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Eva Gronbach (born 1971, Cologne, Germany) is a German fashion designer.
Life and career
Gronbach grew up in Germany‘s Rhineland, between Cologne and Bonn. After High-School (Waldorf school) she started out as a trainee ladies' tailor at Elly-Heuss-Knapp Schule in Düsseldorf before she studied at the Institut supérieur des arts visuels La Cambre in Brussels, Belgium. In 2000, Gronbach received a diploma in "Stylisme et Création de la Mode". As an exchange student at the Paris Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) she received the Master of Arts. Gronbach lives in Berlin.
Engagement and Commissioned Work
During her studies, Gronbach worked for various designers like Stephen Jones, Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano and Hermès. For the soccer World Cup 2006 she produced the official fan shirt on behalf of the initiative Deutschland – Land der Ideen (“Germany: Land of Ideas”), initiated by the Bundesregierung (federal government) and the German industry, represented by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). In the same year, Gronbach designed a shoe collection for the sport shoe producer Möbus. In 2008, the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Agency for Civic Education) contracted her for the design of accessories for the theater festival „ECHT! - Politik im freien Theater“ ("REAL! - Politics at the Free Theater"). At the same time, Gronbach was commissioned to design uniforms for the international hotel chain Novotel. She also created the "KölnShirt" in cooperation with Köln Tourismus, which is made of bio cotton and shows the cathedral in Cologne before nightfall.
Labels and Collections
Gronbach's collections with mostly linear cut and clear forms address current political and social issues such as national identity, femininity, and sustainability. Her work is sold in Europe, Asia, and the USA.
Gronbach has founded the labels „Eva Gronbach“ and „german jeans“. "german jeans" is a basic collection for women and men, offered next to her Couture collection "Eva Gronbach". "german jeans" is inspired by coal miners. The clothes are produced of used coal miners' work wear, which is grey-beige and has obvious stains. The brand mark of Gronbach is a stylized eagle (similar to Germany's national eagle), which is stamped with her name on many of her pieces.
The designer first gained international recognition in 2000 with her collection „Déclaration d’amour à l’Allemagne“. The motif of the stylized eagle, the use of the Germany's national colors black, red and gold and of the letter "D" caused a sensation and evoked heated debates.
Exhibitions and Fashion Shows
Gronbach's work is presented internationally. Her fashion is shown at museums, fashion weeks, exhibitions, and public institutions. The designer has also worked as a curator for various institutions.
In 2003, she worked as guest curator for the exhibition „In. Femme Fashion – 1780-2004“ at the Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (MAKK). The subject was the modeling of femininity over time. Afterwards the museum decided to buy some pieces of Gronbach's collection.
In 2004, Gronbach presented her work at Goethe Institute Berlin. A year later, she curated the exhibition "The Fashion Generation" for the Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf. For this exhibition Gronbach travelled to the world's most renowned art schools in over thirty countries and chose from fifty schools the most interesting ideas. The designer visited schools in Tokyo, New York, Paris, and London, but also schools in upcoming fashion cities like Ulan Bator in Mongolia, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, Cape Town, Dakar, Kingston in Jamaika, Caracas, Reykjavik, Shanghai, Auckland etc.
From 2008-2010, Gronbach had opened a fashion store in Cologne's hip Belgian quarter. In 2009, young Belgian designers were invited to present their work at this store for a few weeks. The goal of this event, organized together with the Belgian House in Cologne, was to deepen the relationship between Brussels and Cologne.
Single pieces of Gronbach's collection were bought by the Haus der Geschichte ("House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany"). They are presented at the museum in Bonn. The Museum of Industry (LWL) in Dortmund bought some pieces of Gronbach's "german jeans" collection. In 2011, the Jewish Museum Berlin invited the artist to show her work from the past ten years at the exhibition "how german is it?". In 2012, Gronbach participated in the MANIFESTA 09 European Art Biennale.
In September 2015, Gronbach presents her work of the past 15 years at the show "Relight - Best of Eva Gronbach" in the context of the Futur25 Festival. The Futur25 Festival is organized by the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the Federal Ministry of the Interior in celebration of the 25th jubilee of the German unity. It takes place at Radialysystem V in Berlin.
Fashion Classes at Schools and Universities
Gronbach works with children and young adults. She initiates and teaches fashion design classes at schools in Germany. She also gives presentations at conferences, e.g. at the Berlin Academy of Arts and at "Kinder zum Olymp!“ and participates in TV shows. Since May 2008, Gronbach is a guest lecturer at the Köln International School of Design (KISD). Focusing on transformation processes in fashion design she discusses the meaning of fashion with her students. In 2009, she led the designer workshops for students in the Ruhr area, sponsored by the region North Rhine-Westphalia. The developed designs were presented at RUHR.2010. Since 2014, Gronbach works as a lecturer at the international fashion school (ESMOD) in Berlin.
In 2004, Gronbach received the "T-com inspire!" award for her collection "Déclaration d'amour à l'Allemagne".
In 2010, Gronbach's video was awarded with the GERMAN FASHION FILM AWARD in the category men's fashion (video).
- 2000/01: „Déclaration d`amour à l’Allemagne“ ("fashion love declaration to Germany")
- 2002: „Liebeserklärung an Deutschland“ ("fashion love declaration to Germany"): elegant line in black and white with applications in Germany's national colors black, red, gold.
- 2003: „mutter erde vater land“: sweatshirts and jackets with applications of the eagle‘s wings (Germany's national eagle); Germany's national colors black, red, gold are used visibly; some designs have printed wordings like „Heimat ist Heimat“ ("homeland is homeland"), „schwarz rot gold“ (black, red, gold) or „mutter erde vater land“ (mother earth father land); most models were of mixed German and African or Asian background
- 2004/2005: „my new police dress uniform“: comfortable leisure look in dark blue; national eagle and colors are used
- Autumn/Winter 2005/06: „myfile – mein Profil“: fashion as a statement about the self; in cooperation with Bayer MaterialScience; the collection symbolizes transparency, open-mindedness and peacefulness
- Summer 2006: „Glück auf“: made of former coal miner's working clothes symbolizing the coal workers' culture in the Ruhr area.
- Autumn/Winter 2006/07: „the sacrosanct“: fashion about human rights; jackets and shirts carry a silhouette of a kneeing prisoner or the wording of the human rights; some pieces were in the symbolic color orange which is known from press pictures of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base prisoners
- Spring/Summer 2007: clear cut collection dedicated to Karl Valentin (1882–1948).
- 2008: uniform collection for the staff of the high speed train Thalys
- 2013: uniform collection for the international hotel chain Novotel
Patricia Brattig (Hrsg.): Ausstellungskatalog, In: femme fashion 1780-2004: die Modellierung des Weiblichen in der Mode, Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-89790-215-X
Eva Gronbach und Susanne Anna: Generation Mode (the Fashion Generation), Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2005, ISBN 3-7757-1614-9
- Eva Gronbach Homepage
- Goethe Institute: [Versatile and Political – Eva Gronbach and her Collections]
- Zeche Zollverein 
- Eva Gronbach as the fashion design referee at the Berliner Akademie der Künste. Fashion@society - fashion design, youth culture, social identity. Organized by Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung