Paula Knorr on S/S 19, femininity and being her own boss

“It’s really important for me to work on something that ends up on a real person afterwards; so that was sort of a starting point”

Seven collections on from her NEWGEN accolade, Paula Knorr has produced another honest and empowering selection of eveningwear pieces for S/S 19. Known for her strong sense of femininity, the designer explains why designing for ‘women’ is the trend of the season, year and future.

WGSN’s Associate Editor Joanna Standley caught up with Paula post-presentation to talk S/S 19, femininity and being her own boss.


What made you want to jump into starting your own brand?

Initially, I never wanted to start my own brand, but I always wanted to create garments that sell. It’s really important for me to work on something that ends up on a real person afterwards, so that was sort of a starting point. Then, I created a graduate collection that was already quite wearable – it was something i heard a lot in feedback. It was then I applied for NEWGEN and started my own brand. I have to say, it’s really nice to be my own boss. I’ve grown so much confidence.


You’re heavily influenced by women and designing for women – Why is that?  How does this process begin?

In garments, I’m looking to create pieces that I would feel comfortable wearing, and how I believe the garment would sit.

It’s about comfort, it’s about easiness. I would actually love it if you could climb a ladder in my dresses – you can sit down, you can reach your arms over your head… all these things are just really important to me. It’s about having fun and feeling comfortable, and there’s no fun to be had in being restricted by your clothing. A lot of what I do is about giving the women freedom.

Modesty through drapery is a frequent element in this collection. Why is this?

The Middle East is a big market. I worked with a lot of Middle Eastern stores last season, and that actually always inspires me. My customer, buyers or all the people that actually wear my clothes are actually closest to my inspiration, because it’s always the person that actually wears it, that’s the person that gives it life. For me, it was definitely a point to create something that is sensual, show stopping, even – but doesn’t have to show skin.


Many young designers are also giving emphasis to women, and what women stand for through their designs. Why do you think this is?

Simply because it’s necessary, it’s important to not dictate your customer. It’s important that fashion [doesn’t] dictate anymore, and I think there are a lot of young designers that are with me on [that].

Do you have frequent muses that inspire all the collections?

I don’t have this big muse in my head, although I know that a lot of other designers do. I just look at how people wear my garments, enjoy or feel in my garments – these are the things that provide me with inspiration. It’s not about creating this person that doesn’t exist – reality is much more interesting.


With collections becoming increasingly mixed with both mens and womenswear, is this something you would move in to as a future plan?

No, not really because [the brand] is so much about femininity, and empowering women – it’s hard to find a traditionally masculine edge to that.

Fashion month can be overwhelming. With so much coverage on social media it’s easy to feel inspired, but how can you decipher which trends to test vs. which to invest? Head here for all of WGSN’s catwalk offerings to help navigate you through the social media storm. 

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