images of each other, specifically adapted for the male and the female body.
In their current A/W '2016/17 collection the symbiosis of male and female garments are beautifully portrayed by Lou Schoof and her siblings.
The collection consists of 15 easy-to-wear looks that are complemented by playful accessories such as teddy bear appliqués and pleated collars.
Dörte: You chose the themes of love, friendship and family as inspiration for your A/W collection 2016. Could you tell me about the story behind the clothing and how these themes inspired you?
Michele: To us love, friendship and family are the most important themes in life. These aspects are more like a feeling we have in mind during the process of creating the collection. We would like to pass that on to our customers. They should feel warm, cozy and protected while wearing our clothes. We also like to work with friends and people that are special to us.
Jale: We also like to include our family in our work. Last year we interviewed our grandparents and other elderly couples from our hometowns about their love stories. We took themes from these stories and put them in form of embroidery on our knitted sweaters.
You worked with three siblings for your campaign imagery, the model Lou Schoof and her brother and sister. What was the dynamics between the three and what made it special for you to work with siblings?
Jale: It was lovely to work with the three. You could tell immediately, that they have some kind of spiritual kinship. They were just so intelligent and supported each other in a beautiful way.
Michele: They moved in an incredible symbiosis and no poses were set. It is always great to work with people in front of the camera that have a special bond. That’s more pleasant for the atmosphere on set and great for the outcome of our campaign photos. We still like to remember that day.
Your collection consists of items for both women and men. What is your take on unisex clothing and do you have a particular woman and man in mind who you are designing for?
Jale: As we are both designers, we have different interests. That’s why Michele is responsible for the men's clothing and I take care of the womenswear. In the end, it comes together as one collection, but we never do styles which are meant to be unisex.
To us, a perfect fit is very important as we have a great interest in tailoring. There are huge differences and needs between a man’s and a woman’s body that we think should be taken care of differently. Our collections are a dialogue betweens women’s and men’s clothing. They are a little bit alike and a little different. Just like us.
Michele: We do not have a particular woman and man in mind who we design for. We just never create something we don’t want to wear for ourselves. Our clothes should work on a lot of people, especially on those who are not so confident to follow every trend but still want to be dressed well and have a flawless appearance.
Your accessories are equally playful and conceptual. What or who are your artistic influences?
Jale: Our looks are very dressed. The blouses are quite high-necked, the coats are long and heavy and the dresses and the skirts are never too short. This creates a very strict and sophisticated appearance that we love to break up with playful accessories and embroidery. It always comes with a good portion of humour.
Michele: We collect a lot of curiosities from the flea market and small stores. Old suits and tailoring books, teddybears and decorative pieces like a small house made of wood that we transform into bespoke embroideries and accessories.
You included a secret zipper inside the lining of the coat, the collection’s centerpiece. What is the meaning of bespoke, unique and customizable design for your brand?
Jale: Young labels like ours often have difficulties to fulfill minimum order amounts asked by production sites. All the jackets and coats have this zipper now. So it allows us to produce a little more than we might sell, without having to waste spare pieces. We transform these into limited editions by adding embroidery or little details.
Michele: It is a great way of reacting faster to trends without depending on trends or losing our high-quality requirements. For our customers, it is especially interesting because it makes alterations and repairs very easy. So our pieces are very long lasting and hopefully they become favorites in the closets of their owners that can be passed on over generations.
What kind of materials do you use and what are your criteria for choosing them?
Michele: Founding our label, we thought about what our home country Germany has to offer us. What is popular in Germany and what are germans known for.
We found out that there are still some long-established manufacturers that provide for the „Trachten“ (traditional costume) market with traditional fabrics and supplies. They offer the highest quality fabrics and flexible delivery conditions. „Trachten“ look back on a long tradition. They are exclusive, unique and persuade through the material, quality and workmanship. They merge the aspects of a spiritual home, tradition, but also timeless elegance.
Jale: We wanted to use this potential for us and interpret these a little bit outmoded garments in a new, intricate and timeless way. We offer knitted and then felted sweaters and coats made of the traditional loden fabric and classic blouses. It all comes in a modern, clean and heavy look which makes it special and elegant.
Where do you produce your clothing and what is the relationship with your producers like?
Jale: We try to keep our whole production process in Europe, focussing on Germany and its neighboring countries. It doesn’t appear wise to us to travel long distances for materials and production. We feel like we would lose too much control and time, and especially money that we would rather spend on quality and sustainability. German production is by experience very reliable and that is essential for a young label like ours.
Michele: We always visit the production sites before we actually produce something with them. It’s important to us that the chemistry and terms are right.
Thank you so much for the interview! <3