The Head of Fashion and Textile of the Royal Academy of Art The Hague on his return to designing and how it brought him new perspectives on the future
Eye on the future
After discovering the extraordinary work of Belgian fashion designer Jurgi Persoons by chance, a little under ten years after his eponymous label closed shop in 2003, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp graduate continued to be much of an enigma. The legacy of his raw-edged romantic vision includes punk-spirited seasonal presentations in Paris along the bank of the Seine and on a deserted parking space, at that time breathing new life into the anti-fashion spirit of the Antwerp Six (and Margiela), who had started a decade earlier. As most of Persoons' vision (who withdrew from the fashion world after 2003) lays hidden in a time before the internet started absorbing everything that takes place, only bits and pieces are still to be found now, with every once in a while a piece from his hands popping up on eBay.
Six years ago, after years of working in the printing workshop of his partner, Persoons had returned to fashion, but in a completely new capacity: as a teacher at the Royal Academy of Art The Hague. There he becomes the Head of Fashion and Textile in 2013, which finally granted me the chance to sit down with him and learn more about what had fascinated me for so long, right before the graduation show of 2016. With the new graduation show upon us tomorrow, we sat down another time to speak about the rather eventful last twelve months and how it brought Jurgi new perspectives, both as Head and through the (highly surprising!) return of fashion design in his life.
The heartbeat of luxury
The heartbeat of luxury
We meet Italian fashion designer Davide Marello at an interesting time in his life. Only a few weeks before the sunny Saturday afternoon in the last weekend of February, when we meet in Bar Luce at the Foundation Prada Foundation, he has left his position as the very first creative director of Boglioli: the 100-year-old tailoring company that reinvented itself at the beginning of this century through a distinct broken-in and garment-dyed aesthetic. Marello’s departure took place silently, gathering even less attention than his surprising and therewith underexposed appointment two years earlier. Nevertheless, for those who were paying attention: the recent ‘intimate’ presentation of the Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, instead of the usual runway show, could be clearly read as a marker that things were in turmoil, to say the least.
Unfortunately it took a little longer to share this than we hoped, as it has been some weeks ago that we sat down with British artist John Stezaker when he visited Antwerp for his duo exhibition that closed today at Gallery Sofie Van de Velde, which juxtaposed his collages with the work of Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers. Meeting Stezaker, gave us a highly enlightening conversation, but due to our busy schedule in the following weeks, it took time to prepare the text for sharing. What's particularly striking: the (shameful) fact that we publish the conversation on the very last day of his exhibition in Antwerp, pretty much feels like the perfect metaphor for the complete career of the artist, who started in the 70's, but had to change art for lecturing, as nobody seemed to understand his surreal vision in times of (British) conceptual domination.
At the beginning of this century, Jake Miller of the London-based Approach Gallery changed all this by introducing his work to the world. Stezaker debuted a solo exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2011 and was granted the Deutsche Börse photography prize in 2012, becoming one of the first non-photographing artists to be granted the prize. His work re-examines the various relationships to the photographic image: as documentation of truth, purveyor of memory, and symbol of modern culture. In his collages, Stezaker appropriates images found in books, magazines, and postcards and uses them as ‘readymades’. Through his elegant juxtapositions, Stezaker adopts the content and contexts of the original images to convey his own witty and poignant meanings.
This exhibition might be over, Stezaker's wise words on his surreal imagery will remain relevant long after today, having stimulated many new thoughts in our minds about contemporary visual culture..
Last Friday, the doors of the beautiful Capital C building in Amsterdam have opened for BIG ART. The new initiative of curator Anne van der Zwaag presenting over 50 XL artworks by contemporary artists and designers, running until the 27th of November in what used to be the Diamant Exchange of the city. A unique mix of acclaimed names and upcoming talents, monumental paintings, drawings, large sculptures, big photos and huge installations. As one of the official partners of BIG ART we will present some of our favorite artists included in the curation of van der Zwaag. Today, we focus on a longtime favorite of ours: Amsterdam-based artist Marijn Akkermans, with whom we talked about the development in his work after graduating from the art academy 15 years ago, the pressures of modern society and the installation-like presentation of his incredible work at BIG ART.
This coming Friday, the doors of the beautiful Capital C building in Amsterdam will open for BIG ART. The exciting new initiative of curator Anne van der Zwaag presents over 50 XL artworks by contemporary artists and designers and will run for 10 days in what used to be the Diamant Exchange of the city. A unique mix of acclaimed names and upcoming talents, monumental paintings, drawings, large sculptures, big photos and huge installations. As one of the official partners of BIG ART we will present some of our favorite artists included in the curation of van der Zwaag. Starting with Rotterdam-based painter Katinka Lampe, with whom we discussed the democratization of the contemporary visual culture, the rise of artificial self-representation and how this is reflected back in her haunting distorted paintings of young human figures.
Talking (sub)culture with April77 and Satisfy founder Brice Partouche
Bringing Cult into Running Culture
In 2001 Brice Partouche became a prominent name (without ever stepping into the limelight) in the so-called ‘rock era’ in fashion when he founded Paris-based jeans brand April77, which played a pinnacle role in bringing the slim silhouette in menswear from the stages of pop venues and runways to the streets of the mainstream. Last Summer, Brice presented a new project named Satisfy, this time infusing a new cultural elan into the perfect, performance orientated, world of running gear. Inspired by Partouche's new exciting endeavor, with the second collection in stores at this moment, we gave Brice a skypecall —fresh out of the shower after his evening run— to ask him about his love for running, the differences between starting a brand now and 15 years ago and what his plans are with his subversive new movement in athletic gear.
Visiting the immaculate world of Belgian designer Michaël Verheyden
It was a very long time coming when three weeks ago we finally met one of Belgium’s most exciting contemporary designers; Michaël Verheyden, in his beautiful home on the edge of industrial city Genk, in a green area towards neighboring Hasselt. Last year, Verheyden debuted as one of the names on Wallpaper* Magazine's Power List —underlining the widespread international recognition for his work— but even before that moment we were very curious to learn more out about his creative vision, basically from the moment we discovered his work in the beginning of 2015. The first appointment we made to get together dated back to March of this year, but time after time we were forced to reschedule due to different emerging obstructing circumstances on both sides. Eventually, we got in the car and finally traveled to the Belgian province of Limburg on a Friday afternoon in the beginning of June. Right after a period of extreme rainfall, which caused a lot of problems in the North of France and different parts of Belgium.
When we arrive Michaël is still in his jackboots, having just taken care of some minor water damage in his garden shed workplace –the one for heavier work– because of that rain. It is very clear that he isn’t too impressed by the damage though. In his mellow voice, speaking in the local soft toned accent and with lively eyes behind his spectacles, he tells us: “it will be fine.” A sentiment he continues to embody throughout our conversation during and after his guided tour of the wonderful house he calls home together with his wife and business partner Saartje Vereecke.
The Judgement at PLUSONE in Antwerp
It is always special to meet an artist you admire. Especially when that artist is the incredibly talented Cleon Peterson, who is one of our undisputed favorite contemporary artists - both because of his highly distinctive style and unfiltered observations on the world around us. Not to mention the turbulent life he has lived before he got where he is today. So therefore last week was an exciting moment, to say the least. In 2015 the American artist seems to indefinitely have joined those who work on a global level, having moved all over the globe for shows and projects; from Paris to Detroit, followed by Hong Kong, before setting foot in Belgium for a 5 day stay in Antwerp where we sat down for a little talk. Parallel to this development, or maybe because of this new level of worldwide interest in his work, Peterson has been stretching the scope of form he creates in, debuting in Antwerp with a life-size sculpture, next to several new paintings and a black rendition of his porcelain sculpture he created with Case Studyo, together forming the exhibition named after the large sculpture; ‚The Judgement’, presented in the last year opened PLUSONE gallery of Jason Poirier dit Caulier.
For the just released 12th issue of Journal de Nîmes we travelled to Antwerp to speak with retail pioneer and well-respected figure within the fashion industry: Geert Bruloot. The curator of the current shoe exhibition in the ever-inspiring MoMu has played a pinnacle role in the road to stardom of the infamous Antwerp Six, which he sold before any one else at the avant-garde designer store Louis and exclusive footwear boutique Coccodrillo. On that rainy wednesdayafternoon we sat down with him and talked about the main theme of the issue 'new vintage', the importance of the experience in a fashion store and the need for rebellion in these times of homogeneity.
— As published in Journal de Nîmes No 12 —
Frederik Vercruysse is a very talented Antwerp-based photographer whose beautiful work we discovered some years ago. He describes his work as still life photography in the broadest sense of the word, always aiming to photograph the subject in its purest form, sometimes realistic, often minimalistic. Distinguishing features of his work are fresh, graphic images bathed in a soft light. Vercruysse has an eye for detail and a well-defined sense of aesthetics. He is an expert in creating compositions, regardless of whether he is photographing architecture, an interior or a still life. With Frederik being such an inspiration for us, we asked him about his inspirations in life.
We have been following the very talented Japanese designer Yusuke Seki for a couple of years in which he is constantly taking his work to the next level, whether it was for the Interior Design Office in Tokyo, corporate clients such as AU or Sony, and his independent projects on design products and architectural space design, of which many have been exhibited at the Milan Salone, Designer’s block, the Tokyo Style Exhibition, Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. After establishing his own studio in 2008, Seki has designed for a variety of spaces, from shops like his incredible design for the Kyoto-based kimono store Otsuka-Dofukuten and his work at Nakagawa Masashichi Shoten-gai, to candy stores and salons like his work for Kolmio+LIM and most recently the utterly incredible Maruhiro Flagship Store. With Seki being such an everlasting source of inspiration, we asked him what he finds inspirational in life.
We discovered the thrilling work of the Berlin-based Croatian photographer Katja Kremenić through her incredible series ‘Rip Currents‘, after which she has been creating a body of work in her signature romantic free-floating style - both for fashion orientated clients as her personal projects in which she has explored some of the most beautiful beaches of the globe, proving to be an everlasting source of inspiration in her photography. Blending her signature aesthetic in all areas of the work she produces, the photographer excels in translating emotions into her photographs. Making the fragmentations of her unique photographic gaze images which resonate through feelings rather than just the representation. As Kremenić has been such an inspiration for us in the last few years, we asked her about her inspirations.
The New York Times recently named him a 'Digital Tastemaker for Young Men', and although we aren't as young as we were when we discovered him through his inspirational blog 'Words for Young Men', the multitalented New York-based creative Chris Black continues to be one of the people out there we hold in the highest regard for his inspirational vision and output. Before starting his blog 'Words for Young Men', the Atlanta-born was part of the early wave of people creating campaigns for social media, leading the way in a field of practice which has slowly devaluated into a metrics-obsessed monster of mediocrity and boredom, worlds apart from the cutting edge creative thinking that dominated it in the early days. Chris himself has been doing so much more than just social media in recent years, working through his creative agency named Done To Death Projects. Next to a focus on strategy and creative direction for clients, he does whatever he feels like: from publishing books and zines with different highly talented young photographers to putting out t-shirts. With Chris being such an inspiration for us, we asked him some questions on what inspires him in life.
With globalization of the creative industry at an all time high and digital interaction just one mouse-click away, we seem to have entered the most fruitful period ever of unlimited cross-pollination within the global creative community. From a different perspective one could argue the exact opposite by pointing out the copycat culture which has become a significant element of the digital era's zeitgeist. We try to look at it from the first angle and appreciate the worldwide exchange of ideas, inspirational collaborations and formerly unexpected joint ventures. If the new (copy enabling) preconditions make that one has to be more critical then ever to separate the wheat from the chaff, the collateral damage of the digitalization is nowhere near life-threatening for great work to be created and discovered. One of the most exciting collaborations we recently discovered comes from England, where two of our favorites: Joe Cruz and Jack Davison have found each other. Although they lived far from worlds apart before they got together, it was still the internet that opened the door for the newly created work. To learn more about the works we've asked Joe Cruz some questions on the collaboration and can only hope that this is only the start for more to come by the two talented artists.
After premiering the first half of Ashkan Honarvar's ‘King of Worms’ last week, we now present a selection of the second half of the biggest project till date created by the Norway-based visionary. Ashkan has been producing collages for almost a decade now, both under his own name as the pseudonym Who Killed Mickey, always finding inspiration in the dark side of humanity and from the questions that rise about it. The extraordinary new project is no different; consisting of 107 collages, divided in 10 chapters with a unique aesthetic, although undeniably marked with Honarvar’s signature style. Today we ask him about that particular style and his vision, inspirations from the dark side, Jane Arden’s film ‘The Other Side of the Underneath’ and how he translated this into a major work like 'King of Worms'.
The Amsterdam-based Raymond Lemstra has been one of our favorite Dutch artists for some years now. The creatures he creates (mostly drawn) show his interest in distortion as a result of selective emphasis; parts of interest are emphasized, unimportant parts reduced or left out. His distinct characters therefore often come out big headed, with focus on the faces and the body trimmed to its essential properties, all marked with his personal style, tough often very different in specific form. As he has stated on his vision and aesthetic: "The contrast between my naive and at the same time sophisticated approach to my work gives it a somewhat awkward taste. It is a clash of intent, simultaneously assuming simplicity and complexity, randomness and reason, flaws and perfection." We've been following Raymond since the very beginning of Another Something & Co and feel extremely grateful to have collaborated with him during the first Our Current Obsessions. Having been this inspired by his work for all this time, we now ask him about his inspirations.
The super inspirational Mannheim-based creative studio Deutsche & Japaner was formed in 2009 by Moritz Firchow, David Wolpert, Ina Yamaguchi and Julian Zimmerman: working in the field of graphic, product and interior design with a rich and highly aesthetic style. Since their start we’ve always been a big fan of their multidisciplinary work. The studio focuses on communication, regardless of its physical condition, environmental, haptical or visual, but always in regard of sustainable experiences, which over the course of the last years resulted in incredible free work, which blends smoothly with commissioned assignments. Next to Moritz' endeavors under the Deutsche & Japaner flag, he has also been running another important source of inspiration named Arcademi; an online publication focusing on (autonomous) creative work from all over the world. To which he added two other amazing projects in 2012; Aesthetics Habitat, through which content is created in collaboration with brands and creative visionaries with thrilling results so far, and lastly in the same year he co-founded a distinguished winery named Love Me Los Angeles, together with wine-expert Katharina Riess, Florian Breimesser. Having been constantly inspired by the creative mind of Moritz, we now ask him about his - general - inspirations.
Joe Cruz is a very talented artist, illustrator and textile designer, which we have been following since we discovered his work some years ago. In this period he has been consistently creating very strong images, distinctly using a toned down color palette and collage techniques. Joe was born in London in 1988 from a multi-cultural background: with roots in France, Spain, Austria and Morocco. He graduated from Norwich University of the Arts in 2010 with a BA in Graphic Design, specializing in Illustration after which he worked on commissions for clients such as Mary Portas, Stussy and Nokia, next to his free work which seems to have been influenced by his eclectic background in one way or the other. We were very happy to collaborate with Joe in Journal de Nîmes Nº 9, for which the artist created an extraordinary collage using vintage photographs out of the Tenue de Nîmes private collection named 'Denim Anonymous'. Having been inspired by Joe's incredible work for all this time, we now ask him what inspires him in life.
Stockholm and Paris-based Romain Lenancker is one of those individuals who continues to inspire us with his work in art direction and set design. His portfolio has expanded progressively over the last few years, with everything he produces looking extremely impressive. His commercial work blends aesthetically perfectly with personal projects. Lenancker is an art director and set designer with an almost unparalleled eye for composition. His portfolio is living proof that it is possible to marry the needs of demanding commissions with arresting, thoughtful imagery. He’s particularly adept at using a limited colour palette to maximum effect, letting his superlative attention to detail capture and hold the viewers’ attention. He works as the Art Director of Intersection Magazine's still-life division. Over the course of the years in which Another Something & Company has been active, Romain has always been raising the bar in a very inspirational manner and therefore we've asked him what inspires him in life.
Andy Rementer is an award winning graphic artist from USA. He grew up in a Victorian beach town where an early exposure to the sun faded, local signage educated his love of type and hand-painted lettering. A sense of timelessness and nostalgia is to be found in the world he creates. Another reoccurring theme of Rementer’s work is isolation, something he cites as an effect of his abrupt relocation to an urban environment in formative years and often depicted in his work through his characters’ underlying unease with their surrounding. He graduated from The University of the Arts in 2004. After working with Benetton's Fabrica in northern Italy, he relocated to the East Coast where he divides his time between drawing, painting, and developing his first graphic novel. His work has been featured all over the world, among them Apartamento Magazine, The New York Times, Le Monde and Creative Review. We've been following Andy for many years now and therefore asked him what inspires a bright mind like his.
Although we celebrate his overal tasteful vision and have been following Erik Schedin since the beginning of Another Something & Company, the Swedish designer is most known for his iconic minimalist sneaker, of which the first sketch was made in his final year at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm. Last year he, together with Comme des Garçons Shirt, celebrated the 10 year existence of his sneaker with a special edition, which recently was also released in a black colorway. But there was much more we loved in these last years, in which Erik ran one of the most exciting and elegant minimal webstores to be found on the internet. He for instance collaborated with Tegnässkidan AB to re-create their classical ski model Rajd and Schedin was the first one to reintroduce the first ever designed Gore-Tex boot, the Danner Light to the European market. We now ask Erik what has been inspirational for him in all these years in which he consistently was an inspiration for us.
Paul Barbera is a lifestyle and interior photographer with a reportage style spanning cultural anthropology to luxury living, who we've been following since the very beginning of Another Something & Co, when we stumbled upon his tremendous Where They Create project. Paul is one of those extraordinary photographers striving to capture the complex emotional honesty of his subjects by reverting to a minimalist approach. He shoots in natural light and avoids overly complicated technical arrangements which permit authenticity and a voyeuristic thrill to come to the fore. Born in Melbourne, Australia and currently residing in New York City (when not on the road or in the air), Barbera has a Bachelors of Fine Arts and now a days is commissioned throughout Asia, Europe and Australia for a broad scala of publications ranging from fashion to documentary. Next to his ongoing Where They Create series, Paul also started the Love-Lost project in which he captures beautiful woman from around the globe. As we've been inspired by Paul for all these years, we now ask him what has been inspirational in his life.
We are highly inspired by the online platform of writer Darrell Hartman and his brother Oliver Hartman, which they founded last year and named Jungles in Paris. The extraordinary project aims to redefine armchair travel using a global network of professional photographers and filmmakers, producing and presenting short, focused stories on culture, craft, geography, and wildlife around the world. Instead of splendor the Hartman brothers aim to go small and observe with an highly critical eye by focusing on the unexpected surprises uncovered by the careful traveler, from ritual skin-piercing in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, the beautiful aesthetic of the colorful house fences one finds in Rwanda, to the Ranch Rodeo in a small town in Wyoming, USA. As Darrell is such an inspiration for both his vision and his dogmatic approach in these rather superficial times, we've asked him some questions on what has and still inspires him in life.
Mikael Kennedy is a New York City-based commercial and fine art photographer, which we have been following since the very beginning of our online endeavors. We first noticed his extraordinary work through his internationally acclaimed Polaroid travel blog; Passport to Trespass, which documented his 10 years of wandering the United States with a Polaroid SX70, concluded by the photographer in 2011. Now a days Kennedy’s Polaroids are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, as well as in private collections worldwide. Other work of his has appeared in print in The New Yorker, Nylon, Dazed & Confused, WWD, and his photography has been being profiled online with GQ, Esquire, Time, Newsweek Magazine, and the WSJ, among others. Having been inspired by both Mikael's nomadic way of living and the elegant aesthetic one finds in his works, oftenly created during these travels: we now ask him what has inspired him along the road.
We've been following the very talented Kharkiv, Ukraine-born and Denmark-based Sergei Sviatchenko since he stepped into the limelight about five years ago. This starting point was the foundation of Close Up and Private in 2009, Sergei's online art project in which he shared his collage-like photographic vision on style, which quickly rose to fame through both the created aesthetic as Sergei’s own impeccable style. Based on this fundament of Close Up and Private, Sergei recently decided to take his endeavors one step further, in a concept which features continuing collaborations with an international rage of heritage brands and skilled craftsmen. With the new project, named Private Classicist, Sergei aims to create a solid range of classic menswear items that verges on pushing the boundaries of current minimalist fashion towards the classic style championed by Sergei himself and through his work. Being highly inspired by Sergei for all these years, today we can share some questions we've asked him to find out what inspires a master like him.
All of the incredibly talented Ashkan Honarvar’s art deals with the darker sides of the human mind through the undeniable and unavoidable beauty of the human body. The universal human body, used as tool for seeking identity, is the focal point of his work. By dissecting and rearranging images with careful aesthetic vision, Honarvar creates work with an intriguing macabre darkness. Since his graduation from the Art School in our hometown Utrecht in 2007 Ashkan has been making a name for himself with his utmost fascinating collages. Themes like colonialism, war, mass destruction, megalomania and other grotesque behavior are all observable in his progressively growing body of work. We can't get enough of his enthralling collages and love how the artist combines the abject with the aesthetic, creating images one can't stop looking at. Being very inspired by Ashkan's vision we asked him a couple questions to find out what inspires a highly unique mind like his.
Since the moment lifestyle brand GERTRUD & GEORGE came to our attention, we knew we wanted to find a way in seriously cooperating with such a like-minded brand. After a couple of months we found the right context and to our great pride GERTRUD & GEORGE became the main collaborator of Our Current Obsessions Nº 1 – NOIR. The inspirational brand is the brainchild of the very gifted Nick F. Cerutti. Founded in 2001 to serve bespoke and semi-bespoke purposes prominently in Japan to begin with, GERTRUD & GEORGE nurtures an intrinsic sense of equilibrium between aesthetics, function and execution in order to conceive pristine high-end goods. Since 2011 Nick and his partner Mathieu Annen have shifted their focus towards accessories and bags, which resulted in a perfect jet-black line named The Esquire Suite, consisting of 7 models which come in three different sizes and varying river buffalo grains and depths. Being highly inspired by Nick's tremendous history, his current work with GERTRUD & GEORGE and his overall vision, we've asked him some questions on his inspirations in life.
We are major New York City-based ISAORA fans since we found out about their extraordinary rainwear collection, which was released earlier this year. The brand was founded by the very talented Ricky Hendry (pictured left) and Marc Daniels who both were itching to start a new venture in spite of the rather downward economical circumstances when they began in 2009. Although it certainly wasn't an easy road, in 2013 Ricky and Marc were the winners of the Council on Fashion Designers’ Incubator, “designed to support the next generation of fashion designers in New York City,” signifying both designers’ strong drive and will to succeed in finding strong intrinsic roots to let their brand grow, which was also noticed by the CFDA. In its starting years the brand was sold at high-end boutiques like Barney's New York and Opening Ceremony, but since two seasons they sell directly to its customer online, with this season as a significant marking point, with the different collections clearly arranged under the monikers Movebetter, Trainbetter, Feelbetter, Staywarmbetter and the extraordinary Staydrybetter collection. Being highly inspired by Ricky and Marc's beautiful products and bold approach we've asked Ricky a couple of question in order to find out what inspires him, both in the past, his work, and in every-day life.
Being a big fan of Saint Crispin’s it is a pleasure to start this returning interview series for Anothersomething with Michael Rolling, the shoe designer behind this exclusive brand. We wrote about them before and are excited to see he just launched a new brand called Zonkey Boot (later more on that). Enjoy a glimpse in his world, his inspiration and future plans.