Having studied in 3 very different fashion schools (CSM, Royal Academy of Antwerp and Polimoda), he’s extremely opinionated about fashion education, although he acknowledges picking up a thing or two. All academicism aside, he was introduced to different, less privileged realities which –he claims – are his main source of inspiration nowadays.
Ritter was born and raised in Austria. When asked how his upbringing has influenced him as a designer, it was surprising to hear that having grown in such a conservative setting actually stimulated his fantasizing. He aspired to create worlds of his own.
His brand was born in 2019 and has kicked off violently fast. When I ask him what has changed for him as a person and as a designer, he tells me his list of collaborations has expanded dramatically. The word of the century: collaboration.
That’s not the only way in which Ritter caters to contemporary urges. He’s also completely engaged in sustainability. Yes, that’s a widespread tendency in design, but what makes his way of doing it so heartfelt is his motive. He doesn’t do it so as to be trendy. He does it because he grew up in a rural setting, where sustainable practices were not but the way of doing things. Sounds bucolic. Looks bucolic.
While the look he brings forth certainly is praising and refined, he seems to find a perfect balance with a more avant-garde and intellectualized aesthetic, by operating familiar sartorial mechanisms in irreverent and alluringly disturbing figures. Although he articulates that deliberately, he tries not to suppress his intuitive side.
Christoph Ritter intelligently molds patterns that carry a scent of wearable art, but prove themselves to be ergonomic at the very same time. Obvious beauty harmonically uncharacterized by a delicious decadence.
“I always search for an element of MINDFUCK in whatever I make” –says Ritter.
Sculptural, Architectural pieces that might sometimes even look origami-assembled brought me to wonder if those overlaps had been done voluntarily. I then understood I was talking to a designer who knows poignantly what he’s doing. He knows all creative areas nurture themselves from the same values. Touché!
With a lot of engagement to LGBTQIA+ and other identity minorities, I was glad to hear what pisses Ritter off the most is whatever form of shaming.
Text by Pedro Milanezi
Royal Academy of Antwerp, Polimoda, Central Saint Martins