You recently collaborated with Tanguy Van Quickenborne, who is in the natural stone business. What exactly did that entail?
I’ve known Tanguy for quite some time and had been wanting to set up something with him. My first show at Pitti Uomo, the men’s fashion fair in Florence, was the ideal opportunity. I integrated marble in a fashion collection with pads and key chains, inspired by the shoulder and knee protectors used in skating, a subculture I grew up in. I made marble ‘wearable’, in combination with softer fashion fabrics such as leather. At the same time Tanguy and I jointly developed a bookend in natural stone. We also worked on a limited-edition book that explained the whole design and development process behind the collection. I found it extremely exciting to, for once, create something that lies outside the world of fashion.
What is it exactly about natural stone that inspires you?
What Tanguy does goes so much further than supplying natural stone to real-estate developers or people that want a kitchen-table top. He’s expanding Van Den Weghe in a unique manner, by means of very focussed collaborations with artists, fashion designers, cooks, designers, architects, and what have you. Thanks to his open outlook on life, he breaks through barriers. Through this approach he helps you to observe marble and natural stone from a different angle. Marble is a precious product in and of itself, and when pulled out of its traditional context, it becomes even more precious.
Craftsmanship and technical innovation: two elements that characterise both the world of natural stone and your vision of fashion.
A lot of fashion these days is purely visual: a buzz is born on instagram, it is picked up massively, and then dies a quick death. That’s not what I’m after. A fashion designer like me spends much time on craftsmanship and the ‘architecture’ of fashion. A fashion item that has been ‘built’ with a love of fabrics and attention to detail has its price. Such quality requires an explanation that goes beyond a pretty picture on instagram. For me, in fashion everything starts with craft techniques, but without losing sight of innovation. It’s the same with natural stone: the material is the same as centuries ago, but the days of hammer and chisel are gone forever. What happens when craftsmanship and technology come together fascinated me from day one when I was designing technical clothing for Adidas. This is exciting in fashion, but also in architecture, design, and interior- three of my other passions.