ITN: Mr. Rath, René Lang, president of the German Association of Fashion and Textile Designers (VDMD), has appointed you German design ambassador. What does this role entail?
Thomas Rath: The appointment is a great honour; fashion is, after all, my passion. Fashion means presenting onself with confidence, making a statement through one’s appearance and constantly keeping up to date with the latest trends. Together with the VDMD, we have set out to achieve two key aims. On the one hand we want, to strengthen fashion awareness in Germany and thereby provide an international outlet for its creative potential. Secondly, we want to fund sponsorships for young designers with successful companies in the industry. I see the main focus of my work in securing opportunities for up-and-coming talents.
ITN: Helping up-and-coming designers is something that is close to your heart – why is that?
Thomas Rath: We need young designers. They are the future. Fresh ideas are what keep the fashion industry ticking. Established designers must give young designers a hand up so that they can present themselves to their best advantage. Everyone started out small.
A shower of gold for Thomas Rath: The fashion designer accepts the plaudits for his 2015 collection of luxury trousers at the end of his fashion show "Le Jardin Versailles"
ITN: Let us talk about your luxury women’s line Thomas Rath Trousers, which will hit stores in 2015. What makes this particular collection stand out?
Thomas Rath: The Thomas Rath Trousers label brings together the best of Thomas Rath and the trouser specialist GARDEUR: a high-quality, stylish premium brand, tradition and artisan perfection. We already launched the label with our first collection for the 2013/14 autumn/winter season. The new collection is very diverse: Important elements are the jogging and boyfriend styles as well as all of the slim-fit shapes and the classic cigarette silhouette. For us, the trend themes for summer 2015 are Art of Africa and Mademoiselle Pastelle alongside the classic Black & White. We have taken these themes as the inspiration for our collection. What sets Thomas Rath Trousers apart are the feminine designs and perfect fit as well as the use of exquisite materials and loving attention to detail that make each pair of Thomas Rath Trousers an individual designer object.
ITN: The hot topics for next spring and summer are business, hot fashion and sport. Can you tell us about some of your favourite styles?
Thomas Rath: It is not just the new spring/summer 2015 collection that has been divided into these three overarching themes. We try to do this in every season. My statement piece for spring/summer 2015 is style ALEC1, an innovative jogging-style trouser with zipper details and earth-coloured rhinestone embellishment on the pockets. Combined with a casual, light-blue man’s shirt and salmon-coloured peep-toe heels, this piece is my personal highlight of the collection.
ITN: Which materials, patterns and motifs will dominate in the coming year?
Thomas Rath: For the Thomas Rath Trousers collection, we have sought out the highest quality materials we could find: printed silks, fine woven wool/silk mixes and soft Italian suede glove leather. We have also used technical cotton fabrics that are amazingly soft to the touch and flowing tech-crepe fabrics. The patterns and decorative motifs focus on stylized animal interpretations such as kaleidoscopic snake prints and ethnically inspired motifs on printed fabrics or woven jacquard fabrics.
ITN: You are producing Thomas Rath Trousers in cooperation with veteran trouser specialist Atelier GARDEUR, which can trace its history back to 1920. How is that working?
Thomas Rath: Very well indeed. Besides giving my name to the collection, I am also contributing my distinctive design signature and my in-depth experience in the premium sector to the label. Atelier GARDEUR is a vertically integrated manufacturer specializing in trousers that fit perfectly. It is responsible for purchasing, technical aspects, manufacturing, quality management, distribution, sales point management and PR.
ITN: Luxury and sustainability – to what extent do you think the two are compatible?
Thomas Rath: I think they fit together very well. Luxury and sustainability are both markers of quality, and high quality implies longevity. Sustainability is a term that automatically makes people expect to pay more, but at the same time it is seen as a synonym for high value. Sustainability is an important factor for me in the selection of materials. They must be well produced so that, for example, they do not contain any allergens.
ITN: What is it that makes a pair of trousers into a luxurious and sophisticated item? Is it the material, the design, the cut?
Thomas Rath: Finding the right pair of trousers is the biggest wardrobe challenge women face. There is no room for error with trousers. Everything has to be just right: The fit has to be perfect, the pattern must be slimming and the cut flattering. Tailoring the perfect pair of trousers is an art in itself, and for that reason, ours alone are unique and luxurious. Add to that the use of exquisite materials, lovingly chosen details, high-quality production techniques and stand-out designs, and our trousers all exude an indefinable exclusivity.
ITN: Can the infamous jogging bottoms ever be considered a luxury look?
Thomas Rath: Definitely. They may be a very relaxed cut, but when styled with elegantly feminine accessories, they can still be formal. In combination with heels, a neutral silk blouse and a tailored blazer, the jogging style is definitely a luxury look and should have a place in every woman’s wardrobe.
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