Sunday, February 21, 2010

Interview with Einat Burg of FROG

Einat Burg's design studies in Tel Aviv were focused on stage wear and accessories. And yet her label FROG does not quite fit those two labels. Rather, it focuses on the idea behind the label's name, the metamorphosis of said animal going through its life cycle, and curiosity, which is considered "a wearable raw material." Each piece is versatile, has no size, and fits with no particular season. Einat's fantastically photographed work caught my eye quite a while ago, and with her incredible Winter 09/10 collection, I had to satisfy my own curiosity about the woman behind FROG. Are you curious too? Well, - prepare for a pun - hop on...


What is the very first piece you remember designing?

My very first piece I designed was a sculptured green vest made of stiff woven fabric presenting theatrical and dramatic elements, especially around the neck area. At the time, I reviewed the world as a theater with us as actors in it. At first when I had just started to play with the idea, I wasn't sure whether the garment was wearable or not, though apparently at the end it seemed to work.

What is your most treasured piece of clothing?

To be honest, my most treasured pieces are my basics such as black golf shirt, black trousers (tailored but sloppy), both in numerous different versions. Given the intense emotional involvement with my creations, I must have balance which I derive from my basics. It's like painting on a clean canvas. The basics are the background for the accessory - that way it's present and the attention on the piece is more focused showing the form and texture.

Do you wear your own designs?

I'm very attached to my designs in both good and bad ways. I wear them all the time, although seeing and working with them all the time can make me a bit judgmental towards them and myself. So yes, I wear them proudly, but I have issues… :)

Does being from Israel affect your designs at all?

Being from Israel has it's limitations. First, the weather is hot mostly all year long and the winter is relatively short, therefore the material cannot be too massive. I design my garments in a way that there can be various options of wearing them so they can fit to diverse body proportions, emphasizing layers of cloth.
In addition, when I think about Israel it takes me back to earlier times starting from ancient times of the bible until the times of Israeli pioneers, meaning a sloppy look, and yet a bit conservative and formal. On the contrary, the fashion scene in Tel Aviv is very experimental, creative, and avant-garde - this might show signs of an uprising culture.

What are your main sources of inspiration while creating new pieces?

I'm inspired by movement, changes of materials and shapes, Japanese fashion design, interaction between individuals.

You create mostly scarves, and yet don't label your pieces as 'accessories' or 'clothing'. Do you intend to keep this versatile and seasonless element in your future collections?

First I must say, it's a beautiful and relevant question (thank you!) and, yes, it is something that definitely guides me during my design process. When I first started with a small collection of scarves, a lot of responses came up such as: "Wear it with basics and you made your look complete", "That piece is a statement". So I realized that I regard the fabric as a pure experimental material that reacts differently to every technique used on it.

Only when I'm satisfied with the results of the texture do I then work on the body structure of the design. I don't like to limit myself with definitions - in my eyes, it's damaging to my creative way of thinking. I also think clothing and wear is a great medium to get people to open their minds and free themselves from their daily routine.

What is your favorite material to work with?

I like to work with woven stiff fabrics because it can be sculptured easily and the structure is shown. Coming to think of it, I love to enquire and examine different materials - this is my passion.

What kind of music do you listen to while you work?

I listen to versatile music which changes according to the piece/motif I'm working on. While I create, I mainly listen to jazz and classic music.

If you were not a designer, what do you see yourself doing for a career?

I would probably be a photographer or culinary chef. My true affixation with life derives from the connection between senses and passion to material and those small moments in life which in my eyes are the most significant ones.

Who would you most like to see wearing one of your designs?

When I'm approaching a new design, I don't see a curtain model in front of me and don’t think of an image I want to create. I'm thinking mostly of the material and shape as elements standing by themselves. Therefore each individual who will connect with my designs will excite me just as well.

What is up next for your label?

My vision incorporates both promoting and marketing my designs in Israel and throughout the world as a part of my perspective. I extremely enjoy the self-formation process in the course of expanding and conquering goals.

And finally, what is your most favorite piece from your newest collection?

Truth is, I don't have a specific design which I'm extremely fond of. I have a tendency to get board quickly, and I have an urge to continue to the next new exciting piece. I love all of my designs equally.


Keep an eye out on the FROG Flickr and NJAL pages for some more gorgeous photos. You can purchase your own FROG piece on NJAL and My eye is still on those oversized overalls...

Top photo: octopus scarf in purple and grey
2nd photo on left: handmade gauze shawl
3rd photo on right: shrink scarf in dark grey
4th photo on left: oversized overalls in dark grey
Last photo: sleeve shawl in black

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