Luke Meier on the Beauty of Function

by Hetty Mahlich on 10 February 2023

The OAMC designer and co-creative director of Jil Sander tells editor Hetty Mahlich about the OAMC S/S 23 collection, and what luxury means to him.

The OAMC designer and co-creative director of Jil Sander tells editor Hetty Mahlich about the OAMC S/S 23 collection, and what luxury means to him.

Designer Luke Meier is the ultimate purveyor of desire. Launching the menswear label OAMC in 2013 with Arnaud Faeh, and taking on the role of creative director of Italian luxury brand Jil Sander in 2017 alongside his wife Lucie Meier, the Canadian has set upon producing clothes that are as wearable as they are seductive. For Meier, form and function sit in harmony.

Trained at FIT in New York, with a year spent at Florentine fashion school Polimoda where he met his wife, Meier also has a background in finance and business policy. Working as the head designer for global streetwear phenomenon Supreme over eight years, both an obsession with the details and intricacies of design, together with an understanding of the backbone of business, has resulted in Meier bringing meteoric success to the brands he has helmed in the luxury market.

Since debuting for S/S 14 at Paris Fashion Week, OAMC has elevated utilitarian staples, peppered with Meier's interest in art, photography and music. Over the years, OAMC has made numerous collaborations with artist's estates such as that of John Baldesssari, Robert Rauschenberg, Daido Moriyama and Constantin Brancusi, as well as the Musèe du Louvre. Entwined with Meier's authentic understanding of culture, OAMC often releases collections in small, drop like formats, also working with the likes of adidas, Fragment Design, Supreme and Provoke, the Japanese publication.

Each season, OAMC updates popular staples with new colourways and design details, such as the diagonal zippers which perforate S/S 23. The iconic Peacemaker jacket, made from U.S. military surplus, is continually developed rather than reinvented - a lesson the rest of the industry could do well to take note of. OAMC's Re:Work division, first introduced for S/S 22, repurposes vintage garments and materials which are brought down to their bare bones then built up again. High-end Italian craftsmanship is a through-line; the buttery leather draped tops and weightless knitwear are standouts this season.

SHOWstudio's Editor Hetty Mahlich caught up with the designer to talk about the latest OAMC S/S 23 collection, and what luxury means in Meier's world.

Luxury is inseparable from the concept of time. In my opinion, spending time outdoors is one of the greatest luxuries. - Luke Meier

Hetty Mahlich: How do you balance beauty and function at OAMC?

Luke Meier: The importance is equal. We work in tandem with volume, silhouette, and shape so that the garments resonate on a level that we find beautiful and inspiring, while at the same time we explore the techniques, materials, and details that will make them perform in a superior way. Inherently something that functions well has its own beauty; we just want to enhance that concept from our own perspective.

HM: Could you tell us about some of the fabric treatments in the S/S 23 collection, in particular the tie dye pieces and denim?

LM: We have worked deeply on dye, printing, and functionality within fabric, using natural processes.  Look 19 is a Japanese black denim which we have added a matte coating to, sanded by hand, and then cold dyed to achieve the uneven effect.


HM: What was the source for the graphic flower print in this collection, and what role do graphic prints have in a more minimal wardrobe offering?

LM: The images were inspired by Alpine flora. We included these to give a visual presence to the environment we were studying for the collection. That environment of course instigated the functional garment conversation, but we also wanted to add some of the more delicate and natural elements as well. The flowers felt like the right symbol.

HM: Could you tell us about the geometric and numerical symbols used in the knitwear?

LM: We worked on graphic layouts and typography that recalled the hand-set lettering of early climbing and outdoor magazines.  Working in this style of graphics, we wanted to skew and morph them away from simple print, so we translated them through an open-stitch mohair base. I like the way that something so graphic immediately became so soft and abstract due entirely to the technique.


HM: Why do outdoors and mountaineering garments have an affinity with luxury? Is it to do with form and function, or something else?

LM: Outdoor and mountaineering garments inspire a feeling of freedom, or challenge, and of performance. Images of being outside, in beautiful if challenging environments, on an adventure, always lend energy and a feeling of positivity. There is also an element of time that is associated with the outdoors: taking the time to explore and to travel. Luxury is inseparable from the concept of time. In my opinion, spending time outdoors is one of the greatest luxuries.


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