For Kadda Diedrich, better known as Ethel Vaughn, and Friederike Hantel, collaborations are all about fun. After the launch of their first capsule fashion collection last year, called Wide Awake, the duo has dropped a few new pieces this winter, including some gloves, beanies, masks, hoodies and more. Every piece of their collection has been hand-made in St. Pauli. “After finishing the first collection and realizing the whole project, we took a little rest, but we both knew we would still be on fire to create more. It was so much fun and we didn’t have any limitations”, Kadda and Friederike tell C24, “In the meantime we dropped some samples and also fun accessories. We played with new ideas, developed and tested new fabrics by recycling our first edition and adding some new stuff.” Whatever way you look at it, you can definitely see how much fun the duo had when designing this collection.
Founded by street and sportswear fashion designer Kadda Diedrich in 2010, the Hamburg based label Ethel Vaughn is know for its bold and colorful looks, always on the edge of contemporary and avant-garde. Under the name of the label, Kadda has collaborated with a diverse range of international artists and graphic designers and worked for exciting clients from the music and art industry, like Cyberpunk 007. With an array of strong colors and playful patterns, the label explores late 80s to early 90s fashion and hip-hop culture by mixing innovative shapes with an urban avant-garde attitude.
While she has already made a name in the fashion world, especially with BIMBA Y LOLA’s last christmas collection “Bimbaders”, Friederike comes more from an illustrative and artistic background. The visual artist predominantly works for clients from the cultural sector, like musicians, cultural institutes, publishers, magazines and more, including the Bavarian State Opera, bauhaus magazine, das wetter, The New York Times, Slanted and Wired.
It was during time Friederike moved to Hamburg in 2013, when she first got introduced to Kadda’s work. “I was highly impressed, but to shy to contact her”, she admits. When Kadda commented on a post of one of her illustrations three years later, she worked up all the courage to get in touch with her – and the rest is basically history. When working on Wide Awake, Friederike took over the illustrations and graphical style of the collection, while Kadda was responsible for the fashion design and production. With Wide Awake, the duo has created a whole visual feast around the collection, full of fantasy, spirituality and pop. “From digital to analog and back: a wild ride!”, Kadda tosses in.
“It was a looooong journey! We started from one point – and ended up somewhere else. The project took almost three years, so it was important to me to create something meaningful, something I want to spend time and energy in”, Friederike tells us, “Somehow, it has also become a reflection of all the topics that were in my mind during that time. I traveled to India several times, started to practice yoga and meditation, trying to reconnect to myself and to slow down. All of that had some influence on the work.” As the collaboration took more and more time than originally planned, Friederike decided to turn it into her master’s graduation project.
Together with Artur Neufeld, Kadda and Friederike designed an impressive website, which sends you on a wild journey through colorful and trippy galaxies. The website also includes meditation section, created with the help of Friederike’s master, Sai Cholleti, in Rishikesh. “I am very lucky to have a teacher who helps me to understand and experience spirituality and energy. All in all it helping me to let go and to take life easier”, Friederike explains.
Apart from that, the duo has collaborated with many different artists on this project, among them Darius Ou who designed the logo, 3D and CGI artists Obby & Japparii and sound designer Julian Jaschke. (Find full list of Credits here!) “I am still so super grateful to everybody who put their talent, time and energy into the project! As a team, you bring more special skills, more talent and more ideas and energy to the table, in addition to that you reach a higher visibility and range”, Friederike states, “And because my skills as an artist are also limited, I really needed help to bring my vision alive.” At the moment, the duo is already planning the next series, “with new motives, new vibes, new aesthetics!”, they reveal, full of excitement.
Both artists would describe collaboration as an essential part of their practice. “In order to keep growing and to explore new ideas, we have to practice flexibility and ingenuity, to bring out the best of the project! It’s really important not to get stuck in your own mindset all the time”, Kadda and Friederike state, “During this collaboration, we were in the same page from the start. It was just great to plan and create together. It was important for us to stay open, to trust each other – and most importantly to communicate openly. Due to our different approaches and working processes, this collaboration has definitely broadened our horizons.”