By Olivia Louden

The mother-daughter duo of Galina Plakinger and Svetlana Ziggel combine innovation with tradition with their brand Plakinger. Galina’s experience as a tailor in the former Soviet Union led to an interest in fashion, and the handmade, customizable feel of luxury runs strong in their line today. I was able to ask them a few questions about their widespread business and what it’s like to work as a team, and they answered the same way they design: together.

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 What can you tell about your lives in the former Soviet Union? How has the tailoring work done there affected your work now?

Galina Plakinger:

My family lived in various places in the former Soviet Union from Eastern Vladivostok to Carpathian mountains, lastly on Crimea. Even there, where we had all kinds of great fresh food and the sea, live meant shortage of numerous crucial things, especially in regards to fashion. This was one of the reasons why I pursued an education in tailoring and design as I was very interested in the matter. It was to the stylistic benefit of my whole family.

Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

When and why did you decide to come to Germany?

Svetlana Ziggel:

My grand father`s family originally comes from Austria but was deported to the Soviet Union after the second world war. My family decided to return to Germany in the early 90s, it was a turbulent and unstable time in all parts of the former Soviet Union. They had to start again from nothing and learning a new language was the easiest part. Because amongst other obstacles none of my parents school university degrees were acknowledged.

 Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

How did you come to have a stronghold in Asian marketplaces? What made that a good place for Plakinger?

Svetlana Ziggel:

Fashion has become a very fast business, this is particularly true in Asia, where things move even faster than in other parts of the world. What we do at PLAKINGER with our emphasis on long-lasting master pieces is difficult to convey so far from our home base. Therefore, we are shipping directly to our numerous clients in Hong Kong, Singapore or Australia and have ceased to build-up local retail outlets.This is unfortunate as we had a lot of positive and supportive publicity in China and India.

 Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

What is it like being a mother/daughter design team?

Galina Plakinger:

It has a lot of Yin and Yang elements… It is mainly easy as we know each other perfectly, our communication is fast and we support each other without any questions or doubts. But also as nearly all family relationships might be challenging from time to time, we can not take some time off and walk away from work when certain things bother us. So we have to find a compromise even in tough and stressful work related situations. But overall, it provides us with strength and lots of advantages being a mother and daughter duo running a joint fashion business.

 Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

What goes into creating mother and daughter versions of each piece?

Svetlana Ziggel:

We sit down or have a Facetime to discuss our ideas from different perspectives: My mother is very focused on maintaining key elements of existing bestsellers and comfort the interests of our existing customers while, I try to introduce new and innovative ideas. Our best products are the blend of these two sides. The pieces we discussed most controversially are surprisingly the most popular: like our white silk organza blouse with a lot of details which make it distinct from many other blouses but caused us a lot of headache, or the striped, strapless jacquard dress were we for a long time discussed the fabrics as it is an innovative blend of synthetics. We completely sold all of these striped jacquard fabrics and had to even reorder 2 times.

Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

Tell me about the customization Plakinger offers.

Galina Plakinger:

Offering customisation goes back to our heritage of bespoke tailoring and is therefore important to our clients. We believe that a customer should get the product they want, with the ideal length, cut, fabric, embellishment etc. When we started selling online we offered some garments in different colours, linings or length. Clients loved it,  as it was catering to their individual preferences! This is very rewarding for us and important to build longer-term relationships with them. To give you an example: We sold a blouse to an Australian client made from a partially see through silk organza. When she received it, she asked whether we could line it so she would be able to wear it in the office too and of course we did. Some time later we made another partially customised pieces for this customer. It is a pleasure to make the clients happy, even if it is at the other end of the world in Australia.

Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

What does “luxury” mean to you?

Galina Plakinger:

Having time. Time to work, time to focus on important questions, on the right strategies and of course, most importantly time to spend with our families and most beloved ones. In fashion luxury means to us having a unique and timeless style, with a wardrobe selection of garments which is connected to life events and not current trends.

Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

What can you tell me about SS18?

Svetlana Ziggel:

We are working on the PLAKINGER Spring Summer 2018 collection now. As we are currently not targeting any wholesale distribution we decided to present the collection directly once we start selling the garments. Otherwise the surprise effect for our clients would wear off in the meantime.

Model agency: Model Union submissions magazine, submission fashion magazine, online fashion magazine, fashion magazine, fashion magazines, jute magazine, jute fashion magazine, style, fashion, editorial, model, New York, NYC, New York Magazine, NYC fashion magazine, New York fashion magazine, Krumbach, Germany, Plakinger, Olivia Louden, designer, Svetlana Ziggel, Galina Plakinger

Finally, where are your pieces available?

Svetlana Ziggel:

We sell online directly to customers and through our online distribution partners such as Runway2Street. We also sell in our two showrooms in Germany. Sales in Germany picked up strongly in the last two years, so that focus on this market with private sales or private presentations. It is a great opportunity as we can do here and we get so much lovely feedback from our beautiful customers who are already wearing PLAKINGER.

photographer: Bichen Xu

hair: Yue Hu

makeup: Hui Shui and Kai Kai

models: Alexandra Arboleda, Lin Jin Wei and Wang Yi

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