Fashion t-shirt (limited edition): who designed them?
From the designer who dressed Lizzo and Michelle Obama to the pupil of Haider Ackermann: we meet the four designers who participated in Net-a-Porter’s Vanguard spring summer 2020 project. The luxury retailer project that promotes emerging talents, launched in 2018, gives great visibility to young brands, and this year launches four T-shirts of Fashion limited-edition (which you can buy here).
We spoke to the four designers of the Vanguard 2020 project – Christopher John Rogers, Johannes Boehl Cronau from Ioannes, Sahar Asvandi from S.Joon and Marie-Christine Statz from Gauchere – to discuss sustainability in the fashion industry; inclusion and representation; and how they interact with their audience in a complicated time like this.
1. Christopher John Rogers
“People must feel that they have control over their personal affairs”
Christopher John Rogers launched his namesake brand in 2018, and only a year later he won the CFDA / Fashion Fashion Fund that rewards emerging talents. Then he presented his first post-CFDA collection to New York Fashion Week
You were born in Louisiana: how did growing up in that context inspire your work?
“Whether it was going to mass or the debutante ball, when I was little everything revolved around the idea of dressing elegant, to be sure that the shoes matched the bag, which then had to match the hat, which then matched the gloves. And even if you didn’t have much money, you did everything you could to show yourself in your best light. “
Photographs by Christopher John Rogers of the textures that inspired him during the creation
© Christopher John Rogers
Tell us about your creative process …
“It is very instinctive, and visceral, so it changes constantly. Except for the images on Instagram – anything from art images to friends of friends who maybe wear a shirt that I find cool – and I put together a series of photos without a specific theme. From there, I start a dialogue. My autumn winter 2020 collection – based on the idea of distorting and manipulating fabrics, in fact you can see the folds, the ruffles, the very precise sartorial work, all done by hand – is inspired by all the things that have obsessed me since I went to live in New York in 2016. “
How do you balance the creative aspect with the commercial needs of a brand?
“We have basic button-down shirts, more practical tailored trousers and jackets, but that’s not necessarily what buyers want. So you have to know how to juggle a bit, “I keep making less eccentric clothes, now that people buy our creations” But I try not to think about it too much, it just comforts me that what I do works “.
Inspirational photographs always taken by the designer
© Christopher John Rogers
How do you take sustainability into account in the creative part and in the commercial choices you make for the brand?
“Paying a fair salary. And we don’t want to create things that people don’t need, or don’t have a purpose. “
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
“I’d like to see real growth in the number of young brands supported by the fashion industry, especially black and queer designers. It would be fantastic if they appeared in fashion services, and to see the shops choose some of their garments, if only to understand how it goes. It would be a way for young brands to understand if they work. “
Backstage of Christopher John Rogers spring summer 2020 show
© Photography Emma Craft, Courtesy of Christopher John Rogers
Your fall winter 2020 collection focused on the power of scenographic fashion. Why do you think the audience likes it right now?
“Obviously because of the pandemic – and from a political point of view in America – there is a lot of uncertainty. But we want people to feel they have control over their personal stories, to be able to express what they are, especially at a time when people think they can’t, or that they don’t they should be yourself. They ask me, ‘Ah, so are you giving them an opportunity to escape from reality?’ I don’t think so; you can put a balloon skirt to go to the office if you’re the CEO, and be the most modern of all. “
It is you who wear clothes, not vice versa
Former Central Saint Martins student, Johannes Boehl Cronau looks at the essentials of the way we dress, and since he launched his brand, Ioannes, in 2018, prefers technical knitwear, transparent tops and floppy boots
Your clothes offer a point of view on the way we dress, focusing on the most essential and ‘rough’ elements. What do you think are the garments that characterize a modern wardrobe today?
“What I’m looking for is aattitude spontaneous: every garment must fall perfectly on the body. You need a nice pair of pants, a nice jacket, and then a T-shirt or a pair of shorts that you really like to wear. It is you who wear clothes, not vice versa. Our printed dress is a popular item because it is easy to wear. “
Sketchbook scans illustrating Johannes Boehl Cronau’s creative process
© Johannes Boehl
You come from a family of carpenters, from the German countryside. Has manual labor always been central to your creations?
“Manual work and the creative act have always been essential in my way of seeing life. Creating something with your own hands, and working with other people are the most important things. “
You presented two of your collections at the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris: how does art influence you?
“I feel very at home in spaces like this. Even when I was a student, the Palais de Tokyo was my favorite place in Paris. Presenting my first collection there was fantastic, because they gave me a space to use as I wanted in the 12 hours when the museum remained open. The rehearsals, the shooting of the lookbook, the fitting of the clothes and the parade, everything was open, as well as to the guests, to the museum visitors. And my next collection will be in collaboration with an artist I like very much. “
You were a pupil of Haider Ackermann and you attended a very demanding course, the Womenswear MA of Central Saint Martins. The best advice on your work you’ve ever received?
“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, of being open to feedback and lessons you can learn. And think in the long run about what you want to do, and what you are excited about. Also, what you probably don’t want to hear is perhaps what you need to hear. “
How do you manage a creative block?
“I’m not afraid of creative blocks. I’m still too happy to do what I do. “
I like women who are boldly themselves
Anglo-Iranian accessory designer Sahar Asvandi founded S. Joon in 2017. Its DNA is based on “considered luxury”, responsibly chosen luxury products. Her Tulip bag is now a brand signature accessory.
Initially you studied dance. How did you switch to accessories?
“I started working as a teacher after graduation and then I started looking for vintage and designer pieces to sell on eBay. Bags were selling a lot, so I started thinking about how to make my own. It all started from there. The arts in general inspire me, especially sculpture and architecture, they are visible in the shape of my bags. Above all, I consider the shape, the clean lines, the structure, and the way in which a bag “adapts” to the shape of the body (this is seen especially in the Teardrop and Milk Pail models). Right now I am studying new ways of experimenting with different structures and I want to explore also less rigid forms “.
A sketch that illustrates the creative process of Sahar Asvandi
© Sahar Asvandi
Who would you like to see with one of your bags?
“I love Solange. Everything he does inspires me, and the people he collaborates with are simply amazing. And Lizzo is also fabulous: I like women who are boldly themselves. “
The brand name, S.Joon is inspired by your Persian origins. How does this affect your work?
“It’s part of who I am, and it’s part of the brand in a wider context. I take inspiration from the most diverse places, for example I was in Hong Kong and this thing shines through in my new collections. And then there are the life experiences. When I got engaged I received tulips: at that moment I was drawing sketches, and I was inspired by those flowers, that’s how the Tulip bag was born. I sit down, start drawing, and things come out. “
Being progressive means redefining the spirit of time
Founded in 2013 by French designer Marie-Christine Statz, Gauchere redefines contemporary womenswear with impeccable sartorial cuts and measured proportions.
Tell us about your creative process, from the sketch to the production
“I often start with a moodboard inspired by art or architecture. From there, I explain to my small team the shapes and colors that I have in mind, and I usually plan a trip to find the fabrics and materials that have texture, structure and body. Then I start drawing from scratch and work closely with the model maker. From the first sketch to the final garment throughout the process, we always try to remain consistent with the original idea. “
Photographs of Christine Statz in her studio with her moodboard hanging on the wall and her fabrics
© Marie Christine Statz
You said in the past that Gauchere’s woman is progressive. Do you want to tell us more?
“It is undoubtedly part of today’s society. He knows what he wants, whether he is an architect, a mother, a teacher. Women play so many roles in everyday life, I myself am surrounded by the extraordinary women of my team. Being progressive means redefining the spirit of the time and the idea of today’s woman “.
Your autumn winter 2020 collection included structured silhouettes, a well-defined waistline and a ton sur ton color palette. What was on your moodboard?
“I always try to focus on form, textures and silhouettes. Brutalist architecture influenced the collection, I liked its principles of inclusion and sobriety. The AI20 collection considers materials in their purest form and includes a series of geometric structures, but at the same time wants to be feminine “.
Photographs of Marie-Christine Statz in her study
© Marie Christine Statz
Last season you collaborated with stylist Samuel François on a series of large gold pins for the collection. Will you still work together?
“It was an honor for me to work with him, it was interesting to apply the idea of brutalism to jewelry and think about how to integrate it into clothes. We will probably cooperate again in the future. I am interested in everything that comes close to the three-dimensional element, the structure and the play of proportions. And even working on shoes or bags could be a new idea to explore in the future “.
You are German by birth, you studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York and today you live in Paris. How has all this influenced Gauchere?
“I lived in New York for seven years, a period sufficient to assimilate the New York mentality, and I have been in Paris for a while. Now I understand it more clearly, but this businesswoman I have in mind, a woman who has a look that’s good from morning until evening, is something that could in fact come from my experience in New York. There are many different cultures that intertwine in the Gauchere brand, but above all the brand wants to represent the idea of a cosmopolitan woman “.
Vanguard of Net-a-Porter launches four limited edition Fashion T-shirts on May 18, available worldwide
© Courtesy of Yoox Net-a-Porter