“I’m not really into fashion” are not words you’d expect to hear from a designer launching her first collection. But, as Anna Blessmann explains, A_Plan_Application isn’t really about fashion—“It’s clothing that works [and is] proven to work over time.”
It was Off-White’s Virgil Abloh who encouraged Blessmann to stop making clothes just for herself and share her style with the rest of the fashion set. Even without Abloh’s help, there’s no doubt New Guards Group would have signed her up anyway.
Despite being an established sculptor, Blessmann doesn’t regard the two creative fields in the same way. For her, sculpture remains her primary artistic outlet, whereas this new venture into clothing is “a lot more practical…almost more like product design.” It should come as no surprise, then, that the building blocks of her designs are uniforms that she used to buy by the kilo from army surplus stores in Berlin.
The clothes are functional, the finishes are built to last, but the cuts are where this label makes its mark. Having tailored utility clothing to suit her own frame since the 1980s, Blessmann is well versed in working with shapes that are generally masculine and transforming them into pieces that accentuate feminine forms. Some A_Plan_Application clothes suit all sexes, but those made for women celebrate, rather than deny, a woman’s natural curves while retaining a sharp silhouette.
The company dress code is immediately clear. It combines references from 20th-century workplaces—including structured janitor jumpsuits and apron-like wrap skirts from the hospitality sector—with practical pieces like hoodies and sweatpants, because, as Blessmann notes, “streetwear is a contemporary uniform.” The aim is to create clothes that are casual enough to throw on every day while also translating to more elevated environments.
Blessmann’s utilitarian approach requires meticulous attention to detail not just for each individual design, but for how the collection works as a whole. The hemlines of the coats, dresses, and skirts, and even the height of the shoes on the leg, are all precisely measured with mixing and matching in mind. From a pared-back palette to the stitching on a pair of jeans, every element has been considered for its versatility and longevity.
The only bit of flair is a silk scarf made in collaboration with Blessmann’s long-term partner, graphic designer Peter Saville—a stylistic counterpoint that highlights the functionality of the other pieces. Future seasons will include one patterned item to demonstrate how “the rest of the collection is slowly evolving but staying a similar thing over time,” Blessmann says, “and to have a bit of fun on the side!”
As the brand builds its archive, incorporating new palettes and textures, Blessmann is mindful not to slip into fast-fashion habits. “It’s not good for the planet,” she acknowledges, before adding that it’s not good for people, either. “I have [a] relation to things I have around me; they form my world. What does it mean if I just buy something and get excited about it, then chuck it three weeks later?” With this point of view, Blessmann offers us an alternative approach to the seasonality of the fashion cycle. As the capsule grows, the cuts and finishes will withstand spring, summer, fall, and winter—year after year.