sia arnika berlin fashion week

Sia Arnika: “As I get older, I feel more centered – and it shows in my designs”

One of the best shows of Berlin Fashion Week? Sia Arnika must be in the top 3 of many, if not solely at the top. The show, staged at former club B7 in the heart of Berlin, was dark, grown-up, and comparable to ones in reclaimed fashion capitals. “I’m 35 now, and I feel centered. I know my self-worth, and I feel great. I’m convinced it shows in my designs.” Cover image: Boris Marberg

SIA ARNIKA CONQUERS BERLIN FASHION WEEK

Creating an alternative reality that’s what Sia Arnika is mainly about. A brand that blends minimalism and maximalism, modern techniques, and traditional craftsmanship, Sia Arnika is rising to become the next generation of reclaimed fashion designers.

Showing at Berlin Fashion Week was a bold choice, moving away from Copenhagen Fashion Week, which’s been at the forefront of sustainable fashion pioneers. “Copenhagen is great, but it’s a bit too toned down for me. Coming from the countryside was a great first step, although it soon felt too polished. I applied for fashion college in Berlin and soon fell in love with the city and a man – twelve years later, I’m still here,” she explains, laughing. “It’s the perfect city to live and work. The fashion crowd is open to new ideas and people. I still travel to Paris for sales appointments, though. But I don’t mind: it’s healthy to not be in the same place for too long.” Berlin Fashion Week enabled her to set up a high-end show that stands out from the other fashion houses’ originality and setting.

“COPENHAGEN IS GREAT, BUT IT’S A BIT TOO TONED DOWN FOR ME. COMING FROM THE COUNTRYSIDE, IT WAS A GREAT FIRST STEP.”

Sia Arnika

ASTA NIELSEN

Inspired by Asta Nielsen, a Danish silent film actress from the 1910s and 1920s, the collection taps into the heritage of her home country. The actress’ story is similar to the designer’s. Both were born and raised in Denmark and moved to Berlin in early adulthood to pursue their creative endeavors. “She was a sensual, mysterious woman, playing different characters. Impersonating Hamlett showed she was ahead of time – gender jumping didn’t exist back then. She once said she would have been burnt for being a witch if she had been born in Medieval times.” Powerful and one-of-a-kind, Nielsen taught Marlene Dietrich how to act. “She was the first major international star no one knew much about. She fascinates me endlessly.”

FINDING BEAUTY IN JUXTAPOSITION

Naughty, mundane, soft, powerful, robust, and structural: Arnika prefers to work with juxtaposed materials and concepts reflected by her idol’s life. “The opposites form a reflection of my identity. My work becomes more personal every season.” The laser-cut patterns are inspired by a Danish embroidery technique from the 1700s. “I like to combine traditional craftsmanship with contemporary techniques. It creates a cool vibe, I think. It merges my upbringing in the countryside of Denmark with today’s city life.”

“MY PARENTS TAUGHT ME WE’RE NOT ON THIS PLANET TO DESTROY IT BUT TO WORK WITH IT.”

Sia Arnika

Her hippie parents gave her a sense of freedom, reflected in Arnika’s designs. “It’s a way of approaching life. I have an endless curiosity and live mindfully. My parents taught me we’re not on this planet to destroy it but to work with it. Therefore, I solely work with sustainable and upcycled fabrics. Mother Nature is the only thing we have.”

STATE OF BEING

“I reached the point in life where I feel in tune with who I am,” Sia Arnika continues. “I’m centered, and my collection reflects this state of being. It’s an extension of who I am.” Manipulating materials is central to her work. “I love to laser cut materials, for example. It gives a certain edge, a sense of undoneness. Combining different textiles appeals to me. Take the red dress, for example. It reminds me of feathers, but the material is close to neoprene. Creating certain illusions with materials is what I love doing most.” Arnika collaborated with Untitlab, based in London and Shanghai, for the double-heeled boots. “We added the laser cut and exaggerated the shape. They remind me of pirate boots. Combining them with the sheer pink dress could make you look like a shipwreck bride!” The shoes are the bow, tying everything together. “The development of the collection and the brand go step by step. I feel this collection marks the start of a new era.”