MODEM: Tell us more about your background and why you chose to become fashion designers… Les Hommes:
Bart: I have been literally obsessed with fabrics and clothing from a very early age, this is why I went to an art institute and not to a “normal” school. I remember this TV program called “Blikvanger”, the TV-host was an ex model who was interviewing fashion designers, models, photographers. It was the time of the “Antwerp Six”, Belgium’s most influential avant-garde fashion collective, and the TV-show aired their shows, backstage footage, trips they did to London, etc. It was fascinating and this is exactly when I realized that it was what I wanted to do.
Tom: I was studying graphic design, but I was also clubbing a lot! I came to meet the most interesting and sometimes extravagant people while partying and got rather influenced in my designs, which were very fashion oriented, to the point that the professor that was tutoring me suggested me to do the fashion Academy.
MODEM: Belgium is reputed as a fashion-forward country. How would you describe Belgium’s contemporary fashion? Les Hommes: A modern silhouette, which expresses a mix of grace, strength and individuality.
MODEM: Do you relate to the design heritage of the Antwerp Six and Martin Margiela? Les Hommes: We do in a way that we all have a practical yet very individual approach to fashion. The imprinting is the same: rigor and discipline but most of all freedom of expressing oneself.
MODEM: What is your main source of inspiration? Les Hommes: It changes from one season to another, but mainly old black & white pictures, architecture photography, contemporary art – we love Anish Kapoor and Peter Halley. We also travel quite a lot, even if the choice of the destination is often tricky because at first we never seem to agree on where to go but then, once we actually are in the place we decided on, our eyes always look in the same direction.
MODEM: What are the main elements you take into consideration when you start designing a new collection? Les Hommes: Nowadays we need to focus on the markets we are catering for. Being an international brand means having to satisfy the needs of variety of customers, so the collections need to be balanced and exhaustive. It is important to find the perfect compromise between creativity and ‘sellability’.
MODEM: Who is your ideal customer?}} Les Hommes: Someone who cares about the way he dresses.