If a fashion project has a title such as “Textile Delicts”, laypeople may fear bad things. But completely unfounded: the clothes that were on display for sale in the former factory hall on Marienstraße are anything but a fashion crime, but instead colorful, stylish – and close to the zeitgeist, for which sustainability of fashion is becoming increasingly important. Because the jackets, hoodies, pants and T-shirts were neither new nor were they designed by a fashion designer.
Behind “Textile Delicts” is the “stolen goods”, a fashion label that specializes in the design of merchandise items for musicians and artists, as well as workwear and teamwear. The highlight: They don’t have new clothes produced for their collections, but only use old clothes that are repaired, refined and redesigned – this approach is called “upcycling”.
“Old clothing is practically inconceivable as a resource,” says Manuel Krings, who co-founded the “receiving shop” together with two partners. “In Cologne alone, 6,000 tons of clothing end up in the residual waste every year.” According to the consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia, it is a good 1.1 million textile waste per year. “That is why it is also our mission, or vision, to offer a new approach to old clothes, to convey fashion as a medium to people and to invite them to experiment with it,” adds Krings.
As a company, stolen goods have been around for a good two years, but three founders have been dying for much longer on their idea. “We all come from different areas – I from visual design and graphics, the other two from fashion and music – but somehow we had always tossed the plan to start a fashion label.” The three founders started out first to experiment with screen printing. “And we noticed that the fashion was actually already there. Then we said to ourselves, let’s see how far we can get with it if we don’t produce new products, but work with what is already there. “
In the meantime, the “Hehler” have built up a large network of clothing donors. “On the one hand, there are a lot of private donors – you can bring your things over to us and get discounts on our collections. In the meantime, however, there are also many commercial donors, textile finishers for example. When printing clothes, there are often misprints that don’t even know what to do with them. “
At the beginning of the year, the stolen goods department had launched the “Textile Offenses” project. “The idea is to challenge Cologne artists to just experiment with fashion,” says Krings. “We deliberately address people who previously had no contact with this area.” Like “Steffen” , who is responsible for the first “Textile Offenses” collection. He is a street artist and works primarily with collages inspired by Pop Art. “I get a lot of inspiration from Japanese typography, including the aesthetics of the 80s,” he says.
In the first step of the cooperation “Sweet stolen goods”, “Steffen” now has a chest with clothes. “The artistic creations are then completely free and can decide what they want to make of it. They come back to us with their sketches and drafts and we take care of the implementation, ”says Krings. Something that was obviously easy for Steffen, because “I took my sketchbook and outlined the concept in a good two or three hours.”
The artist’s neon-heavy handwriting was evident in the first collection of “Textile Offenses”. It shouldn’t stay the last one. “We would like to make a series out of it and bring out further collections by other artists in maybe six weeks. On the one hand, to show people what cool things can be made out of second-hand clothes and, on the other hand, to bring fashion as a medium to the artists. ”Manuel Krings will continue to address artists as far as possible from the fashion industry. “For example, I would think it would be great if we could win a comedian for it,” he says.