Interview with Gabriel Cetrez

Winner of Fashion Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Gabriel Cetrez shares insights


Interview with Gabriel Cetrez at Friday 28th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
GC : The background started when I was a child , between two and six years old, growing up in Sweden. I was always interested to sketch and paint, persons and things that I have seen, in order to stay creative. For me it was easy to enhance this progression and to stay creative, since I continued it. In the pre-school, I overdone it by drawing teachers I didn´t liked, in a facetious and sarkastic way, since I knew they could not take it badly. They even liked what they have seen. Later as adult, I moved to Germany and my interest changed mainly into fashion, by sketching clothes and garments, instead persons, since I looked forward to things that I could benefit with my talent, instead making a hobby out of it - which is a waste of time. It´s agreeing with the fact that what you experience or what you see as free and exciting is also connected to a creative process. Therefore I knew that I had to enhance this progression, in order to continue. But at the same time, I never look into my backgrounds or the past. I never analyse the past, because I only live in the present. The background is often connected to heritage. And heritage to me, is where I want to be and where I feel free - I´m not bounded to any specific place!

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
GC : Motivation comes only from satisfaction. If you are not satisfied with yourself or with the circumstances, nothing helps. In order to stay motivated, you have to have a solid basic to look forward. You also can´t force yourself to be motivated for something. So in fact, you have to prank yourself in order to imagine it as a habit.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
GC : Nobody can force someone to be something. I believe it comes by coincidence. And this industry is driven by many coincidences and most of them are even not equitable. I had a clear vision, to work only with what I can do best. In my case, it started when I began to draw as a child , later I knew that I need to continue in the creativity and art aspect, to benefit from my skills.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
GC : Mainly womens dresses. Menswear bores me to death since everything looks the same and there is not a big diversity as it is for womenswear. I think this is why the industry is driven more for womenswear.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
GC : I personally don´t like the word "young designer". Because the minute someone is called "young designer" it automatically meanes, that he has no experience. Today there are more newcomers and young designers that suffer to stay in the industry for long time. So the key is to stay in a working-relationship for a long time. I would recommend to "young designers", they should not start their own business, right after their graduation. They should start to work for established companies, to get secure experience without any risk. If you start your own business or brand, right at the beginning, you don´t have any time for designing. You will have to work more with the business procedures. And this kills creativity, which is important when being a " young designer".

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
GC : A good designer is someone who stays for a short term in the industry and than suffers. A great designer stays for long term successful.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
GC : Something that catches the attention of the consumer. It should be a realistic idea that matches the spirit of the time. But there is no principle and rule of " good design" since it is also a question of taste.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
GC : People should not invest in good design, they should invest into the designer as a human. This will last for longer and is more important. Many designers suffer lack of support.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
GC : I would like to design the womenswear collection for any french or italian fashion luxury house.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
GC : You know I´m not a daydreamer, this is something I don´t do, because it is very dangerous. If you dream during the day, you will be distracted from your work! But even nightmares are dreams. So I would most likely work for the biggest fashion luxury house of the world - for shure, even this question is against my expectations.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
GC : Theres no golden rule in fashion, otherwise everybody would be an projectionist and see the trends ahead. You have to stand out from the mass and do things different, by innovative ideas in order to be creative and unique. There is no secret recipe of success in design or anything else. You have to learn from yourself to find what is a secret in your behavior. The minute I tell you my secret of success in design, it is not a secret any more.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
GC : I´m not much inspired by other personalities, because I don´t like to get influenced by other people. But I like the work of the oldest master of fashion, which name I can´t tell, because I promised not to do name-dropping.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
GC : I liked few designers works because of their reinvention , which included for example: Alber Elbaz at his time for Lanvin, Raf Simons at his time for Dior, Roberto Cavalli at his time when he was still working for his namesake brand, but also the current designers at Fendi.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
GC : I have always many new ideas that come across when I start with one project, so I think that I should realize them, before I forgett them. Actually there´s no other way to improve yourself: Never be satisfied with what you did, always look forward to what you can do better.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
GC : Something else in art like cartoonist.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
GC : Design is creativity and expressed by an idea of fantasy devoted to a concept of reality. It´s accountable to illustrations.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
GC : At the beginning I did all of myself and I was not supported by anyone, which I think was also good, because I never wanted to be addicted by others the beginning. Later after I continued to work focused and disciplined, my work was recognized by the media and press. But the biggest supporter has still to come, which should be an investor to finance and grow my brand.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
GC : The financial support.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
GC : They should present their work where the buyers are attending. Mostly in showrooms.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
GC : Future is a strange word, since the minute you plan for the future, it happens the opposite, anyway. I only like the idea of the future in order to have a positive hope about it. But I dont force it as an expectation, since I´m more interested in what’s going on and what is happening right now, instead what has been or would be. And for the question on what is next for me: I look forward to collaborate with other designers and fashion brands as well, including to exhibit in trade shows among the fall/winter and spring/summer seasons.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
GC : To work for a luxury fashion house.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
GC : Theres nothing more worst than the stagnancy. The creative work is a never ending dialogue which makes it impossible to waste time. I think if I had more time, I would reject more things, and bring other ideas or concepts in. But that’s also not necessarily better. Sometimes you can work things to death when you take too much time.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
GC : I think its important to focus also more on sustainable fashion design, with minimal textile waste. About the fashion industry’s negative environmental impacts and the sustainable fashion design techniques, zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction that can combat this.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
GC : I am never satisfied with my current work. I alway look forward to do it better and better.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
GC : Im not a projectionist, but I think people consume much faster today, so the question is how do you enjoy something that’s constantly shifting from one point to another? And young designers are judged so quickly. They should be given time to grow, because they need people seriously support what we are doing.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
GC : It is done in three weeks, maximum five. Its very important, gathering research — mood boards, books etc. Later I choose things they feel are worth developing. The moment I think this is an interesting thing to try, things go very fast, since I want it to be made in the present instead for future. I dont like to skip projects, otherwise my interest changes to other ideas.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
GC : I start immediately. Because one should not be depending to different ambiences. You have no incubation time for daydreaming or ideas that came from nowhere. When you try an idea into a new project, you look at it and think, let's skip it away for a few days and think about it later, this is something I always avoid, since it kills the inspiration. So I capture it and directly implement it into my project.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
GC : Theres a quote which says "Only idiots do not change" So I have the right to change my mind everyday. Yesterday I even had another motto as today.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
GC : Interesting question. I think trends-set is brought by a current hype and time that is reflected by a certain lifestyle. So it can be both. But an inspiration comes at a random time, from nowhere, something that cant be captured by a purpose. It happens by coincidence. Also being updated by reading related books or magazines can observe a kind of seeing the trends. I am somebody who focuses on a dialogue between generations - that's the drive of my work. I believe the young generation take the power, they'll take over at one point but the older generation they'll push it away only because of the fear. I'm the opposite, I'm always curious.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
GC : That creative process is very technical, so you don’t have much dialogue with people, which is something I dont like at all. The people I work with on a exhibition or show are essential to me, since we are in a constant dialogue either its with my models I work with or, the client or the press. You work with the body and with your brain. I don’t want to control things totally. I like to control things only up to a point, which I see as my responsibility. I like being creative in collaboration with other people.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
GC : I have my moodboard and capture every idea that could be important for my collection by sketches and later illustrated by CAD software. I have my specification sheets including all details such as size measurments, fabric, trims, patterns etc. and I work with my self created tech pack that I send to my technical designers and tailors to produce the garment / dress finally.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
GC : I often get asked on when my next fashion show will be and which kind of models I will hire. These kind of questions I even dont response, since I´m not an gossip reporter who provides dangerous half-knowledge. I am flexible to decide where or with who. I like the results to speak for themself. And sometimes it´s better to answere questions that you have asked yourself.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
GC : One should not let feelings overcome to a design realization. Im not an antenna, who captures informations and sends uncontrolled signals to others. When my designs are realized, it shows off in my dresses and the entire collections. I see the results and the feedback from others. I like the level of concentration and minimalism. Design is an environment that always embraces individuality and newness, so in that sense one have to be disciplined, to shut up and let other show off emotions in their mind.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
GC : I´m easy to work with. But most of the other designers have an ego-problem. So I don´t believe in co-design. But there are of course some exceptions. I could imagine to have a design partner who is at a leading position of any big fashion house.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
GC : I don´t read from paper, because I feel sorry for the woods that have died for a book. I like to read from electronic devices. Furthermore I have read so many daily news and articles, that I even don´t remember from which author or publisher it was, because all write the same.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
GC : You should always focus on the work and not get distracted. Theres nothing more worst than the stagnancy. The creative work is a never ending dialogue which makes it impossible to waste time.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
GC : With the oldest master of fashion.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
GC : Sarcastically you can get famous by tomorrow, if you do any scandalous thing. But that is not hard, it´s more hard to stay famous for a long time. But I don´t ask myself for these questions, because to be famous for yourself, you don´t need fame.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
GC : I like to visit places where lot of people, culture and architecture are covered , but at the same time I need a reason to travel. I hate to be a tourist, that´s why I need a reason to visit a place.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
GC : If you are full of energy. But if you have empty energy, you can charge it, with new spirit and inspiration. Theres nothing more worst than the stagnancy, which is the most contra to creativity. So I´m pretty perfectionist in this case, since I focus on every single detail of my designs, otherwise I get unsatisfied - which is a good exercise in pursuance to push yourself through the day.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
GC : No, because I even didn´t knew about it. I wanted to continue to work with creativity.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
GC : I´m not a fortuneteller, this question is even against my physics. I never look into the past and also not into future. I only live at the present and the - Now-. Neither I will be involved in thousand of years, nor I will have to play any certain role. I only like the idea of a good hope for the future. I´m even not shure if this world still will exist in thousand of years, so thankfully me and you, won´t have to deal with this question.