Unique craftsmanship and highest quality coupled with tradition and perfection in every detail - those special properties are the symbol of the products of the premium brand Aigner. Today the German brand, with its three product areas leather, accessories and fashion, is part of the premier class and can be regularly admired at the Fashion Fairs in Milan. The distinctive mark of the world-famous brand is the characteristic Aigner "A", a small horseshoe, which identifies its owner as a connoisseur of style. Until the Munich-based company reached its important position as a manufacturer of exclusive leather goods such as handbags, belts, luggage and accessories for ladies and gentlemen, the founder of Etienne Aigner had to master some obstacles. Initially he designed only a few bag collections for several haute couture houses in Paris. Among other things the designer created his first items for Christian Dior and Hermès. Finally, in 1950 and 1965 he founded his own companies in New York and Munich. At the same time Heiner Rankl joined the company and the brand was able to position itself on the market as a constant supplier of luxury items. The brand Aigner currently still stands for sovereignty, security and trust as well as a constant timeless and always valid style. The distinctive accessories above all inspire modern people, who follow innovation and appreciate tradition.
Interview with Christian Beck, Creative Director AIGNER:
Is there a difference between being a designer for your own label and working for a brand?
There’s a big difference for sure. As a designer for a brand it is more than important to keep the brand DNA and at the same time find the right balance between the brands philosophy and adding a touch of your own personal taste. There should be a visible certain something about my designs in the collection, but it is not about me, it is about the brand… In this ideal case my personal taste fits the taste of AIGNER, so it is a suitable match.
You are controlling the entire creative process for AIGNER’s leather collections. How do you use leather in your ready-to-wear collections?
We are and will stay a leather accessories brand. However, we have a high demand for ready-to-wear as well and to maintain consistency throughout the collection, we create a few pieces each season using different types of leather to suit that particular look. We will continue to satisfy both the categories for all the future collections as well.
Are there any key elements that you carry through all your designs?
Our products are always of the highest quality combined with the purity of the designs that makes them timeless luxury pieces which can be carried for a long period of time without them going out of style. I always try to add my personal style to all the pieces but at the same time keep the collections classic - the AIGNER way.
What is the greatest challenge of your work?
It was my duty to bring AIGNER back to its own success and glorious reputation in the luxury brands industry. I am always achieving new goals every day. The dynamic drive keeps me going and is my most important mission.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
There is no week like the week before. I work on different product ranges where each collection has demands individual attention, so I have to be flexible.
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
My first fashion memory is when I was nine years old, I was taking a walk on the beach dressed in a pink flat cap, with matching pink smiley suspenders. I was feeling great, and I couldn’t help but notice the way people looked at me and smiled. It made me think, ‘Oh, I might be a little different!’ I always knew I wanted to do something related to art or design.
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
It’s not about achievements, it is about how you make your way towards them…
What drives you to go on?
My work means everything to me and every day is a new challenge. This is what drives me and gives me the motivation to go on.
When I work on a new collection and see it developing over a period of time, that is exciting for me because I wait to see the end result.
Personally, I am inspired by the people I see on the streets in their every-day-life. Fashion is an expression of every individuals personality and I love experimenting with new styles.
I am always excited about life, about love and about fashion. I am emotional and passionate, and these aspects translate into all my collections season after season.
What do you love most about being a designer?
I love the fact that I can present my ideas to the world, to our customers, live the vision from the beginning till the end. Being trusted. Travelling the world and being given the opportunity to understand different cultures, habits and ways of living.
How can you describe Russian customers?
To me our Russian customers have an exquisite taste. They are all up-to-date with the trends and are ahead of many other countries in understanding and knowing high end fashion. They look for superior quality, tradition and craftsmanship but still want a certain modernity. I appreciate this attitude a lot.
What do you think about Chinese customers?
I see Chinese customers as very open minded folk. They travel a lot, love to discover new countries and they love products from Europe with a DNA and a strong background story like AIGNER has.
Please give us some information on AIGNER’s style for this FW season.
With RESET we are pushing the ‘stop-button’ and rewinding our mind to become aware of our true values and carry them over into modern times. It’s a tribute to traditional leather craftsmanship, ‘Made in Italy’ as well as the passion for leather.
We are defining our present by using inspiration from the past and combining them with futuristic ideas.
The collection intelligently walks the line between yesterday and today when it references iconic pieces and prints from the archive and reinterpreting them into must-haves of tomorrow.
What trends will be seen in the SS18 collection?
#AIGNERLOVE, the SS18 collection is all about love. The collection is inspired by pop art themes, while the vibe of the 1990s can be felt throughout: the period’s method of using and combining colour as well as disrupting things and ideas and putting them back together in new ways are the basic principles behind the collection.