As part of their new Conscious category initiative, luxury retail platform Browns tapped Dutch designer and LVMH nominee Duran Lantink to create an exclusive capsule collection, which launched Wednesday, 16 October 2019.
SHOWstudio first spotlighted Lantink during the 2019 International Fashion Showcase, later collaborating with Lantink on an explosive two-day shoot, The Bargain Hunters, in which Lantink, Nick Knight and stylist Simon Foxton harmonised in capturing Lantink's infectious cut-and-paste stylings.
Lantink's aesthetic perhaps is best shown in this one-of-a-kind capsule, as the likes of OFF-WHITE, Balenciaga, Prada and Acne - taken from the Browns warehouse - have been spliced and sliced into 45 completely new and unique pieces, spanning both men's and women's. Reworked outerwear, tiered dresses and deconstructed denim feature. Bespoke and expertly-crafted, these collaged creations breathe a new life into previously unused items, helping steer the conversation toward considerate and conscious fashion.
Below, SHOWstudio fashion editor Georgina Evans speaks to Lantink post-event.
Georgie Evans: When did this collaboration first begin?
Duran Lantink: I met Cos (Costanza Lombardi, Junior Buyer) for the first time at the LVMH prize semi-finals. She was super sweet, ‘Oh, my God, we need to do something together. We're looking into sustainable fashion but I never find anything that I think is fashionable. It's always heavy but yours is so playful. So please, please, please come to the office.’ And that's how it started. A week later, after LVMH, I flew to London to meet Cos and the Browns team. They were very generous in letting me develop my ideas with high fashion items, they really understood that I need beautiful pieces to create a collection and not just things that they don't want anymore. They gave me the freedom to select the pieces that had no life anymore.
GE: Tell me about some of those pieces that you are breathing new life into?
DL: We went to the Browns warehouse and there was a lot of stock. I had two days to go through it. I went kind of fast through it though, I was done in two hours! The moment I see the stock, I start making collages in my head, the design process directly starts. I'm fast with putting it all together and there were so many good pieces.
GE: What is it you're looking for?
DL: I just let the pieces talk. A lot of traditional designers start with an idea, 'this year say it's flowers' but that's really not how I work. I go in with a blank canvas. There was one green PVC jacket, then there was a rubber orange skirt, they were the starting points. There were so many good pieces, it was like going into a candy shop. It was so good! I was like 'oh my god, how can this be here!' All these archive pieces, really old ones but also, last season ones that got damaged a bit and people just don't want anymore. It's terrible but it's good for me because I can do something with it. From there I directly start creating pieces, and they're all unique. It's not that I do a whole collection where there's a theme, it's really that every piece is treated individually. I think that's important. If you look at people walking on the street today, it's somehow one big uniform because everybody looks at Instagram and they all look the same. You do mix nowadays, there's almost nobody anymore in the streets wearing a full Prada or wearing a full Gucci. It's always mixed, which is good for me because I can cut up and create. On a personal level, and also an individual level with each piece. Sometimes you have two pieces that are similar, I start using the same materials in two pieces because it fits well.
GE: Do you think someone on the street would recognise your work?
DL: Mm, I would like to try to figure out a new way of presenting designs. When something is broken or logo’d I always use embroidery. I don't do any labels on my clothes. It's always recognisable by a little bit of a signature, like orange embroidery. But only a little, I still have a small ego. (laughs)
GE: Let's talk about the sustainability factor, it's something you've been doing for a long time but it is a bit of a buzzword at the moment.
DL: I'm scared about that, it's very scary that people are overusing it. In a sense it's good because you think 'Oh people are starting to recognise' but it shouldn't be a topic that's hot it should be a topic that's sustainable. It should always be a hot topic. It should be at the core of designing and presenting but also for buying. With everything.
GE: Well, hopefully, this capsule can lead the way. I heard it did exceptionally well at the launch last night?
DL: Yeah, it did. It's exciting. I think it's important to make unique pieces. Somehow we need to find a way to make it sustainable and a business. To grow but also remaining exclusive. You want anyone wearing your jacket to feel unique. If you buy into a certain type of fashion I always had this ideology that fashion is something where you feel really special and where you separate yourself from the rest instead of being one global hype. There's nothing wrong with being a global hype, just personally for me, it's not how fashion looks in my mind.