The Resurgence of Softness, Maiami Berlin
Turn back time to several decades ago and it’s almost astonishing to think that the clothing one wore was nearly all handmade. Sewing and knitting weren’t crafts – they were necessities. Naturally, throughout history when the crafts were labeled as necessary, utilitarian and functional, they lost their aesthetic appreciation. Controlled by guilds and limited in quantity, textiles were only accessible for nobility throughout much of Europe. What transpired next is the age-old tale of smog, smoke, fast fashion, fast furnishings and even faster trends – the industrial revolution.
It can seem exciting for each and every generation to rekindle a romantic relationship with past crafts. Three years ago when I left America for Europe, my seventy year-old grandmother spent hours creating her Facebook page so we could have easier contact and share pictures. To much her benefit, that one-picture profile where she, more often than not, misdirects comments on her own wall and perpetually reminds me that my red lipstick is far too bright, has now turned into a quilting and knitting social frenzy. She spends her retired afternoons looking at the crafty quilts, scarves and creations of women and men around the world, impressed that the art she loves is still alive and well. She’s refreshed and I’m awfully happy.
A new Renaissance is upon us. For the sake of tradition, new, diverse techniques of knitting are popping up and infiltrating the fashion scene – offering a quality and comfort that machines simply cannot. Maiami, founded in Berlin in 2004 by Maike Dietrich is one such collection, seeking to realign handcraft and modernity through both sustainability and community. According to Maiami, “In a time of virtuality, artificialness and high tech, the special aesthetic of these traditionally handcrafted knits mixed with modern components, provokes a return to natural, handmade products with a soft feel.”
Maiami has not only aligned itself with the ethics and morals of slow fashion and sustainability, they have aligned themselves with the core virtues of everything Konstrukt Magazine wishes to recognize in the new generation of business owners in Berlin. Those that are pulling back, taking notice and supporting a reformation of the arts, of clothing and of the kiez. For some, the year 2018 is simply a fresh start – for others, it is a year for harvesting the authentic eclecticism that has engulfed the city since the moment of its conception. Maiami believes in slow fashion as a new luxury – and they would be correct in that assessment. Yet, here, the price per piece is hardly a defining structure – the luxury lay in the craft, the relationships and bonds between personal knitters and designers in Berlin and most importantly, a transparent and ethical work process. Traditional yet modern – slow yet cutting-edge, collections like Maiami are cross-generational and untouched by the spoils of mass-production.