Emma Reipert / M4
shot in Berlin, May 22nd, 2015 / published: July 6th, 2015
You were born in Berlin, grew up on the shores of Lake Chiemsee and now you are back in Berlin. Is there something you miss about country life and what is that you don't want to miss anymore about living in the city?
I think the only thing i really miss about living in the countryside is living so close to a big and beautiful lake. I grew up next to the lake Chiemsee in the South of Germany, so I spent most of my time out in the nature - a beautiful way to grow up. But living in the city means so much more to me. I finally really feel at home - that's a feeling I never had in Bavaria. I enjoy that the city's never asleep, that you don't know the one next to you while you're sitting in the subway, that it's full of people but you're still alone. You can just be - without feeling watched all the time.
You told me, your final term paper at school was about the passing of traditional crafts and trades. Which crafts have you been writing about? And most importantly, what does craftsmanship mean to you? Do you fear that we may loose way too many skills and traditions?
Yes, right before I finished my A-levels in school I wrote a paper about social documentary photography. In addition to that I made a book about craftsmanships which rarely exist in our time any more. I portrayed a sailmaker from my village, a potter, a bookbinder and my mum. She's the designer and founder of Villa Gaia. She fit in my topic because she mainly produces with manual knitting machines in Germany and that is very rare in the fashion industry nowadays. Handcrafted things mean a lot me, cause it has always been an important issue in my family. A sweater has never been just a sweater. It has never been about the price or only about the looks. It was about the amount of work and knowledge that goes into the garments. All the way from the idea, through the first sketches, the sample and the work of the knitters and sewers up to the final sweater, that we can finally wear. As a child I spent a lot of time in my mum's atelier, I saw how the sketches were made, I helped sorting the yarns and sewing and watched the garments being steamed and packed. Later I grew more and more concerned with the question why people do not see how much work goes into a garment. We step into a shop and buy a T-shirt for 4 Euros, it just can't be fair. As we try to produce faster and cheaper, we loose track of the worth of labor. Worker are paid and treated miserably, we pollute the environment by all the chemicals used in the process and the massive transport of goods over very long distances. As long as we can buy cheap, we tend to forget the fact that we are killing craftsmanships and traditions by encouraging consumption craze!
Since fashion has a very prominent role within your family, what influence do you feel it had on you while growing up?
Fashion has always been very important to me. I am not really a fashion victim who is always chasing after the latest trend. But my mother is a fashion designer and my father works in fashion as well and I could get to know a positive and sustainable side of the industry from a very young age, so I guess I do have a little sense for it. My parents always allowed me to wear what I wanted and I surely must have committed quite some horrible mistakes on the way, but I had the chance to find my own style pretty early. Now that I am working as a model, I get to know the industry from yet another side. I'll have to admit, fashion is not a perfect world, nonetheless I am pretty sure I will pursue a career in fashion in the future!
What does modeling mean to you?
I love being a model. It is hard at times, but it is also just as exciting. I feel I have already learned a lot. I met very interesting people, I got to know myself and my limits better and to grow as a person. You have to work with your body, to slip into different roles, to take criticism, to learn how to be confident and yet stay true to yourself. Modeling means a lot to me, not because I'd like to be in the spotlight, but because I really enjoy the collaboration, the people and the work in this business.
We met in Café Haliflor in Mitte and went on a tour through Mauerpark and to Kulturbrauerei – what do these places mean to you?
Haliflor is one of my favorite cafés, I used to go there almost everyday and it felt much like my own living room from where I could write, hear some good music, enjoy my coffee and watch the people around me. On the other hand, I am not spending much time in Mauerpark, I just go there on Sunday afternoons when Alice Phoebe Lou is singing, she is my favorite singer in Berlin. I have been to Kulturbrauerei more often to play pool, I really like the inner yard with its red bricks.
Any insiders' tips for this neighborhood? Best jogging route? Best food and drinks?
Oh well, insiders' tips... there are just so many! My favorite restaurant is Vina, a little vietnamese restaurant in the Invalidenstraße. Not because the place is particularly fancy, but the food is delicious and won't hit your purse hard. Unfortunately, I have no good tips for jogging, I just moved to Friedrichshain and I am still looking for the best route. And in regards to food and drinks, my favorite food is sushi and you can get that everywhere in Berlin. I can recommend ha-an in the Kastanienallee. My favorite drink is still a dry white wine and that is not hard to get either!
Where will your journey take you? Where do you see yourself in the near and far future?
My plan is to keep on modeling full time for the next 1 to 2 years and then maybe start my studies. I'd love to travel to London, Milan, NYC and Australia, but first I am looking forward to fashion week in Berlin and Paris! I'd love to go to University here in Berlin later on, but that is still much bound to my choice of studies. As I said, I am pretty sure they will be connected to fashion, it runs in the family!