For its first women’s fashion week presentation and Ready-to-Wear collection, Maria Koch, founder and creative director of 032c Apparel, planted a seed of luxury while removing the familiar 032c logo and iconic red hue associated with the Berlin-based media-slash-fashion brand.
“Adding women’s Ready-to-Wear is a logical extension for our fashion brand — simply put, it was the obvious next step for us as we grow. My background is in womenswear, so I am constantly thinking in those terms as a designer,” explains Koch.
The collection juxtaposes minimalist workwear references, clubwear, and tailoring with understated, sexy silhouettes that feature heaps of Swarovski crystals. ”We believe in leveraging the full range of our expertise, and you can see our experience in workwear referenced in our evening-wear as well, only subtly and through different materials,” says Koch.
032c has collaborated with a far-reaching list of brands over the past few years including Birkenstock, Stüssy, Dave’s NY, Buffalo, and a little sportswear company you may know named adidas. For this collection, it tapped both Swarovski and the Three Stripes for a bedazzled rework of the Campus silhouette.
“The Campus shoe covered in Swarovski stones brings two collaborations together. We don’t see this as a contrast, but as an expanded dialogue,” says Koch. The crystals used throughout the collection are not just frivolous embellishments and appear on the clothing as functional ropes and straps.
032c has also introduced its own line of footwear in tandem with the French luxury brand Francesco Russo. “We were very happy to be able to collaborate with our dear friend Francesco Russo on the footwear for this collection,” says Koch. “He’s an amazing designer whose work really fits with our approach to classicism, which is both rigorous and versatile, hardcore in terms of technique but also sensual — and a little bit wicked.”
032c is operating at the vanguard of fashionable magazine merch, with T-shirts, beanies, and sweatshirts being sold under the name of 032c Apparel. However, its new womenswear line presents a fresh idea of what 032c’s clothing can be; in its luxurious render, the collection relies heavily on internal collaborative efforts. “Our fashion design and editorial teams share an office and we really believe that the exchange of ideas between all our departments is what makes our model — and our products — so unique and dynamic,” says Koch. “Often, we discover that we are working through the same influences or dealing with the same preoccupations across the board.”
From its creative hive in Berlin, the magazine, apparel brand, think-tank, and now luxury fashion brand believes in the good old-fashioned power of conversation.
“Everything is a conversation at 032c Workshop. Joerg [Koch, founder of 032c magazine] and I are in constant dialogue as partners in business and in private life,” says Koch. 032c has pushed the perimeter for editorial content for years, and with its new collection, the brand shows it isn’t afraid of what is next while exploring new and foreign territories. “Essentially, it is about exploring the full bandwidth of what is possible, what inspires, and what motivates us as a brand. We have never been known to hold back.”
Written by Madeleine Holth for Highsnobiety