Sarah Gottschalk_This is Jane Wayne-IWISHUSUN interview

Sarah Gottschalk

co-founder of This is Jane Wayne, blogger & economic journalist, Berlin

Sarah Gottschalk, co-founder and author of the This is Jane Wayne blog, has, over the last three years created a digital as well as analogue German fashion microcosm comprising fashion news, personal opinions, music, film and art tips as well as private experiences – a window into the world of the two Berliners-by-choice, that tempts us into daily visits to their site.

But this hadn’t been her plan all along: as a trained economic journalist she once dreamed of a journo career at the Handelsblatt newspaper. But then everything turned out differently: with her childhood friend Nike van Dinther at her side she founded This Is Jane Wayne in 2010 and moved to Berlin. What she has retained from her university course is her clear critical view, which is perhaps what differentiates the two writers from many other fashion blogs: they are not afraid to ask the difficult questions: “H&M, where and how are you producing our products? We can’t reconcile shopping in Zara with our conscience.” It’s for exactly this kind of intelligent reporting that we rate Sarah so highly and are very happy to introduce her as a supporter of IWISHUSUN. A warm welcome!

Which of the senses is more important to you, seeing or hearing? And why?
Oh jeez, that’s a really tricky question. But if I really had to choose, I would choose hearing. Sound, language and music helps us develop our own pictures in our heads – it’s what allows us to interpret what we see, after all.

You are a creative person. What vision motivates you in your work?
My own vision is actually quite unspectacular: I want to be happy and make other people happy too. Enriching people through my work or showing them new things makes me happy and drives me.

Even though a lot of work and meaning is put into the content, a blog is primarily a visual medium. How important is its visual aspect for you? How would you describe your own visual language?
The visual aspect is incredibly important and is becoming more so – especially when you look at Tumblr and Instagram. Via images I have the chance to reach readers and attract their attention. My visual language always follows a certain structure, is relatively organised and structured – almost clean. I love to create constantly changing collages with beautiful images. Which, by the way, sometimes takes just as long as writing the actual text. I tinker with it until I am satisfied.

Can it be reconciled with the life you live outside the internet?
Hmmm, that isn’t a clear yes or no answer – more a maybe. Yes, because I am a rationally thinking person and try to maintain order in my life. No, because I never attain my own high standards and always come late and have the ability to reduce my flat to a pile of rubble in a matter of hours.

Your pictorial style has changed quite radically over the last few years, and with your relaunch this month it has been updated again. Can you give us a quick description of the development and different phases?
It’s a perfectly normal process of self-discovery, where we react to the entire range of developments in the blog arena and it probably also has something to do with our age. We have become more grown up, work more professionally (because we’ve been doing it for three years now) but nevertheless don’t completely want to lose the girlish-childlike aspect. Voilà: the new/old Jane Wayne.

As a seeing person it is hard, if not impossible, to imagine the world from the perspective of a blind person, and the same applies in reverse. How would you describe our world and surroundings to a blind person?
I would tell them only of the beautiful things: of meadows full of flowers, historic buildings, of the ocean and friendly people. I don’t think you actually have to become blind in a physical sense – sometimes we all become blind to the positive things and see only the problems and negative aspects. I would push the weeds aside and perhaps discover in something initially ugly something truly amazing?

While we’re on the topic: What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
Australia! Australia is so beautiful, so multifaceted, and every place has different amazing aspects to it. Of course there are lots of tourists, and it was probably so much nicer hundreds of years ago but for me it was unbelievably beautiful, and yes, in part it still seems untouched!

What would you like to see more of?  
Friendly people and the ocean.

Even though there is an increasing awareness for “fair” fashion, most clothing is still produced in less than ideal conditions. That’s exactly the situation that This is Jane Wayne often points out. What effect has it had on your own consumer behaviour?
Jane Wayne was and is a process, every day, and I am always learning. Whereas to begin with I didn’t really reflect on it and bought clothes without much thought, I do try to think more about the long term effects of what I buy and tend to invest more in favourite pieces that are perhaps more expensive but will be worn over many many years. And yes, there are more and more chains that I consciously avoid – whether or not that will change anything in terms of the big picture remains to be seen. But I don’t want to collude in that type of consumption anymore.

What is your tactic for improving the world?
Building up awareness. Making compromises and learning from mistakes. Not being judgemental and giving back. Whether it’s financial support for an NGO, buying someone who is homeless a cinnamon roll or donating old clothing. Doing good deeds starts within your own four walls and radiates outward incrementally – without any deed being any less important.

When did you last give back and with what?
I spent yesterday just listening to my best friend, cooking for her and trying to support her. Heartache combined with a fear of decisions for the future.

Who is your personal hero?
This sounds really cheesy, but it is my boyfriend. No one knows me as well as he does and can help me as easily. And you know, I am pretty hard work.

What is your image for IWISHUSUN?
A picnic in a field with paper lanterns strung in the trees and a plaid blanket and lots of happy people laughing and dancing!

Sarah Gottschalk_This is Jane Wayne-IWISHUSUN

2nd picture via Sarah_jane (Instagram).