KALTBLUT Magazine Fashion Award Winner 2017: Ebby Port
May I introduce you to a very special young designer and KALTBLUT Magazine Fashion Award winner 2017: Ebby Port! A small independent brand which was founded and created in 2014. To be free in creating collections, prints and idea’s that reflect on time, music, art, and all other thing influencing people’s life and behaviour. We follow her work since a few years and we love her fashion vision for a modern woman. Her designs are for girls and women with a strong personality. Read our interview below with Ebby. Special thx to Fashionclash Festival 2017 for hosting our award .
The Dutch designer’s sensibility is an intriguing mix of Couture elements, exclusive prints and female-friendly shapes, underlining natural curves while allowing room for comfort. The intimate feel of the venue suited Port’s message, who knows about her clients’ needs and busy lifestyles. Using women of different shapes and origins, she underlined the inclusive appeal of her garments, which are elegant and slightly eccentric. Her tailoring felt fresh and playful, such as a sequin-covered jacket fitted at the waist. Her dresses were flattering, sometimes draped at the front or featuring graphic prints. During a post-show talk, the Maastricht-based designer explained how much she enjoys the physicality of printing her pieces in the atelier, evidencing that craft is still relevant for young designers. It’ll be exciting to see where she goes next and how her brand develops in the near future.
KALTBLUT: Hi Ebby! Congratulations – You’re the 3rd winner of KALTBLUT Fashion Award and the first womenswear designer ever winning our award Welcome to the KALTBLUT family. Can you remember what you thought when we called out your name?
EP: Hello KALTBLUT! I am so happy to be part of the family. Thank you for the award! When I heard my name I was really happy, but the moment was also very surreal. It was almost as if I thought ? Huh did I hear that right?
KALTBLUT: We met in Maastricht during Fashionclash Festival and got to know each other. And I had already fallen in love with your work as a designer in Poland a few years ago. How important is a fashion festival like Fashionclash for a young designer like you?
EP: It is really important. I think it is really important to show your work. This gives feedback and reflection. And contributes to your work growing. I always compare it to being a band and wanting to perform. A lot of my friends go to music festivals and see this as such a normal thing to do. But as a designer there are not so many (affordable) platforms to show your work. And to do it yourself is difficult. It is not easy to round up a bunch of models, press, hair &make-up people. Meanwhile working on your collection. So what Fashionclash is doing is really great. Plus the festival has a nice vibe.
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us something about the collection you presented at the FASHIONCLASH Festival 2017? What was your inspiration?
EP: For the prints I really wanted to go back to my first printed collection, where I drew all the prints by hand (instead of cutting out form which I have done recent years). I wanted to us these silkscreen printing frames to the maximum of their abilities. So using a print maybe 3 times but on different textures and with different colors.
With the shape I researched for a way to introduce a more fitted and ‘waste-focused’ silhouette to my work. But it had to remain comfortable. I still wanted it to be my own. Not become a poofie girly-girls hour-glass shape that you want to take off after wearing it for 5 min. I looked at the 40’s and 50’s at how women where dressing during and after the world war here in Europe. How there where restrictions in using a certain amount of meters of fabric during the war and how the clothes where more practical because woman had to work. And then after the war the big explosion of the Dior silhouette came. This illustrates for me how ater the war woman where “forced” to take a step back, away from the factories they had been working in and going back to this ‘object’-look. Where beauty is so important.
I looked at old American movies and actresses,hence the scarfs and collection styling. I wanted to create this woman who was overdone, with her jewelry ( a reason I asked Lies Walmbacq to make the jewelry), with her prints, like a very lush, lavish ecstatic but of course in a practical way. Because that always comes back to my day to day life and work. I wanted to make it work. So that you could wear this feeling every day. Instead of on a party and can’t wait to go home or stay away from the snacks because the dress is tight.
KALTBLUT: What kind of material did you used for the collection?
EP: I worked a lot with boiled wools and in contrast I used scuba for the uni colours. I think the comfort of this fabric needs no explanation and for more contrast I found a green polyester that is almost like a garbage bag plastic. But it’s a fabric and I printed on it. For the scarfes I used silk. So a mix of natural and synthetic fabrics.
KALTBLUT: What challenges did you face during the design process?
EP: Making it cohesive, with all the different moods, colors and prints. And not repeating myself but still bringing some elements along that I still like from previous collections. Making the image (of this woman) interesting but also thinking of the question: would I / someone wear this now. Is this something I see my customer in.
I am working with production for the 4th time and this time I really wanted to push the prints more in the production.
If there a 3 items made s/m/l I made sure that all sizes have the same lay out and placing of the print.
Because all prints are made by hand and then after I do the placing of the print in the garment it was a new challenge to communicate this. This is such a intuitive way of working so that was challenging getting that across to the production team. But they did a great job.
KALTBLUT: How would you describe your self and your work?
EP: Hm, difficult question. I always want to strive for freedom and authenticity in my work. I think without this it would become a gimmick and I wouldn’t be able to do it. I am really sensitive for this in my personal life as well. I don’t like it when people are bullshiting. I like it when people are honest and sincere. Also I like to work a lot because this makes me happy.
KALTBLUT: What would you say that is the biggest influence to your design process?
EP: Something I learned in designing during my internship with Annemie Verbeke,but also something I learned in life: if something doesn’t work, no matter how much time you put in it, you let it go. For example. If I work on a pattern for days or weeks but in the end it still doesn’t quite work, I won’t put it in the show just because I worked on it so long.
KALTBLUT: What is your favorite piece of the collection? And why?
EP: I think the sleeveless printed vest. Because I think it has such a funny departure. I wanted to make a body warmer that wasn’t like all the terrible ones you see in the street. It is a strange piece to begin with, why would you want something to keep just you body warm? But then again it is super practical. You can wear it inside the house, or over a thin coat. I am really small so when I wear it I think it give me something I don’t know, funny. But it’s a tough question because I also like the black boiled wool sweater with the fitted waste and many more….
KALTBLUT: You design for women. Can you explain who the ebby port costumer is? And what she is doing in her life?
EP: I like to think the ebby port costumer is a no nonsense kind of woman. Who is not afraid to wear that she is wearing. Someone who accepts herself or tries to. And not tries to force herself to be someone she isn’t. That just makes you so ugly, and why change something that is just the way it is ? Why not take it as a starting point and go from there. It sound so super cliché but from working in the shop I learned and have seen that when someone is happy or content or accepting of themselves you can look so beautiful. Then you can work with your body and make it look nice. If you are honest and say ok this is my cup size I need a dress that can take it all in. Instead of trying a dress that just doesn’t fit. Also the garments always have a comfort and practical side to it. For instance all prints can be washed in the machine. So the ebby port woman is a woman who does her own laundry.
KALTBLUT: I think it’s really cool that your collection is ready to go directly to stores. And I see it in Berlin, London and New York. Where do you sell your fashion?
EP: Thank you, this would be the greatest! For now it is sold at Kiki Niesten Maastricht and on my webshop www.ebbyport.com
KALTBLUT: Could you tell us a little about your background ?!. How did Debby port grow up?
EP: I grew up not really knowing who I was and where I belonged. I wanted to do the right thing and fit in. I loved dancing and singing (who am I kidding I still do) and visiting my grandparents. I have loving parents and a really bad ass sister but I have to say that growing up is not something I would like to do over.
KALTBLUT: Have you always wanted to do fashion? And can you still remember your first self-designed piece? What was it, and for whom?
EP: I was always very interested in the way people behaved and dressed. It wasn’t until later that I realized this was a fashion direction. I wanted to do journalism for some time, I was always afraid of doing an art education. Afraid of failing I think. But then after a long talk with my uncle I jumped in, applied for art school and started taking sewing lessons.
My first self designed dress was for a friend, it was suppose to be simple. There was too much fabric in the front so I pinned it up to make it look shorter. After texting someone a picture she told me she loved the bow design in front. Haha so I kept the ‘mistake’ and made it into my first design. I still make this dress for people. It’s called beau time the dress.
KALTBLUT: We are delighted to work with you. And to present your label here in Germany and internationally. We are planning exciting things with you. Have you ever been to Berlin? And what do you know about the fashion world here?
EP: That sounds so cool! To answer your question. I have visited Berlin 2 times, one when I was a student in art school and I thought Berlin was such a cool and scary place.
Also I was in Berlin 2 years ago to visit some friends and then I loved the super relax atmosphere, I loved riding my bike trough the city and seeing so much space, culture, color. I loved the museums and I got a lot of inspiration there (also fabrics) for the collection created and shown in Poland. To be honest I don’t know much about the fashion scene. I am really curious to see and experience it all. I will have to do some homework and broaden my view.
KALTBLUT: Thanks for the interview .. Our readers will learn a lot more about you in the coming months. Do you have a tip for young designers out there who want to live the same dream that you live?
EP: Make no illusions, it is not easy. But if this is what you want to do: commit, do the work, listen to feedback and grow. Take it step by step. Follow your intuition.