Roland Barthes once said that mode is the act of playing with the question of “Who am I?”. To us all, the unaltered form of our being, the true essence of ourselves is a deep mystery. As the ever-changing air, the answer to the question of “Who am I?”, slips away as soon as we seem to catch it. It is a search, every human being is venturing in, while at the same time trying to become someone other than themselves. Expressing or disguising the person they found inside them, giving all different sides within a voice. All of that through the medium of clothing. Yesterday’s version of ourselves no longer exists today. All the more we strive to get a hold of our essence, our unaltered core being. This search within us is what keeps fashion in motion.
Nora Berger was born in Vienna, her father is a graphic designer and her mother an art teacher. While in high school, she went to the South of Great Britain to study Art and Design. Under her highly artistic parents, she was raised with an unrestricted outlook, which allowed her to flourish in an extensive aesthetic environment. Later she studied fashion at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna under Veronique Branquinho and Raf Simons.
Kathrin Lugbauer was born in Lower Austria with her father being a craftsman and undertaker, and her mother a german-teacher. At the age of 15, she spent two months tracing the same route, which Columbus took to navigate by ship from Spain to Venezuela. Though apart from this extraordinary trip, she was a calm and not showily, but rather determined girl from the Austrian countryside. While studying fashion at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna under Veronique Branquinho and Raf Simons she met Nora Berger, and together they established Natures of Conflict.
Apart from being born in the same country, both designers have little in common. What draws them together to the extent of building a label together, is their shared feeling of being out of place.
Along with the tides of economic entities, dominating the world’s fashion industry, society practically demands of women to wear low-quality, replaceable outfits that remind us of mediocrity. Yet nothing is further apart from our true core being that seeks expression. It was that unsavory and aggravate feeling of being forced to wear borrowed clothes; the paradoxical belief in fashion that assures you to be on the safe side, as long as you follow the same trends as everybody else. “Who am I?” This, however, seems to be the nagging uneasiness that countless women of today’s diverse society encounter. Rather, it is an issue met by innumerable people, regardless of their sexes.
Natures of Conflict forms the unit of these two women. The most important part of their process of clothes-making is the picking of material. They distance themselves from outlandish designs and focus on unique compositions, created by the balance of high-quality fabrics, which, with their calm and steady nuances, almost seem to be something very intimate. It is a process that brings out the real capacity of creating clothes. On top of it, the two designers are fond of the functionality, which classical work-attire and uniforms allows. The delicate details of uniforms and also their straight-forward design, have a big influence on NoC’s designs. The elements that uniform and workwear inherit, get incorporated. To relativize the indications of social class and professions that inherently go with these kinds of attires and in order to decide and answer the question of “Who am I?” freely, it can be said that mode, as the banner man of introspection and self-expression, gets a hidden adoration.
The two designers themselves seem to be antimonies, contradictions within themselves, that provide each other with antitheses that dynamically clash and forge creative impulses. Each other’s unrestricted perception of the world, trying to be at times more and at other times less themselves and expressing it by wearing clothes, showing themselves as they are and sometimes disguising themselves from the world, all the while idolizing mode and being pushed on by it.
If we do not forget to purely experiment and make the effort of choosing, then our future cannot be anything but good.
— by Mana Furuyama