The emerging menswear designer talks us through his creative process, his aesthetic and a newfound confidence to wear his own designs
It doesn’t happen very often for a fashion design student’s collection to be lauded by Jefferson Hack in Dazed & Confused when only in the second year, but that’s exactly what happened to Angelo Van Mol. He graduated last year at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, winning coveted prizes such as the Motivation Award by Anne Chapelle (founder of BVBA 32, the company behind Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester) and had some very interested buyers from avant-garde boutiques Stijl and RA knocking on his door. Angelo decided to start off a freelance design career while also focusing on his main goal: creating collections for his eponymous menswear label.
His ready-to-wear collection for Spring/Summer 2012 is a nod to formal menswear freshened up with suprise colour elements and luxe sportswear influences. Austere black garments are softened by powder hues and interrupted by flashes of electric blue, minty green and tangerine. The firmly structured garments are clean cut but always the result of a more complicated research process that becomes apparent in the details. Angelo often makes use of unusual, innovative fabrics such as spacer – an improved neoprene-type material – and he adds subtle luxurious embellishments such as metallic gold thread, unconventional buttons and meticulous quilting. Angelo recently moved to London, so Dazed Digital sat the ambitous designer down to gain some insight into his work.
DD: You often wear your own garments on a day to day basis – was there something missing in menswear that made you want to design it yourself?
Angelo Van Mol: Lately I started wearing my own garments more and more, because I feel more comfortable with my own creations. My early work isn’t up to the standard I wanted to achieve. I think there is nothing really missing in menswear but I find the industry doesn’t offer the best creations due to industry demands. I don’t think that I should improve fashion, but I definitely feel that I want to share my vision on menswear with the world. Some really beautiful garments never make it into the stores because they are too expensive to produce, which is a shame.
DD: What kind garments do you enjoy wearing the most?
Angelo Van Mol: My first and utmost love lies in luxury combined with sportswear. These elements, placed in the frame of formal menswear are the key ingredients of Angelo Van Mol.
DD: How would you describe your aesthetic?
Angelo Van Mol: I feel that I’m still growing towards the aesthetic that I want to achieve. But to be concrete, the essence of my vision would be sharp defined silhouettes, luxury fabrics, directional concepts and strong details.
DD: Is there a constant element to be found in your work?
Angelo Van Mol: There are certainly some significant points that reoccur in every collection, such as emboidery, hints of colour and sportswear elements. The most important aspect to my work is the overall luxurious feel of the garments, in terms of finishings, fabric and artisanal craftsmanship. Shoes are another focus in my work, and something I always design for every collection. I would like to explore footwear as a separate path in the future.
DD: On your website you share your sketches and inspirations, such as old photographs. Where does your creation process start?
Angelo Van Mol: My research into a plausible concept for a collection is the first step. From the moment that I see that I have something tangible, I experiment with that idea. If that results into a proper garment that I feel translates my initial feeling, that will be the starting point which defines the further development of the collection. How I continue on from this point really depends on the look I want to convey. For example, in my last collection, I wanted it to be sharp, creaseless and crisp. The long double-breasted coat with notched lapels was the starting point of this collection because it completely achieved the clean look I aimed for.
DD: What does the future have in store for you?
Angelo Van Mol: My mom told me to not kiss and tell! But next season I will definitely present something again.
Photos by Zeb Daemen