Thumbnail of CoverPage 68 of “Textile Designers at the Cutting Edge” by Bradley Quinn

“I’m not good with words”, says Claudia Hill, when we meet at her Brooklyn studio, “so I could never describe all the feelings I express through my designs. But what I can do is work as a kind of emotional architect who captures expression in clothing, so that they can function as a portable diary for the people who wear them. After all, I am sculpting clothing as a house for the body. To me, a textile’s surface, with all its subtle details, resembles the inside, the internal.” | Flowing freely between self-expression and art-like objects comes easily to Hill, who trained to be a dancer. She left her native Germany to continue her dance studies in New York, where she discovered that she also had a talent for costume design. A chance meeting with Spanish designer Miguel Adrover resulted in a commission for some pieces that he sold in his shop, Horn, in New York. “I was in this beautiful flow from dance to design,” Hill remembers, “and one moment I was making my own clothes, the next I was making them for Miguel’s shop, and suddenly I was also making them for some clients in Japan.” | Hill eschews traditional catwalk shows and presents her collections through performances, installations and presentations held at her boutique in Berlin. “I never considered adapting to the traditional fashion formats,” Hill says, “because my work is about the one-off and not things that can be mass-produced. I really enjoy designing the textiles I use, whether they are new fabrics or found materials. Structuring my textiles enables me to be playful, experimental and find a way to break boundaries. That would never be possible with conventional fabrics.” | Some of Hill’s fabrics are scented with herbs to add an intangible experience to the garment. Others are weighted with stones sewn into tiny pouches created by touching the fabric, enabling it to hang in a certain way or acquire a unique texture. Hill has even made her own lace, regarding the open structure of the lace to be the antithesis of the closed surface surrounding the stones. “Lacemaking is an ancient craft.” Hill says, “and making lace by hand today is the opposite of all the fast production cycles created by technology.” | Hill once famously shredded a man’s suit, then knitted it into a cocktail dress. “I loved the process of taking a man’s garment and transforming it into something beautiful for |