Guido Maria Kretschmer: Interview on the topic of abuse of power

Guido Maria Kretschmer
“Wherever people have power, they will take advantage of it”


Everyone feels power sooner or later. Designer Guido Maria Kretschmer has also been confronted with the issue of abuse of power in his life. In an interview, he explains what needs to change.

BRIGITTE: In your new book “19521 Steps” you dealt with unexpected and beautiful encounters. Power imbalances can also arise in interpersonal relationships, which in the worst case scenario are exploited. Do you have any experience with it yourself? Abuse of power made?

Guido Maria Kretschmer: Of course, like all of us. No one will march forward without encountering people who will make the path very rocky. Wherever people have power and money, they will take advantage of it. You are lucky if you grew up in a loving home, with people or even teachers who like you. My mom always said, “You make it easy for people to like you too.” Nevertheless, at some point in my job I also met bad people. Especially as a young designer.

What exactly happened?

People dumped me and abused their power. Insulted me, denied me jobs, copied things, treated me condescendingly – that’s what really ruined you. So much so that at times I was literally close to tears. But not only in the fashion industry, I was also dropped at the bank as a young person. I worked so hard and I just needed support to grow and grow, but there were some who abused their power and put obstacles in my way.

What kind of people were they exactly?

Men, but sometimes women too. Men can do it better. I think it would be important for more women to be in important positions. That’s why we have to talk about quotas so that women have the chance to be treated equally. It’s not for nothing that the whole #metoo debate exists. What if we could let women make the world in just five years? To put them in important positions? I am sure that we would then be able to get rid of many crises. No question, you can’t generalize about this men-women thing, but a less patriarchal society would certainly help us because power would then be told in a completely different way.

Why do you think people abuse their power?

Maybe because it’s human, maybe also because you can show people with a weak mind or a weak personality who the “bigger one” is. Some people have to feel this every day. And some do it because they are basically just afraid of becoming victims themselves.

What advice would you give to people who have fallen victim to abuse of power?

Be active and talk about it. Form alliances and perhaps look for a kind of mentor who will support you at the right moment. Talking about things is a great opportunity we have as humans. Even if you can’t always describe it, it’s still good to say: I feel like I’m being treated badly. That is the right that each of us has. And an appeal to all companies: be careful who you promote. Empathy is an underestimated quality, even among managers.


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