The bearable absurdity of being

Transit 2017, the 12th edition of the annual AMFI graduation event, showcased last Friday at The World Fashion Centre a wide variety of designs and installations – the graduation work of 150 Designers, Branders and Managers. We met with our talented emerging designer, Cecilia Frieben, to talk about her graduation project, some AMFI memories and her next professional aims.


Interview by Roy Doron, 2nd year – Int. Fashion & Branding. Photography by Vanessa Huss. Modeled by Adrienne Mönkediek.


Tell us a bit about your graduation work. How did you develop this concept?

“My goal with my graduation project was to mingle the conceptual with the commercial and try to build a bridge to do so. The concept is inspired by the absurdity of our Zeitgeist, represented in the news – more specifically their headlines. Originally inspired by a Dadaist who only used newspaper in her collage work, I started collecting serious newspapers over weeks. Soon I realized that the bigger a headline, the less relevant the content. Isn’t this odd?! As fashion nowadays is a platform offering the freedom to make a statement also in a light and humorous way, I decided this is what I’d like to do. I collected more than 200 headlines and made a compilation of 19 different ones. A simple shirtdress with my handwriting in the details became the base of my collection. The concept resulted in 20 dresses that reveal the daily absurdity around us which we mostly do not recognize anymore.  This is my dearest project and I cannot let go off it yet because I can continue as long as newspapers feed me those absurd headlines.”


A real headline of a serious newspaper approached in a very light and humorous way.

A real headline of a serious newspaper approached in a very light and humorous way.


Looking back at your beginning at AMFI. In which ways have you grown since?

“In the beginning we were told so many times to grow a thick skin, and today I’m much more confident on a professional base, but also personally. My opinions became stronger and I stand behind what I do and say. While at AMFI I went through many ups and downs, but that helped me to further learn about myself. I can surely say I leave this school as 100% Cecilia Frieben and I think this is the most important thing.”


In what direction did you develop as a fashion professional?                                 

“I made a conscious decision to orientate myself on the rather commercial side of the industry. People tend to confuse the term commercial with boring, which I strongly disagree with. That is also what I tried to show with my graduation project. During the flexible program I did the Denim minor, iNDiViDUALS and an internship at a ready-to-wear brand in Paris. All three semesters made me realize the importance of the different disciplines in the industry and I grew not only as a designer, but as a team member. This link was important for my own understanding of the industry as a fashion professional.”


'The bearable absurdity of being' by Cecilia Frieben.

‘The bearable absurdity of being’ collection.


What reactions did you get at Transit?

“I was very pleased to find only few of my business cards left on the table eventually. Transit was a nice opportunity to present my work one more time. I decided to present it only in form of an installation because I wanted to present my collection in a way that people could take their own time to try and ‘read’ through my collection.”


What is your last impression of AMFI?

“I leave AMFI with a positive feeling. I’m glad I got the chance to realize my graduation project in a different way. I really feel very supported and pushed.  I feel prepared to work and I’m not scared to leave this place. I met some very special people at AMFI, who I will miss a lot now that we go and spread all over the world again.”


And now what? What is your next aim?

“I’m very eager to start right away and luckily with Transit some nice opportunities opened up, which I need to further explore and maybe they become something great. But generally speaking being part of an ambitious, creative and fun team is pretty much what I’m aiming for at the moment. I see myself working for a brand to build experience and of course pay my bills, but in some far future I could also imagine myself doing my own thing.”

Designer graduate Cecilia Frieben: "I really feel very supported and pushed by AMFI. I'm ready to start working and I’m not scared to leave school."

Designer graduate Cecilia Frieben: “I really feel very supported and pushed by AMFI. I’m ready to start working and I’m not scared to leave school.”


You can see photos of AMFI’s graduation event Fashion Transit here!


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