Fashionclash#11 – All photos by Pasarella Photography! I am in LOVE with Ashley Luypaers and her collection ‘PEACOCKING’. The collection reflects upon the manifestation of self-expression within menswear, shaped by traditional and cultural ideas of masculinity. Featuring traditional tailoring and references from the MMA and (kick)boxing culture, the collection is a personal translation of social changes, discussions and dialogues on male identity. Read below our interview with the young designer.
KALTBLUT: Fashion – Makes Sense ?? What does this means to you?
Fashion for me always carries a deeper meaning, a message. I strongly believe that Fashion is an art form,functioning as a creative expression for personal values and an unique identity. Fashion has the power to communicate strong and critical messages to the rest of the world, and therefor is inherently connected to culture, politics and society. I believe fashion- and art in general- reflects a social zeitgeist.
KALTBLUT: Hello. Welcome to KALTBLUT. Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH Festival?
I got to know Nawie Kuiper, Branko Popovic and Laurens Hamacher several years ago while still studying at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design. They worked hard to create a creative platform that is freeing and unique. Young designers and creatives are encouraged to be themselves and carry out their message and vision with the world. It is such a precious environment where basically anything is possible as a designer, and you are surrounded with many other international talents. You can be you, and you won’t be pushed into a certain mold.It was an absolute goal for me to showcase my graduation collection on this platform.
KALTBLUT: Can you tell us something about the collection you presented at the FASHIONCLASH Festival 2019? What was your inspiration?
The collection is the result of an artistic research into self-expression within Menswear. Central to the designs are the notions of self-expression and individual identity. The collection “Peacocking” reflects upon how these notions stand in relation to current fashion, and how male fashion, in my opinion, has been limited by traditionally and culturally informed ideas of masculinity.
The collection features traditional tailoring, combined with inspiration from the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)and (kick)boxing culture, translated into bold prints, fabrics and silhouettes. Challenging traditional norms, associations and expectations of male fashion.
With the growing social desire to create personal autonomy and identity, my aspiration as a designer is to reflect this into male fashion by creating more freedom and a wider perspective on the social concept of masculinity. Therefore, this collection functions as a starting point. A starting point for dialogues. A starting point for further research. A starting point to change traditional beliefs which, in my opinion, do not reflect today’s society anymore.
KALTBLUT: What kind of material did you used for the collection?
For the collection I used a lot of second hand male suits which, for example, got cut up in the patchwork of the Pied-de-Poule blazer jacket.
Next to that, I collaborated with Knitwearlab to develop my own knits in extra fine Merino wool.
Together with Dutch Rose Media, a tech company from Eindhoven, we applied the technology of Augmented Reality onto the prints and the collection. With this extra layer added to the physical piece of clothing I aspire to raise the value of a single clothing item, resulting in people cherish it for a longer time and buying less since this digital layer can be altered infinitely.
Next to clothing, I created gold plated leopard brooches and cufflinks, which are a representation of my personal family heritage.
KALTBLUT: What challenges did you face during the design process?
From the start of my study I often struggled between the balance of theory and practice. I love to research and write. With my graduation project, I finally got the freedom to do a lot of research and write an extensive thesis on the subject. yet, at some point you’ll have to translate it into something visual. That is often my moment of struggle and at the same time the most valuable part of my process.
During graduating I learned to follow my instinct, and trust myself in my own decision-making – very cliché but also very true.
My teacher once gave me the advice: You are your work. Nothing you are doing is wrong because it comes straight out of you. All the decisions you made in the process, will make sense to you in the end.
I will never forget that valuable piece of feedback. It is good to remember this when you are too far up in your head, afraid you will screw things up.
KALTBLUT: How would you describe yourself and your work?
I would say driven,disciplined,caringanda (over) thinker. I use fashion to communicate and express my internal thoughts or concerns within society, therefor I always put a lot of myself into my work. I aspire to make a change, or at least start a conversation. I believe design is a wonderful way to do so.
KALTBLUT: What would you say that is the biggest influence to your design process?
In the early stages of the process I watched the Dutch documentary ‘Man made’ by Sunny Bergman, which was a huge inspiration for me. Furthermore I would say a lot of valuable research and the helpful feedback from my thesis mentor, who guided me into documenting all the chaos and ideas that were in my head.
And above all,the men who were so open to start a conversation and provided me with some really helpful ideas.
KALTBLUT: If you had not become a fashion designer, what would you do instead?
I think I would have gone more into the direction of Graphic Design and Photography. I have thisneed to understand things happening around me, document them and visualize them. This need to analyse and create are two fundamental parts of me that will find its way back into anything I decide to do I think.
KALTBLUT: Who’s your dream client?
The basic message in my collection is, you do you and let’s encourage the people who are pushing the boundaries. Let’s be more open minded in general. Men like Timothée Chalamet, Harry Styles, Patrick Mason, Alessandro Michelle, Asap Rocky and Billy Porter (and the list goes on) are huge inspirations for this collection and would be dream clients.
KALTBLUT: What was the first item you have ever designed? And who was the lucky one to get it?
I believe the first thing ever made was a skirt for my mom made from a rectangle, cut out of curtain fabric. I hand stitched everything with needle and thread. I think being the good mom she is, she kept it.
KALTBLUT: What can we expect from you in near future?
After graduating I feel like I want to absorb everything there is to learn for as long as possible. For now I have a full time job to pay off the debts I made in Art School –let’s be realistic, it’s hell ass expensive.However my goal for the near future is to specialize and focus on Menswear, expanding my knowledge as Junior Designer or starting a Masters next year. My dream would be to eventually combine Graphic design, Photography and Fashion.