|Fotografie: Olga Simonenko|
Q&A with the designer Charlotte Kiekebos:
How would you describe your work? What is your technique?
My work is influenced by the basic rules and codes of fashion design. However, my objective is to create a new atmosphere by manipulating the basic rules of design, e.g. by adding detracting or combining elements. This perspective is soundly reflected in all ‘Studio Kiekebos’ designs and it creates a new reactionary experience. In principle, I prefer to place my designs within a decor, in which I add abstract and graphic elements. During the design process I use Moulage, a technique that creates shapes with fabric on the human body.
Have you shown your collections before, if so, where?
I have already exposed the project “Ik ben de vorm/ I am the shape” at OBJECT in Rotterdam. Last year I also created a design for VERWEVEN at FASHIONCLASH. This is the first time I am presenting the label ‘Studio Kiekebos’ at FASHIONCLSH.
Who are your artistic influences or inspirations? Why?
I am mainly inspired by graphic and conceptual arts. In my work with ‘Studio Kiekebos’ I like to look at daily life and our perception of it. Old books and children’s books that can be found at thrift stores are also a source of inspiration for me.
Finding your own voice is difficult, where and how do you find your personal creativity?
I am intrigued by how people move and interact within society during the course of daily life. I observe ordinary objects of everyday life and I analyze their shapes and stories. I start my design process by creating my own graphic decors, a ‘world’ in which I place my models.
|Charlotte Kiekebos at VERWEVEN 2014|
“My design process is not necessarily defined by gender but the female form, without obvious curves.”
What was the most important thing your parents taught you, that you now bring into your work?
As a child, I was always triggered by the smallest details around me. From a very early age, my parents would take me to exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, always reminding me to look at details. I remember that I activated the alarm more than once at a Jeff Koons exhibition, because I wanted to touch the objects. Let’s face it; those sweets always have an irresistible attraction!
Have you recently experienced something that totally blew your mind?
Guy de Cointet is a graphic designer who I discovered when I was doing research for ROGGVIB. He does not only create amazing graphic works, but he is also a performance artist who has established himself within the fashion world. I never heard of him before, but he has certainly inspired me for the collection that would be presented at FASHIONCLASH.
What is your most favorite accessory? Why?
Brooches! I don’t really wear jewelry, but I always wear a brooch. Even though, a fair collection of brooches designed by others can be found in my closet, I have started designing my own brooches already for my label.
What is your most favorite brand? Why?
A.P.C. and Marni. A.P.C. creates simple designs without frills, which can be worn in all occasions. Sometimes perhaps a little twee, but I quite like this. I adore Marni for the use of colors, imagination, and fabrics. ‘Shape’ is central to Marni’s designs too. Thick, sometimes unwieldy, fabrics are used to create sharp lines and silhouettes.
How would you define fashion?
In fashion, the creator always tries to find new shapes and so do I. In fashion three elements are combined to tell a story; the actual piece of clothing, the thought behind it, and the final photographed version of the piece. It is this story I am always searching for.
“You need to be both a loner and a people’s person.”
Are you a people's person or a loner?
I love being in my own world, pondering about things. However, there comes a time, when I have to step out of this world into reality. I find this both confronting and exciting. These contradictions, in my opinion, are inherent when you are a designer. You need to be both a loner and a people’s person.
What do you strive for in your work?
I would like to give the audience a reactionary experience and I want to make them wonder. I aim at pushing boundaries within fashion. Painters use their canvas and I use the human body. It is a tool to present my story, whereby the model is subject to the garment. The actual function of the garment is secondary.
What makes your items different from others? What is your designing philosophy?
I am not a traditional designer in the sense that I use my models to create a new form. I divide the model into shapes and change human proportions. By doing this, I am trying to present the world in the way that I would like to see it. I enjoy the process of Moulage; looking at the proportions, distancing myself, and then adding or removing. Naturally, the catwalk is the final result, but the design process is imperative.
Fashion needs to progress year in year out, how do you keep innovating?
By simply looking at the world around me! I also visit museums and observe other creative disciplines. Society is always changing and developing and so do I. I believe, this is an advantage because I will never stop looking at the world in wonder.
“I will never stop looking at the world in wonder.”
|Fotografie: Marjolein Audrey Banis|
I believe there is a shift in the traditional gender system. This is already noticeable! For example, there are babies who are raised by families with a genderless mindset. These kids would not have toys such as cars and dolls, but genderless toys such as stuffed animals and building blocks. With toys that are not specifically designed for a boy or a girl the kids can find their own way. This is a modern and perceptive way to raise a child. So, yes, I think there is a shift, but I think it will take a while before the traditional gender system disappears.
What are your thoughts on the idea that unisex is the new androgynous in fashion?
I create blocks from shapes. My design process is not necessarily defined by gender but the female form, without obvious curves, which is my initial starting point.
What happens when you have to use all senses to create a reality?
In my collection ROGGVIB, a rainbow symbolizes the bridge between reality and fantasy. The rainbow is a phenomenon that is intangible but carries so much of a symbolism and myth.
Why have you decided to participate at FASHIONCLASH Festival?
I think, FASHIONCLASH is one of the most well known events for fashion designers to expose conceptual and performance designs. Fashion is a very broad concept. Displaying the label ‘Studio Kiekebos’ to an international audience event is a perfect and natural choice for me.