In Bianca Nachtman’s eclectic world, Gormandize is a word with a very special meaning. Originally an abbreviation of Gormandize, a French word meaning to overeat, the word was later used by members of the punk scene to signify overindulgence and excess. An eclectic maximalist herself, Nachtman envisioned her fashion brand as a creative amalgam of vintage materials fused with personal references. Inspired by everyday objects, local myths, and her vintage findings, she captures the enchantment of their life stories into clothes that have a story to tell. A University of Southampton Fashion Marketing Graduate, the designer embarked on a journey that would bring her vision to life, making items that allow for true personal expression through their uniqueness. We caught up with her to discuss inspirations, Eastern European fairytales, and all those things out of this world.
You named your brand GORM. What is the definition of GORM?
So GORM comes from the French word gourmandize, which means to overindulge in food. Then the punks used it in CBGB OMFUG which was a venue that took a huge part in the punk movement and they used the word as a ravenous consumer of music. Now I took the word and I use it in the fashion industry since my brand really overindulges in its looks! From the French to punks to me, that is quite a story!
What inspires you? Other fashion designers, artists, books?
A lot of the time what inspires me are objects or materials I find while sourcing at vintage markets and thrift stores. From the shape or pattern of them, I start to form ideas in my head of how I see this piece coming together. Hence whenever I’m stuck I will always go sourcing and come back from it with a few ideas. When it’s not that I’ll often get inspired by something personal to me from my past, I love to be nostalgic and reminisce. It brings a lot of comfort and creativity to me.
Tell us the story behind your latest collection.
For my newest collection, I created it all from vintage bedding and pillows and I called it “Sleepless In…”. It was a dreamy affair inspired by Eastern European castles and Czechoslovakian fairy tales I used to watch as a child fused with my love of camp and folklore. I love to tell a story with my collections and draw from things out of this world. This collection was no exception to that. It was all really personal to me, I grew up within a Czechoslovakian household and I started to really miss the enchantment of the culture; from herbs or flowers and their creation stories to fairy tales being deeply rooted in history and everyday life. Walking around there as a child had an otherworldly effect on me and I brought a lot of that feeling into this collection.
You have a very unique approach to sustainability. What makes a garment sustainable?
I think what makes a garment sustainable is not contributing to more waste in the world, which includes all the water waste and chemical pollution that it takes to produce new material and then all the waste that comes after. We should recycle fabric or items, instead. The amount of materials you can find at thrift stores that have been donated (from fabric to thread to buttons and fixings) is crazy! There are so many types of fabrics readily available and most in mint condition for you to create. Just by doing something as simple as that you can make a garment sustainable.
Let’s talk hats. What do you find exciting in them?
The thing I like most about hats – specifically cowboy hats – is the structure!! The shape is perfect and I love building onto them. I also love how I can take something so traditionally masculine and hetero and turn it into something ostentatious and at points campy. Plus hats really are the cherry on top for looks; they can add so much and really carry the ensemble, even though most of my hats are loud enough to be the whole outfit!
How important is it for a garment to have a past?
I think it adds a lot of meaning, depth, and a little more excitement to an item. To say “oh this item was made from scraps of an ex puppet maker” or “this part was from an altar in the 1900s” just gives the garment an element of drama and allows for these once forgotten pieces to be continued in another life and tell another story.