A lover of art and culture, Janine Grubenmann grew up in the East of Switzerland. Growing up, Grubenmann loved to draw people, this evolved to the dresses that were on the body. She watches how people dress in the street, what they are doing with their clothes and how they are being perceived.

After training as a building designer, Grubenmann decided to study at the Swiss Textile College in Zurich. Her label J.Grubenmann launched in 2016 as a one-woman-band, she made three collections and took her designs in a suitcase to boutiques. Now stocked in two retailers in Switzerland, Grubenmann is keen to gain a few international stockists. “Step by step, slow but steady.”

Using only sustainable fabrics, European companies hold absolute transparency in high regard. The local manufacturers are family owned and operated and therefore work on good terms. “Our designs stand for elegance and confident femininity,” Grubenmann said. “The dresses are a valuable every day and special day companion, not cheap trash. I gave way to quality instead of sensitising mass.” Grubenmann focuses on traditional tailoring in her studio, so she can respond to different requirements. She loves to experiment with new materials, for example, in 2017 there was an exhibition where she created a long dress made from road construction textiles. Creating more functional collections, Grubenmann said she finds the design process the most beautiful part. Producing some pieces herself, Grubenmann also has support from a manufacturer in Switzerland and Europe. Her designs convey timeless elegance coupled with sustainable components and always tell a story. “One carries the design rather proudly and the appreciation rises, because still is, less is more.”

For her collection at Vancouver Fashion Week in March, at first, Grubenmann didn’t know what to do with the design. “In the end, I fell in love with it. It has many hidden folds, is brute, but very sensitive if you discover the opening on the back. The second piece is a skirt and top with a silk screen print, the structure is powerful and made of folds and cuboids.” Showing at Vancouver was a great success for Grubenmann who said it was a great audience and an honour to be a part of.