Hello there and welcome to the online portfolio of Svenja Niehaus, costume designer based in Hamburg, Germany.
Feuillemorte Costumery is the title of my never-ending costume projects. Here, I create and enact wearable arts, the most recent one being my master project "Shapes of Decay". My work may be at best described as fanciful and based on historical garments, but I rather prefer not to be seen as a certain stereotype.
By now, I am particularly specialized in corsetmaking. When wearing a corset, the resulting feminine and erect posture will transform the everyday girl from around he corner into a sophisticated, elegant lady - that may be the part I enjoy most about corsetry. These pieces of garment assure self-confidence and always come along with a bit of drama, which initially made the corset an important part of my creations.
On first sight, this might be a complicated term, unusual to describe costume design. "Feuillemorte" is of course french and pretty much undescribable in other languages. It describes the colour of dead leaves, as well as "feuilles-mortes" are transcribed as dead leaves themselves.
Though that may sound a tad bid morbid, it's more likely beautiful in a melancholic way. I am personally fascinated with the aesthetics of these ephemeral matters: they are gorgeous because of their rich past and by being imperfect. That is also what lead me to center my maspter project, "Shapes of Decay", around the subject of transience.
I am experienced, in working in theatre, film and photography; of course I am always interested in opportunities to work on new exciting projects.
Also, most of my costumes and outfits are available for rental, in case they are still in my possession. There are rental fees from 20 to 50€, which may vary in between the different pieces.
The rentable costumes are in most cases open for sale. Now and then, there are also sample sales, which will be announced on social media. Individual pieces based on commissions are also a possibility. Just get in touch with me via mail for further information.
After finishing my Costume Design Bachelor studies at University of Applied Arts in Hamburg, Germany, I stayed there for Master class to further improve my skills and literally go out with a bang – a huge, impressive final project. This final, melancholic Master project, „Shapes of Decay“ and with it also my studies, have been concluded in fall of 2018. I‘m already thrilled which path my life will take next.
Besides my studies, I started my own costume making project “Feuillemorte Costumery“ in 2016. Here is where my ideas and schemes are hatched and happily presented to a small, growing audience.
My love for costumery and glorious wardrobe, however, dates back way longer. As a teenager, conventional clothing already bored me to death, so I decided to learn tailoring by myself since the age of 14. That really didn‘t turn out all too great, but it grew better steadily with time – the next step was an internship in a theatre‘s dressmaking workshop in Bremen and eventually, the Costume Design studies professionalized my pieces.
For me, making costumes is not just craft – there is artistic value in each and every piece I create. Thereby, I also identify as an artist and define my work as wearable art. Every production is a dynamic, creative process. It may be influenced by crafts, but stretches far beyond it‘s boundaries.
When working on my projects, I always go on learning by using experimental techniques and materials like thermoplastics, embroidery and dyeing. This is what makes costume creation so special for me: By setting and overcoming one‘s own limits, there is unlimited potential for personal and skill growth. One may be working as a costume maker for dozens of years and still there will me new stuff to discover.