Even as art-school classmates in Berlin, Eugenie Schmidt and Mariko Takahashi shared a fascination for people and what they wore. The kindred spirits soon launched Schmidttakahashi, a fashion label that explores the fragile concept of identity by piecing castoffs in radical new ways. Each piece in their “Reanimation” collection comes with a Quick Response (or “QR”) code that unites the garment’s past, present, and future. Scanning an item’s barcode with a smartphone doesn’t just unlock information about its former life, but it also allows the wearer to contribute to its ongoing narrative.

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After gathering the used clothes, the duo assigns a unique number to each one before registering information about its donor in a database. Thoroughly cleaned, the garments are then dismantled into elements ready for recombination. The resulting shirts, dresses, pants, and jackets are in a sense “new,” but Schmidt and Takahashi strive to retain the individuality of each component and, by extension, those of the previous owners.

Thoroughly cleaned, the garments are then disassembled into elements ready for recombination.

Reanimation has its roots in a school project where the pair photographed their professors and classmates in one another’s clothes. “The experiment was really striking for us,” Takahashi tells Ecouterre. “At first it was just the appearance of the person and how they dressed up. When you dress up as this certain person you become a little bit like this person. And then we thought this was really exciting because this is a really personal outfit and unique objects if you wear these garments for a certain time.”

While each piece is distinct, the collection flows together with bold shapes and angles, with an emphasis on movement and verticality. Every piece is unique, but works as one piece,” says Schmidt. “It’s not about making an outfit, but if you put them together, it’s a collection. We search for harmony.”

+ Schmidttakahashi