Ground-Zero was established 2003 in London by the young brothers Eri and Philip Chu. They started with unique graphic prints in order to reinterpret and to subvert the causal look. For them each collection is like an experiment with no rules. The unique graphic print has become a signature. The brothers started to design their own clothes by remaking vintage clothing. After graduating in graphic design, Eri gained the knowledge of cutting and tailoring through working for a classic tailor shop. Philip studied Fashion Design and Management at Middlesex University in London. In Paris they showed their line for the first time, in the nightclub “Le Magnifique”.
What was your way into fashion design?
Philip Chu : Eri is my older brother, so we met when I was born. (laughs). We both worked in our hometown Hongkong as graphic designers till I got fired. Eri is still working there, but in my opinion it’s a dead-end job anyway, but especially if you work for a company like this which is designing porn dvds! Meanwhile we played music, dreaming of a life as musicians, but it didn’t work. We were reading fashion magazines and and a age of 10 and 15 years old our mum and our sister took us to very high-end boutiques. Later, we discovered the street-wear for us. One day we designed a couple of T-shirts and it started from there.
Did you learn the craft of a fashion designer by yourself ?
P.C. : No, I went to England to study fashion design at the university. My Brother Eri stayed in Hongkong but he came very often to Europe so we could work together on our brand Ground Zero which we established in 2003. And London – the home of both traditional and street fashion became our inspiration, our muse.
What were you expecting from presenting in Paris for the first time ?
P.C. : For the Paris Fashion Week, people from all over the world are coming and actually this is good platform for us. I like to show here because you can see in Paris a particular mix of high-end, avantgarde and very traditional « old » fashion. There is an interesting attitude - arrogant, subtile, rebellious – and mixed together it’s quite beautiful.
How would you explain the name of your brand?
P.C. : Zero could be everything. Ground-Zero will not limit itself into just being a fashion brand. It can be diverged into anything, from graphics, music, video, art installation and more. The possibility of Ground-Zero is endless.
Your new collection has a lot of signs and messages written on the clothes like “This is just a fucking jacket”. Do you owe a lot to pop culture and do you want to have a ironic, even rebellious approach to fashion?
P.C. : Our idea was that if you think progressively there is nothing as progressive. If hundred years ago we already have known that there will be internet so we wouldn’t have been surprised by the invention of the telephone. The slogan “This is just a fucking jacket” on the clothes is this kind of comment on our “surprises”. Our concept is: You know already what the future is containing and we bring something from the future back. It’s to say: this jacket is not surprising. Maybe you won’t accept it now, but in the future everyone will wear it.
How are you working together?
E.C.: I’m doing all the graphics. P.C.: The concept and the story we develop together. Then I’m more involved in the actual fashion design, the fitting etc. Now we have a workshop in Hongkong and our whole team is working their. The production is cheaper, faster and Hongkong as a cities has a lot of supplies like fabric.
If you design the future for the present how do you see your fashion in ten years from now?
P.C.: We’re trying to get a mix of ready-to-wear and the street-wear. Only ten years ago you couldn’t have worn a trainer in very high-end club. Now you can, because society is changing. So present T-Shirts in more ready-to-wear-way, that means with more detail, and printed, maybe complicated jackets which still have an aspect of street-wear…
But then there pieces of your actual fall/winter-collection with very sophisticated folds and pleats which are closer to Couture than to the street. Could you explain it?
P.C.: Yes, it looks more like couture but it’s part of the same theme of a futuristic styles. I don’t know why I’m so in to it! Films like “Robocop” had an enormous impact on us…Somehow I’m always fascinated by the idea of wearing something which turns you into a robot!