Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heike Jarick: Inside a Designer's Atelier

Heike Jarick’s small mid-town atelier is buzzing with life at 5:00 p.m. on a Tuesday evening. She’s been up and working since 6:00 a.m. that morning filming a German version of Top Model, where contestants wore pieces from Jarick’s Spring 2008 line. Despite the long workday behind her prepping for Coterie, the big New York show which packs in top buyers from all over the world who will stock stores with designers who show intense promise, she’s cheery as she sits down to chat with me over a steaming cup of coffee. Jarick is still relatively incognito, but every indicator points towards explosive growth for her eponymous line of sensual, immaculate and creative clothing.

Since founding the line in 2000, she’s worked tirelessly to craft her style and vision.
Wishing to avoid the influence of other fashion designers and following trends, Jarick works in somewhat purposeful isolation. She finds her own sources of inspiration and vision outside of the fashion community. And yet, her work is consistently ahead of the seasons. While other designers were showing full skirts, Jarick was already working with the silhouette, a look that was oh so prevalent at the fall 2008 shows. She stands out not just for her avant-guard vision, but also for her meticulous fabrication and hands-on approach. Jarick oversees the construction of each of her designs from start to finish. She travels the globe seeking out exotic and inspiring fabrics and incorporating them into her collections.

Her fall 2008 collection featured several idiosyncratic Japanese fabrics, including a lush metallic silver that emerged as the fabric of Jarick’s classic trench with a twist. In another example of ingenuity, she created a sui generis, eel pearlescent jacket that catches the light with a subtle glimmer and peaks curiosity.
Futurism with a 1940s tinge is how she describes her silhouette conscious, shimmering fall 2008 line.

In the atelier, Jarick grabs several pieces off the racks that surrounded us as we talk to illustrate her points about her work. In what seemed almost an unconscious and fluid gesture, she pairs a billowing top with a slim pencil skirt that keeps the ensemble from becoming too flirtatious or obsequious. It is a perfect ageless combination: layered and loose on top and defining and constructivist on the bottom. The subtle hint of romanticism derived from her collections reinforces Jarick’s intellectual mind and construction.
To this point, Jarick is a completely savvy businesswoman.

Recognizing a demand for high quality, detail oriented, sensually cut clothing at a lower price point for women who appreciate fashion but can’t necessarily afford couture pieces, Jarick will launch her Heike Jarick Blue Label this fall. She has created an elegant line of modal jersey knit that is seasonally transitional and hugs the figure in all its best places and hangs looser in other areas. Best of all, the pieces flatter any figure. The collection offers dresses for under $100 and Jarick has overseen every step in the creation of the line and is confident that Blue Label will develop a following with younger clients.
In addition to having her work appear on Germany’s Top Model with Heidi Klum hosting, Jarick is garnering fantastic reviews here in Chicago, and she’s featured in an editorial in February’s Elle Magazine. The recognition is well deserved. The pieces in Jarick’s line speak for themselves.
-Kari Skaflen


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