Design is not just a profession, it’s a way of life. Whether it’s on the runway, backstage, on the go or online, these designers both live and love what they do

Fashion Designer

Susanne Bisovsky’s salon is like a secret garden. But the blossoms here come in bouquets of crocheted flowers, painted roses on antique tins, and, of course, the exquisite, floral printed garments that are Bisovsky’s trademark. In fact, literally every inch of the space is occupied by something pleasing to the eye.

But despite the volume, there is a sense of order that evades any potential chaos. While the world-renowned designer likes to surround herself with vintage items, it’s important that they are part of something larger.

“A beautiful thing on its own doesn’t mean much, rather, it should be part of a series,” she said. “One could live in a totally stark space and create minimal designs, but that’s not me. I’m fascinated by patterns, colors. There can never be too many – the more, the better.”

We couldn’t help but notice the one modern device Bisovsky allows herself – a small, outdated Nokia phone, used only to make calls and check the time. Even though her profession is a visual one, she feels no need to take photos. So where does she store her inspiration? “In my head and my gut,” she said. “I prefer to leave it to memory, so that I’m not trying to recreate something precisely, one-to-one.”

It’s this sense of nostalgia that informs Bisovsky’s timeless designs, which echo a range of eras and cultures. In this sense, she finds Vienna the perfect base for her work. Her aesthetic comes from “a romantic vision of a time that no longer exists.” Bisovsky’s ideal girl is the rosy-cheeked Wiener Mädel, who exudes a certain innocence and views the world wide-eyed, just arriving at the big city. Even though the hardworking designer was dressed in a sensible work smock, hair whimsically bundled up in a scarf, her unmade-up complexion evoked a sense of this guileless girl.

“Nowadays we just consume one impression after the other with a kind of ‘been there, seen that’ attitude,” she said. “But there’s a whole other world behind all this virtual nonsense.”

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Janima Nam is a freelance journalist, translator, and editor living in Vienna. She has a BFA in film from New York University and a Masters degree (MA) from the London Consortium in Interdisciplinary Studies.