Friends of The Good Store – Interview with Kirsten Landwehr
As part of our interview series Friends of The Good Store we sat down with Kirsten Landwehr, the former stylist and gallery owner, who has been bringing her pieces to us since the beginning. After years working as an esteemed stylist between Hamburg and London, Kirsten settled here in Berlin to establish the Galerie für Moderne Fotografie. A gallery focused on celebrating renowned artists and showcasing up-and-coming contemporary photographers. Kirsten’s unique curatorial approach mirrors the core identity upon which The Good Store was founded: honouring vintage clothing and celebrating contemporary designers. Still deeply entrenched in the world of art, Kirsten now works together with the Chateau Royal Berlin, the castle on Berlin’s museum island which will be open in 2020. In addition to this Kirsten has founded her own brand: FEMALE FEMALE, a selection of unique, vintage and handpicked pieces. Collaborating with womenswear brand ODEEH, FEMALE FEMALE have just launched a collection which supports Opera Village Africa, an arts education project located in Ouagadougou.
In conversation with Kirsten, we discovered that her playful but considered perspective extends far beyond the world of fashion and art, a refreshingly holistic approach to the world.
Your life has seen many fascinating stages, what are the challenges you have faced along your journey?
During some stages in my life I’ve found myself very lost and frustrated. To be honest it first changed when I became a mother and single parent at 29. I realised then how my way in life thus far made sense. In retrospect, at times one doesn’t know, has no clue at all but instead just follows their intuition. I realised just how important it is to have fun. Aside from this look to people you admire, remember your role models, but no one has it “all figured out”. Don’t judge yourself that you’re not constantly aware of what you want or pressure yourself to always make intelligent decisions. Sometimes, it’s fine to be trivial.
You mentioned the importance of role models. Who was your first role model growing up?
I dreamt of being Nscho-tschi out of Winnetou Movies. She was my first female role model.
Have the arts always played a key role in your life and work?
Indirectly yes. And then it became more and more important and I’m still processing.
How would you describe your personal style?
First and foremost, my style is constantly changing. But it’s always eclectic, spirited, irritating rather than complete. No uniform, no trends and if at all, combined with very personal pieces.
Your work within the fashion industry spans a diverse range of fields, what does a particular piece or brand have to have in order to get your attention?
It has to surprise me.
What’s speaking to you in your wardrobe currently?
Anything by Gembalis, shorts by Michael Olestad, Dumatrescu turtlenecks, blazers and coats. An hourglass coat I have by Balenciaga, trousers by Massimo Dutti, which surprisingly exhibit very sharp cuts and elegant fabrics. With shoes I lean towards Chloe and Dries van Noten.
You are banished to a desert island, which piece would you bring with you and why?
I assume it would be hot there so to be honest, I would leave everything and practice FKK (free body culture).
Has the nature of the fashion industry changed over recent years in your opinion?
Where to start? Honestly, everything is so “available” and there are up to eight collections per year. So many people are severely underpaid in this industry. Manual craft is disappearing. It makes little sense.
People who have the capacity and means to positively influence do otherwise and fly around the globe for 20 minute cruise collections.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love it but certainly have questions. I am very invested in supporting local craftsmanship.
How did you first discover The Good Store?
I’ve known Gerda for a long time and have always followed her career.
What about The Good Store is unique to you?
Like I said, I really value supporting your local community, so primarily it’s that feeling of familiarity. You can trust the quality here and I like its curatorial direction, it’s like choosing a completely new piece from a collection.
What is special for you about shopping second-hand?
Of course I should answer sustainability but its rather to discover something I could never get before either because it was too sought-after, too expensive, not my size or sold out.
Which of your pieces have you been most excited for a Good Store customer to discover?
Multi-colored denim by Hedi Slimane for Calvin Klein and some of the Gembalis pieces, not so well known but the style, quality and cut is outstanding.