Saturday, April 20, 2013

Say what? #8

Dries Van Noten is renowed for being some sort of an outsider - he is still based in Antwerp, he doesn't do publicity, he doesn't do pre-collections. The Belgian fashion designer is also one of the most interesting, intriguing fashion designers of the current era.
Below you can read a small excerpt of an interview published on The Q+A issue of i-D magazine. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

As a designer, elegance is very important to you.
For me, elegance is style. Sometimes when you think about the word elegant it can seem a little scary and a little old fashioned too. Elegance is not only a way of dressing, it'a a way of living, it's a flair, how you do things, how you approach things and how you look at things also.

Do you think the definition of elegance has changed since you started as a designer?
Elegance is always changing. It goes with the time. As the world evolves it evolves and asks for another approach, another way of looking at things. In the past, being elegant was far stricter and had more codes and rules. But today we are free to do whatever we want. The internet has changed the way people look at things, how people live, how people dress and how people behave too.

Whenever I look at your clothes, I always think of far-flung destinations. Is travel important to you as a designer?
Travel is important, but for my collections I travel mostly in my mind. I go to museums; I look on the internet, in books and in magazines. For inspiration, I only need one little idea, one small fragment, all the rest I can invent myself. When I started out as a young designer, I quite often thought I want to do a collection about such and such a place so I'd go there. But then I'd see so much that in fact I'd have too much information. I prefer to have one little hint of an idea and bring all the rest together as a team. 

That's something I really admire about you. you haven't felt like you have to do pre-collections. You've followed you own path very firmly. 
Quite often people think it's a trick of the system when in fact it's just reality. Reality forces you to make certain decisions. I didn't decide to be different and not do any publicity. I simply didn't have a budget to do publicity. When the company was growing I decided to invest in a fashion show instead. As a young designer, a page in a magazine or a campaign doesn't help you. Whereas a fashion show enables you to tell your story. I think fashion shows are really exciting. You can create an atmosphere. You have light, you have a soundtrack and you can tell your story in ten minutes flat, of what you've been working on for six months. This is also why I've decided not to do pre-collections. Of course, when you deliver new merchandise you sell more but I prefer to be busy with my fabrics, to work on prints and embroideries.