The whimsical and blossomy world of Florentina Leitner was etched together in 2021, and has been a playful newcomer in the international Fashion arena. Abundant in photogenic and editorial-esque pieces, her semi-couture collections have gripped hearts on social media. The collections are feminine, but also harness a rarity that helps to define a more creative womanly aesthetic in 2023. GLITCH had the pleasure of conversing with the Austrian designer, and finding out more about how her world of daisies and daffodils has grown together over the penultimate years.
Leitner completed her Masters at the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp, specializing in the school of Fashion. During her studies she used her phone, and the blank canvas of social media, to begin sharing her creations, commenting how it was her Instagram that quite quickly became her professional portfolio. The first wholesale order from her masters collection gave her the assertive nudge to start handling her brand more seriously, and the business model she was forging began to expand.
An intrinsic creator, with an alliance to the fantastical and imagined, Leitner tells GLITCH of her love for “new worlds”. With an extended interest in movies, and the immersion of film, Leitner’s passion lay in the storytelling she saw transpiring through the arts, and adores its ability to transport you to somewhere else – “ I am now narrating stories with my clothes, and I simply love it”. For their SS24 collection, the brand worked on silhouettes inspired by the 1975 Australian Mystery Film, “Picnic on Hanging Rock”, but also added their own modern ideas that came from rewatching this dated narrative.
Florentina Leitner tells GLITCH how she is drawn to characters when she designs, sketching the costumes of protagonists and female heroines, but also of fictitious leading ladies. Letiner enthusiastically lists to GLITCH four of the women who cobble together to form her eclectic inspiration; Cinderella, Joan of Arc,The Suspiria Girls, and Witches – general witches. She also credits Miuccia Prada as one of her biggest fashion icons, whose disparate creativity under Prada and Miu Miu is something Leitner finds admirable.
“Florentina Leitner is very much a world of fusion in which fairytale nostalgia meets cool cybergirls”
When asked whether she thinks fashion should be taken seriously, Leitner gave a nuanced but summative answer. She explained how her brand is all about dressing up, and how she wants the wearers of her clothes to enjoy themselves. She insists that overthinking can too often block creativity.
“Fashion and the fashion industry is about selling a dream, a dream that society wants to be part of”
At the same time, Leitner does understand the difficulties of the industry, and the environmental and social responsibilities that come with being part of it. She decided to channel her sustainable integrity into the quality of her products, intending to create durable pieces that will survive generations and trend cycles. The brand also works in a dual capacity, sometimes designing pieces and then sourcing recycled and old fabrics, and otherwise purchasing deadstock fabric and designing inspired by the textures in front of them. Although not averse to technology and AI, Leitner insists she prefers to create her prints by hand – “but never say never!”. Leitner told GLITCH how she has a thirst for discovering new art forms, new creators and new expressions. Whilst the fashion industry is plagued by saturation and overconsumption, she believes that if we foster fresh and new innovators we will be more readily able to confront environmental issues whilst also diversifying the space. Pushing money into mass production helps no one.
“I initially joined the fashion industry because I liked its structure. The beautiful clothes, that were showcased on beautiful models, in beautiful locations, and with dreamworld set designs, there was certainly a magical allure.”
Despite admitting that she grew up loving the opulent beauty of the fashion industry, Leitner admits that nowadays the pace of the fashion world has perhaps become too stressful. With multiple seasons, and pre-seasons, she comments how it has put a lot of unmanageable pressure on young designers. She tells GLITCH how preferably she would strip it back, reorganizing the industry into its traditional winter and summer season only.
“I am learning new things everyday. I am like a sponge soaking up all the advice I can get”.
Florentina Leitner has just delivered their first collection to South Korea, to a store named Aekuver in Seoul, thus marking their first step into a new market. Having already dressed some K-pop idols such as CL and Newjeans, Leitner harbors a confidence that her pieces will be a hit amongst the Korean public. Back in Europe, the team are awaiting their newest collection launch at Paris Fashion Week SS24 at the end of September. With only a handful of collections under their belt, but rich in untapped ideas , and an eye for daringly feminine aestheticism, GLITCH are excited to track Florentina’s fashion debut. As she stitches the costumes of her cinematic dreams, we are eagerly awaiting the next floral scene in the Florentina Leitner journey.
Written by Hebe Street from GLITCH Magazine