“There is a side that is more plastic that we are discovering at the moment: video, 3D printing, which is new on the market. The mix of craftmanship and technology was there since our early start and continues more than ever and, according to us, this cross between the two is what creates the most touching and strongest images,” says Schillebeeckx.
Their long-term vision is to become a collective of collaborators which acts as a one-stop artistic shop for clients. It is also a smart financial decision as it keeps the clothes on their backs during what can often be a painfully long process to gain recognition, although their label is doing quite well in the Asian market, most notably in Japan.
“Commercially and economically, it’s a less complicated way to create than fashion week which is every six months. Now we have short-term contracts so that allows the whole team to have a safety net to have a more solid business,” she says.
They’re not shelving the men’s and women’s wear collections, but have rather trimmed them down to under 20 pieces per season from their original 40 pieces per season. The Fall/Winter 2016/17 Inception collection was inspired by their current process of rebirth and renewal, but also marks a return to themselves and the unique aesthetic that nourishes each of them creatively. After that, it’s about symbiosis.
On the designers’ mood board during the brainstorming phase were images of explosions, churches and mosques, things breaking down, and flowers. Schillebeeckx described it as a contrast between violence and the poetic.
She points out that this all took place before the attacks in Brussels, but notes it was going on elsewhere in the world, which had influenced them.
“There is always this element of religion or the culture of belief (in our work) that we feel strongly about. We already had in the collection this balance between chaos and serenity. That’s what we’re talking about when we talk about the hippie world meeting religion, this confrontation. It’s the city turning in on itself… What’s the Latin phrase? To the city and to the world.”
Schillebeeckx walks me along the rack of the Krjst collection, pointing out de Moriamé’s 3D printed and hand-painted designs displayed on both the clothes and on paper wall hangings. The prints are kaleidoscopic, layer upon layer of visual origami. What starts as a swarm of hummingbirds becomes a horned otherworldly animal or a moth.
Call it a peace and love Rorschach for our troubled times.