designer spotlight : Tess Hinterbichler

photography & interview : Luke Copping
dress : Tess Hinterbichler
model : Nicole Maile
makeup : Rachel Mazzie
hair : Jessica Jean

In Buffalo’s Recent Runway 3.0 event there was a standout designer amongst the students involved. Tess Hinterbichler put together a chameleonic and mutable collection of garments ranging from casual separates to fully produced dress. Unique construction allows several of her garments to literally transform elements of themselves into new pieces of both artistic fashion and wearable sculpture.  The winner of the events Nancy Belfer award, Tess is slated to begin a fashion internship in Boston shortly. But while she is still in Buffalo we had the chance to produce a small shoot for Tess and conduct and interview with this young designer whose insights into fashion and design should excite Auxiliary readers about the next generation of designers we may be hearing a lot about in the future.

Your work seems to combine a unique futurist perspective with a sense of evolution and change. Where did you draw influence from for this collection?

Since this was my senior project for Buffalo State College, all of the designers were told the theme of the runway show (Technology: progression obsession) and told to run with it.  I must admit that when I first heard the theme, I was a little turned off because my design aesthetic is more ready-to-wear than futuristic or technological; I want my clothing to be beautiful yet functional.  After months of brainstorming and working on ideas for my concept board, I was finally able to translate the technology theme to my perspective as a designer.

I was inspired by the architecture of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, which is both modern and traditional. Functionality and innovation are two key terms that come to my mind when dealing with technology. The function or purpose of my technology is transformation.  I incorporated wire into certain seam-lines of my garments so that they can be morphed into a different look.

What is your background in design, how did you come to fashion as a field of study?

I had known that I wanted to be a designer for as long as I’ve remembered. I still have my second grade, college-ruled science notebook that I would draw designs in instead of taking notes; needless to say, science was never my subject.  The thing that eventually lead me to the decision to study fashion design in college was when I attended the senior fashion show at Syracuse College.  My godmother’s daughter, Molly studied fashion design there and the show was amazing!  The show was held in one of the auditoriums, there was loud music and lots of people.  It was the most exciting this I had ever been to.  On the four hour drive back to Buffalo from Syracuse I started to draw my our fashion sketches.  I knew from that point on that I wanted to be a designer.

You are heading off for an internship in Boston, do you plan to keep working on your own pieces while beginning this new position?

I have just completed my first week as an intern in the Graphic/Design department at The Life is Good Company and have learned so much already.  I do plan on designing my own pieces throughout the summer (and for the rest of my life).  It is my passion and I want to keep doing what I love.

Runway 3.0 is a fantastic local event in Buffalo, what was it like to participate in a showcase that allows young designers from outside of the major markets to show their talent in a serious and amazingly well produced forum?

Runway 3.0 was so much fun!  Since I was in the class specifically created to design for Runway 3.0, I had the advantage of seeing the production side of the show and how much work really goes into it.  The merchandising majors, under Erin’s instruction, had to do everything from find sponsors to sell tickets and clean the actual space (The Pierce-Arrow Building).

I believe there were 600 seats and we had two shows, a 4pm and 9pm.  The turnout was really great, the first show almost sold out and the second was completely full.It was so amazing to be a part of the event.  On the day of the show I just kept thinking, I can’t believe I am actually a part of this; I can’t believe I get to showcase my work to all of these people in such an amazing and unreal venue. I defiantly want to be a part of it again, I am even thinking about submitting work for Mass Appeal (also produced by Erin Habes) in the fall.

What designers in the fashion field are exciting you right now, if you were the tastemaker, who would be the one designer you would be telling us all about?

ME!  Hopefully my work speaks for itself, I want to break out and showcase my work on a larger scale.  There are so many amazing young designers out there, it is like trying to pick a favorite artist.   One designer that is already on the radar is Jason Wu.  I think he has a fresh take on what women are looking for, and his tailoring skills are impeccable.  I really enjoy smaller, freelance designers such as Kelly Lane.   I did an internship with Kari of Clementiny Clothing, a local Buffalo designer, and learned a lot about what it takes to be a freelance designer.  In order to succeed, you much dedicate all of your time and effort when you are on your own. I find it inspiring what Kari has done for herself, she has a very successful shop in and is now carried in seven boutiques internationally.  She constructs each of her garments herself and reuses vintage fabric in order to have a lesser global impact.  I admire this sort of business and strive to have that success some day.

– Luke

Luke Copping
Luke Copping was a founding member and now is an occasional contributor for Auxiliary.
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