Interview with Designer and Artist Isabelle Gougenheim
Isabelle Gougenheim is a designer and artist based in Chicago, and is originally from Strasbourg, France. Experienced with designing for specialty and luxury brands, Isabelle is an eclectic artist who celebrates all aspects of the visual world. Isabelle creates eye-catching luxury scarves with electric colors and images that are free-spirited and inspired by street photography and graffiti. Her European roots, life experience, travels, and muses are seen through her designs and art work.
Before launching her own brand, she worked on many Holly Hunt collections, and was a partner at the Kevin Reilly Lighting; having a versatile background in numerous design disciplines, she takes inspiration from industrial aesthetics, venerates vibrant colors, and produces quality, inspiring pieces.
Her designs are printed on gorgeous soft silks and modal fabrics to create wearable pieces of art. Her work has been featured in Nue Magazine, Chicago Magazine, and in a CS Modern Luxury issue, Isabelle’s designs won the Best New Accessory Award at the 2019 NY NOW, a leading wholesale trade show focused on home and lifestyle products.
You can find Isabelle’s art and scarves here and dive into a bit more about Isabelle below!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the east side of France in a town called St. Die des Vosges. It’s a small town located in the mountains but there’s a very interesting fact about it!
Every year, cartographers from all over the world gather in this town.
It was in Saint-Dié, in the heart of the Vosges gymnasium, that Waldseemüller's Planisphère was published in 1507. It contains the first mention of the word "America", the name given in honour of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, on a map entitled "Universalis Cosmographia". Today, the city is honored with the title of "Godmother of America".
What is your favorite city?
That's a hard one. There's no way I could narrow it down to one (a top three would be challenging, too) as I have visited many cities all over the world and I always found something extraordinary in each of them.
But I believe that my top 3 would be:
- Paris, because I have many artist friends there, and this city is a source of inspiration for fashion and art.
- Milan for the food and the energy.
- Bali for the peaceful environment and the kindness of the people.
What lessons has your work-life taught you?
Be passionate, be focused in every aspect of your life.
Find your passion and do not be afraid to put in the hard work; the experience you will get from it will be much rewarding. Also, it is essential always to be curious. Don't put limits on yourself and your creativity—no matter what, follow your dream.
Can you tell me about someone who has had a significant influence on your life?
I think that I am influenced by many people I meet everywhere; it can be on the street when having a simple conversation, listening to a couple discussing regular life matters, or even surfing the Internet. I feel like random everyday life moments can be a considerable influence, so I try to gasp for inspiration everywhere I can find it.
What do you feel most grateful for in your life?
I learned, over the years, how to be honest and authentic in life, and I am grateful for this.
Can you tell me about one of your happiest memories?
I find happiness in the little and simple things such as being surrounded by my family and hanging out with friends.
What are some of the most important lessons you've learned in life?
Find your passion and do not be afraid to put in the hard work, the experience along the way are the lessons and will help you grow.
Who is your favorite designer?
Maison Margiela, Off White.
What is your favorite piece of clothing?
I love scarves and the pop of color or personality they can bring to any outfit.