5 Questions with Anne-Marie Sust

© Sarah van Looy

The DWIH New York had the pleasure of interviewing Anne-Marie Sust, one of the speakers of the FUTURE FORUM: Fabricating the Future on October 7. Anne-Marie is a Sustainable Fashion Designer and Graduate of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences (UAS). Bielefeld UAS is Member of Campus OWL, a network of five higher education institutions in OstWestfalenLippe (OWL), Germany, with a liaison office in New York and main supporter of DWIH New York.

Hello Anne-Marie, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and where did you study?

Cheers! Sustainable design is exciting and allows me to be creative while staying true to my values.

I am a young, motivated, and aspiring sustainable fashion designer from Cologne (Germany) who found her passion in the intersection of urban design and innovative research. I received my Master’s Degree in Fashion Design at Bielefeld University of Applied Science in 2021.

I am really pleased to be part of the Fabricating the Future conference this year as a speaker at the Night Labs. It’s a great opportunity for me and my Master project “Why Colours Matter” to present and connect with potential employers.

This year, 2022, I have achieved a lot at exhibitions with my Master collection Why Colours Matter.

I exhibited at Dutch Design Week 2021 in Eindhoven at Bio Art Laboratorium, Yski Expo and Fashion Tech Farm and will be there again this year with my sustainable microalgae colours on textiles. I was also booked at Material District in Utrecht, Design Festival in Ghent, Creative Business Week in Munich and Milan Design Week with my fashion collection.

I also won the Green Concept Award 2022 in the fashion category with Why Colours Matter.

Anne-Marie Sust and Sarah Vanessa Homburg FH Bielefeld
Anne-Marie Sust in cooperation with Sarah Vanessa Homburg at Bielefeld UAS

Tell us about your work and what fascinates you about it!

The starting point of my design work is that current manufacturing and dyeing processes in the fashion industry are geared towards the use of non-sustainable textiles and highly polluting dyes. Therefore, for the master collection I made, screen printing inks were developed that are microalgae based. These colours were printed independently on natural and fairly produced fabrics for the tests (such as washing and UV light tests) and the original pieces. In interdisciplinary cooperation with Dr. rer. nat. Sarah Vanessa Homburg and Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Anant Patel, from the Faculty of Mathematics and Engineering at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, experiments were conducted with various microalgae on natural fabrics.

During these experiments, the light sensitivity of the microalgae became noticeable. This resulted in the design key of vanity, which links all applied methods and design decisions. Therefore, my design approach is urban, timeless and characterized by organic lines. The material concept consists exclusively of fair, organic, untreated and natural materials as well as second hand denim. To reinforce the added value of the collection that sustainability, fashion and research can complement each other, other methods such as waterless laser cutting and engraving, upcycling and patch-working were implemented and combined. The aim of this work is to sensitize the viewer and wearer to the transience and sustainability of clothing, as the prints dissolve through light contact. It is up to the wearer to decide how to deal with the clothing and the “living” microalgae. In this way, organic processes and their vanity are elevated to the level of aesthetic.

How did you get in contact with this specific field and which part did your university and its professors play?

I took various courses in innovative material research (with kombucha and oyster mushrooms) and sustainable plant dyeing methods (such as onions, indigo, curcuma and flower petals) with Julia Krayer (fashion designer) and other fashion designers who were engaged by Prof. Philipp Rupp (Faculty Fashion Design) at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences for these courses. In the process, I discovered my strength in the development and design of high-quality organic materials for clothing. As part of my master degree, I worked in an interdisciplinary way with scientists, with Dr. rer. nat. Sarah Vanessa Homburg and Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Anant Patel, from the Faculty of Mathematics and Engineering at Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. The research work aroused my interest in dealing with microalgae in depth. The circular microorganisms have strongly influenced my design language for the collection Why Colours Matter. All samples and original fashion were made by myself. In the process, my professors from design and science always supported me with their advice.

Anne Marie Sust Why Colours Matter
Why Colours Matter Collection

The result is innovative microalgae inks and sustainable fashion pieces that not only look stylish modern but also offer an alternative to fast fashion.

What are your goals for the upcoming years? Any fairs or conferences you would like to attend, certain people to whom you want to present your work? Producing on a larger scale?

First of all, I am proud to be part of the FUTURE FORUM 2022 and to travel to NYC in October. Afterwards, I will be at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (the Netherlands).

My project Why Colours Matter has made it onto the longlist of the Dezeen Awards 2022 in the Wearable Design category. You can vote for my work on the Dezeen Awards website from September 2022. I appreciate every click for my sustainable fashion collection Why Colours Matter to win the Dezeen Award 2022.

As a sustainable fashion designer, I am always interested in sharing innovative ideas with other designers and translating new ideas into sustainable fashion forms. With my hands-on mentality I will improve the fashion industry with urban, organic, and fresh colors and designs.

My successful projects and experience in the field of natural design and biological research make me a valuable designer for fashion brands. Because I am looking for a designer position.

Where and how can our readers see a glimpse of your work before the FUTURE FORUM?

You can visit my collection Why Colours Matter online on my website at annemariesust.com or on IG @why.colours.matter to stay up to date. Feel free to email me as well!

I will also be exhibiting pieces of clothing and samples at the Bio Art Laboratorium at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) from 22th of October to 30th of October 2022.

Thank you, Anne-Marie, for the interview. We look forward to meeting to meeting you at the FUTURE FORUM in October!