Interview with Gabriel Cetrez

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Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Gabriel Cetrez (GC) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Gabriel Cetrez by clicking here.

Interview with Gabriel Cetrez at Wednesday 4th of May 2016
Gabriel Cetrez
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
GC: The background started in my childhood when I was 2 - 3 years old, growing up in Sweden, I was always interested to sketch and paint, persons and things that I have seen, in order to stay creative. For me it was easy to enhance this progression and to stay in the controversial art scene, since I continued it. In the pre-school, I overdone it by drawing teachers I didn´t liked, in a facetious and sarkastic way, since I knew they could not take it badly. They even liked what they have seen. Later when I moved to Germany my interest changed mainly into fashion by sketching clothes and garments, instead persons, since I forgot about the past and always looked forward to things that I could benefit with my talent. Otherwise its wasted time. Its agreeing with the fact that what you experience or what you see as free and exciting is also connected to a creative process. But there's a very different kind of controversial going on in the fashion scene than in the art scene. Running a business in fashion is very challenging, complicated and commercial, rather than the artist, who has the so called artistic freedom, which is neither bounded nor focused on the success of his work in order to make a living. Fashion always meets art, like music that I choosed for my shows among the make-up artist, hairstylist for each model and the artistic directors for the runway.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
GC: CEDRESS is a ready-to-wear label, founded 2011 by Gabriel Cetrez. In the context of high fashion the main aim is devoted to prét-a-porter collections, that include womenswear and menswear which are wearable and afforable to customers for any occasions.

FS: What is "design" for you?
GC: Creativity.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
GC: Both menswear and womenswear. Although Mens fashion is more complicated than womens. It's also very challenging. It's about self reflection and the idea of the mirror being perceived by other women and men, the challenge of gender issues. It's something I keep trying and investigating also with the idea of a unisex collection, which is really interesting to see that theres no gender equality. For me it was very clear it could not evolve unless it was given more freedom - unless it looked at what women or men want now. Not communicating in the same way automatically meant freedom - taking inspiration from different environments but keeping the inspirations apart of what others are designing. I don’t want to control things totally. I like to control things only up to a point, which I see as my responsibility. Our world is constantly moving and rolling. I stepped over that when I scaled up. I like being creative in collaboration with other people. That creative process is very technical, so you don’t have much dialogue with people, which is something I dont like at all. The people I work with on a exhibition or show are essential to me, since we are in a constant dialogue either its with my models I work with or, the client or the press. You work with the body and with your brain.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
GC: Its the mens suit since I like to implement different patterns wheter they are checked, dots, stripes or playful prints. Today there are way too much standard suits in unicolors, without special prints and patterns - which is boring to me. In most cases, you see business-mens or office-workers, every looks the same with black suits and white shirts. Like penguins. And the streetwear of the young-generation today, is inspired by pseudo-professional hip-hoppers. Menswear is not in the same level as womenswear and never has been. Therefore I prefer to create for women. I think that women are more intelligent and have a better definition of style , but that's why mens have to be stronger. I wish it was where women’s fashion is, a new identity for men in the same way they do for women. Not that men’s fashion be subject to the same seasonal upheaval, but that it break out of rigid adherence to the standard sartorial strata of sweater, pants, overcoat, underwear. Men’s wardrobes are ferociously pigeonholed. In this case I like the idea to create unisex collections, as the mens shirt which also can be a blouse to a women, so the question is not anymore about gender equality and no dresscode is needed.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
GC: At the SS15 season, I sketched an illustration bicolor bodycon dress for the Just Cavalli SS15 collection.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
GC: Lace, Chiffon and silk such as crepe de chin implemented with multicolor patterns.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
GC: Mostly in the mornings, since at the evening the energy is lost due that the day is over. I believe in empty energy, for example when I get bored by an audience or daily routine, I have to escape to a travel, to find new ideas and inspiration. Thats why I also change workspaces and rooms in order to charge new spirit. Theres nothing more worst than the stagnancy, which is the most contra to creativity.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
GC: I´m pretty perfectionist in this case, since I focus on every single detail for a pattern from my collections, otherwise I get unsatisfied - which is a good exercise in pursuance to push yourself.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
GC: Energy. But this should not concern others of course.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
GC: I dont like that word of emotions, since the minute you speak about emotions things get misunderstand as too sensitive. Because when you are too much of emotions, other competitors will benefit from your uncontrolled emotion. Its like the self-pity peoples, who bore other with their problems. Which I avoid due to the responsibility I have to the fashion community. Its difficult to find a balance, one should not let feelings overcome to a design realization. When my designs are realized, it shows off in my dresses and the entire collections. I see the results and the feedback from others. I like the level of concentration and minimalism. Fashion is an environment that always embraces individuality and newness, so in that sense one have to be disciplined, to shut up and let other show off emotions. Im not an antenna, who captures informations and sends uncontrolled signals to others.

FS: What makes a design successful?
GC: Well, if its unique and never seen before of course. Something that is playful and artfully implemented. It should be a realistic idea that matches the spirit of the present time. Many collections I see from other designers are very inspired by the past or future, which is something that always has been in history of fashion. The history of fashion is the history of longing. Nobody is born stylish. Everybody wants to be a little memorable, and some would like to be somebody else, or more like the self we see in the better part of our minds. It’s about one hundred years since fashion took its place alongside literature, painting and music as a way to look for the social essence of one’s era. But a given, poetical reality like that of the weather, or the light peculiar to a certain hour of the day.’ So I tried to recall the passage, with the origin source, that has started with the nature before anything else

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
GC: I think its important to focus also more on sustainable fashion design, with minimal textile waste. About the fashion industry’s negative environmental impacts and the sustainable fashion design techniques, zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction that can combat this.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
GC: Im not a projectionist, but I think people consume much faster today, so the question is how do you enjoy something that’s constantly shifting from one point to another? And young designers are judged so quickly. They should be given time to grow, because they need people seriously support what we are doing.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
GC: The Fall Winter 2015 season in january at Berlin fashion trade fair and the spring summer 2016 season fashion show in kiev. The exhibition for the Fall Winter 2016 Season was in Berlin again and the next summer 2017 season I want to take place ieither in London or italy.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
GC: Its not that I love to use much of nature prints, but I like everything that is brought from it since its natural instead unrealistic. In the beginning of my first collection I started with flowers, which included mainly orchids that reflects the purist of feminine fashion. Than I captured a lot with my camera and implemented it into my collections as patterns. But an inspiration comes at a random time, from nowhere, something that cant be captured by a purpose. It happens by coincidence. Also being updated by reading related books or magazines can observe a kind of seeing the trends. I am somebody who focuses on a dialogue between generations - that's the drive of my work. I believe the young generation take the power, they'll take over at one point but the older generation they'll push it away only because of the fear. I'm the opposite, I'm always curious.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
GC: The characteristics of my style and designs are awlays modern and in the present time. I like fashion that is is wearable to any occasion, rather than a special haute couture costume that never finds the streetwear. But at the same time I don’t judge others style, like to suggest that the woman should be like this or that and that they stand like this. I want her to be inspired by a look, or by a type of look, or by another woman with that look, and not by an collection of 40 looks that are beautiful together. I think the biggest luxury today is freedom of choice. When a woman sees one piece in one way and then sees it again in a different way, she can see different possibilities. A minimalstic style can show in a way that you think its perhaps boring but at the same time can get a modern trend.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
GC: I live in Germany, but was born in Sweden. My cultural heritage is Aramean. But one should not make an political drama about the heritage, since I dont analyse the history of the past, neither I was involved on that time nor I can give any speculations about things that I haven´t seen. In this case I´m pretty much cultivated than the culture itself. Here I have to quote " Heritage to me, is where I want to be and where I feel free. " I´m not bounded to an specific place. Regarding the second question, about the pros and cons of designing in my country of Germany was that we long time had no established fashion council yet, allthough other countries like Italy, France do have councils for fashion since long time allready. Now luckily this has changed and a council has been created, which supports German fashion design and emerging designers, where I would like to participate as mentee.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
GC: Its important to have a designer that has both talent on designing and sketching but also the experience in the business of fashion, to analyse the market of supply and demand, on which he can create new trends sucessfully.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
GC: The first process is the sketch by paper and later illustrated by CAD software. I have my specification sheets including all details such as size measurments, fabric, trims, patterns etc. and I work with my self created tech pack that I send to my technical designers and tailors to produce the suit or dress finally.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
GC: My bicolor plaid suit on which I wear one collarless shirt with 2 large necklaces including gold crosses and rings and a stature of a city, which I visited the last time. I dont like to wear ties on a suit, therefore I wear many different necklaces instead.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
GC: I have a schedule every day that begins at the morning and runs through the end of the day, and every hour needs to be filled. First what I need to do when I wake up, is to have breakfast of protein cereals which never includes any sugar or bread or hot drinks like coffee or tea, only sugarfree soda-drinks and water. Nothing else. Also I dont eat sweets, chocolate or candys since this seems like plastic to me, something I cant eat and dont touch. Afterwards for example, from 09am to 14.30pm, it´s mainly the menswear collection, fulfillment of orders and customer service and much of work on the marketing. Later I have dinner which is often frozen foods with vegetables. From 15.30 to 20.00pm it's working on the womenswear collection among the product analysis and maintenance and the communication by email traffic with my manufacture partners. Everything is timed - the whole week incuding weekends. If there's a delay in a project, the whole day is "fucked up", since I dont have time to start from scratch again. You have no incubation time for daydreaming or ideas that came from nowhere. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, let's skip it away for a few days and think about it later, this is something I always avoid, since it kills the inspiration. So I capture it and directly implement it on all the collections. You have to prank yourself in order to imagine it as a habit.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
GC: In my case I began with the age of 20 only, nowadays it has been since 7 years. It took me a lot of energy and exhausting patience, that not everybody can bear with, since you run a business and at the same time need to be creative, which needs a lot of perseverance which can be a nightmare for a young person and lot of stress. So the suggestion that I would give to emerging designers, is to start working in an established fashion house rather than being self taught independent. They will need to find their own experience and personality. Therefore it is much easier and less stressful to work as an employee without taking the risk of an independent who often works more than only 8 hours.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
GC: You will have a great deal of responsibility and important business decisions will face you each and every day. The buck stops at you and the business should always be at the forefront of your mind, not just an afterthought, which makes it hard to be creative in designing and at same time managing the business. This is a disadvantage for many other designers or creative directors since they spend too much time on finding inspiration for their work rather than realise their project.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
GC: This is a question that is even against the physics. Theres no golden rule in fashion, otherwise everybody would be an projectionist and see the trends ahead. You have to stand out from the mass and do things different, by innovative ideas in order to be creative and unique.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
GC: The heritage of sketching the designs by paper. This shows of the talent.- If you dont have it, forget about it.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
GC: I have my moodboard and capture every idea that could be important for my collection by sketches and illistrations and CAD specification. Later it will be realized by researching on fabrics and patterns.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
GC: To me its a full time job even on weekends, so theres no way out, I have to take the risk and I like it, since everyday is something different.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
GC: It is done in three weeks, maximum five. Its very important, gathering research — mood boards, books etc. Later I choose things they feel are worth developing. The moment I think this is an interesting thing to try, things go very fast, since I want it to be made in the present instead for future. I dont like to skip projects, otherwise my interest changes to other ideas.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
GC: I often get asked on when my next fashion show will be and which kind of models I will hire. This is a question I dont like, since I´m not an gossip reporter who provides dangerous half-knowledge. I am flexible to decide where or with who. I like the results to speak for themself. And sometimes it´s better to answere questions that you have asked yourself.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
GC: Apart from that you have a shedule of 365 days per year where you run a business which is allready more than chalenging, I think the most important job experience was to see how I could manage to conduct a fashion show with a team of casting directors, hair stylists, make-up artists, on which I demonstrate what kind of tonal palette I wanted for the look of my models. The creative directors on which I had been in a constant dialogue to coordinate every single details in the right place and order, for the stage building. The DJ´s on set who mixed the music for the runway, in the genre that I prefered. At the same time you need to communicate with the press members and prepare the invitations. In addition, a tailor and seamstress needs to be hired since a dress may not fit and needs quickly a cut or alteration. Altogether it´s time a consuming effort which is also very expensive, for a show that is always less than 15 minutes only.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
GC: Future is a strange word, since the minute you plan for the future, it happens the opposite, anyway. I only like the idea of the future in order to have a positive hope about it. But I dont force it as an expectation, since I´m more interested in what’s going on and what is happening right now, instead what has been or would be. And for the question on what is next for me: I look forward to collaborate with other designers and fashion brands as well, including to exhibit in trade shows among the fall/winter and spring/summer seasons.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
GC: For the next spring summer 2017 season a new womens accessoires line will be enhanced, which includes sunglasses, watches and luxury clutches.

FS: How can people contact you?
GC: by e-mail to

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
GC: One should always challenge yourself in order to reach your next goal. This is an extremely exciting and energizing situation to be in. You should always focus on the work and not get distracted. Theres nothing more worst than the stagnancy. The creative work is a never ending dialogue which makes it impossible to waste time. I think if I had more time, I would reject more things, and bring other ideas or concepts in. But that’s also not necessarily better. Sometimes you can work things to death when you take too much time.

FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

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