Words by Ali George Hinkins©
Whilst discussing the values that
Konundrum® is built on, Kosfeld and Langhammer - the respective owners of the
brand - recollect the centuries-old Heraclitus saying, 'Change is the only true
constant in life'. Embracing this, Konundrum® is dedicated to providing
adaptable clothing solutions using modular systems in an ever-changing world
that can often be unpredictable.
To shape a more sustainable future for the
fashion industry and the environment and ecosystems at its mercy, we must
innovate beyond our current threshold. Alongside concepts like circularity and
initiatives like try-on technology that encourage us to extend the lifetime of
garments, modular design is resuming in our consciousness. Modular clothing
refers to 'clothing items that have detachable pieces so that one can easily
alter the clothing item to suit changing needs and tastes over time.'
In 2022, almost 90 years later, modular
systems of clothing retain the same core functionalities as when the concept
was first introduced by Berthe Holley, and their purpose remains the same: to
equip the wearer for the complexities of modern, ever-changing life. Taking
this into account, the duo launched Konundrum to provide a better alternative
for modern-age consumers that considers their basic needs in terms of
aesthetics and functionality.
Tackling the prior issues head-on,
Konundrum® was founded in Germany in 2020 and is commandeered by Central Saint
Martins graduate Jan-Philipp Kosfeld and Annika Langhammer and serves as an
outlet for exploring innovative clothing concepts. Beyond that, its future
possibilities are far-reaching and go beyond the label's current position; for
example, collaborating with those who seek to utilise the platform to combine
modularity and their individual design nuances.
The pair acknowledged that modern clothing
rarely accounts for the change in needs and aesthetics that wearers face in
their day-to-day living, such as sudden weather changes or contextual use.
Dubbed the 'future of outerwear', the concept of Konundrum® is simple: a
modular brand that grants freedom and exploration to the customer who can
choose to purchase an 'edition' (a pre-built jacket) or build their own using
the new configurator tool. It allows individuals to select a core (body of the
jacket) and explore the various design choices on offer.
To identify with the industry they wanted
to participate in, they had to do so in a way that went beyond the pre-existing
structures they sought to change. The freedom of starting Konundrum® permitted them time and space to be creative
without adhering to the unsustainable fashion calendar. In the process, it
encourages people to adopt a slower lifestyle, particularly regarding their
clothing consumption. In the industry, this is considered an atypical way to go
about business, but Konundrum® isn't here to do things conventionally, explaining
that 'For a long time, we felt overwhelmed by the unhealthy speed of the
fashion industry driven by commercialised trends and overconsumption.'
As we have iterated previously, modularity
is at the forefront of its design process. The brand introduces the
configurator tool, a democratic system of design that allows prospective buyers
to customise their garments depending on their functional and aesthetic needs.
Integrating the configurator tool gives the customer more say in the creation
process of their garment system by granting them a greater level of freedom
where bespoke design choices are made. Instead of dictating the customer's
decisions, the platform provides a greater sense of individual expression by
offering the co-creation of clothing to suit the individual's needs. As the
concept evolves, there will be greater freedom in choosing colour, materials
and details that comprise the end product, which prevents mindless
trend-hopping that encourages unnecessary consumption.
Throughout the range, each piece has been
constructed using technical cotton made in Switzerland that guarantees a dense,
all-weather fabric with a natural feel and the functionalities that come
alongside that, such as rainproof, absolute windproofing and breathability. Due
to the high-density weave of the material, the jackets are naturally
water-repellent, which, when coupled with a PFC-free DWR treatment, equals a
bulletproof exterior that could rival any outerwear style made using a
synthetic fabric such as nylon or polyester. To add to that, a consideration
factor for the use of organic cotton was to avoid the release of toxins and
microplastics that are released when washing garments made from man-made
fibres. Once again, Konundrum® demonstrates that going against the grain and
doing things a little differently isn't a bad thing; remember, change is to be
Modularity is a crucial part of the overall
functionality of a garment, yet how many brands occupying this space can you
name that successfully marry the two? I guarantee you only need one hand to
The Configurator tool is available to use
now on Konundrum®'s online store alongside pre-selected 'Editions'.