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iquel Boutens

Flanders Fashion Institute x Scoop International

With graduate fashion season all over and done with, two newly minted designers from Belgium venture across the Channel to this weekend's Saatchi expo

Each year, Flanders Fashion Institute grants an award to a graduate from the Fashion Department of the Antwerp Academy and to a graduate from the Ghent Academy (KASK). The prize offers them the unique opportunity to stage their final collection on an international stage at Scoop International. With London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery as a backdrop, Klaas Rommelaere (KASK) and Miquel Boutens (Artesis) have selected two silhouettes each, to be presented in the Belgian Pavillion. Miquel’s whimsical menswear aesthetic is an expression of a childlike innocence, a polar opposite to Klaas’ energetic and active interpretation of a modern man surrounded by technology.

For my prints I looked at glitch art, the kind of art that arises when a computer crashes or freezes. You can’t control those visuals, you never know how they will turn out

Dazed Digital: Your graduate collection is titled ‘Megahell’, and it’s all about technology. Why this interest?
Klaas Rommelaere:
I read a book by Chuck Palahniuk where he writes that watching television and surfing the internet is the same as being dead, because it has the same passive interaction. That’s a very conservative vision and I wanted to do something contrastive with that new technology, something active with the internet and computers, but then in a fashion context. First I was going to make a collection about nerds but then I figured that everybody is a nerd nowadays. We all have phones, cameras and computers.  Technology isn’t for a select subculture, it’s mainstream, we can’t escape from it. Today, there are people who use that new technology to rise against governments and big companies. I like the idea of hacking – it’s a way to be active with technology. I wanted to hack fashion. The collection is about twelve guys who are wandering about in Megahell. They are constantly obsessing about cellphones , faxmachines and all things technology. They are doomed to stay there forever, surrounded by these machines.

DD: Why are the two silhouettes at Scoop representative?
Klaas Rommelaere:
For my prints I looked at glitch art, the kind of art that arises when a computer crashes or freezes. You can’t control those visuals, you never know how they will turn out. Instead of just printing them on fabrics I made them by hand, using techniques like embroidery and smyrna. I like  the idea of hacking those old crafts and turn them into something modern. Both silhouettes at Scoop make use of these handmade fabrics, combined with the prints.

DD: What’s your personal favourite piece from your collection?
Klaas Rommelaere:
It’s hard to pick just one. I enjoyed hand-making everything, from the prints, to the fabrics and the accessories. But I think I like the hand-embroidered sweater with silk rayon the most. Almost all of my friends and family worked on it. It’s a really bright piece, I like the texture. The front has a crazy print inspired by distortions of a computer.

DD: This is your first introduction to the international fashion scene … what are your ambitions after this?
Klaas Rommelaere:
In July, I will be working with the visual artist Brecht Vandenbroucke on a piece for his exhibition in Breda, Holland. We’re going to make a garment that will function as a sculpture. I’m very excited to be part of this, because it puts fashion in a different perspective. In September, I am going to Copenhagen for an internship with Henrik Vibskov untill March. After that I want to go to Paris or Antwerp for another internship but with whom I don’t know yet ...


Dazed Digital: Why are these two silhouettes at Scoop representative for you?
Miquel Boutens:
They show the two directions of the collection. The first one, titled "The boy who writes on water" shows my use of classical tailoring and a more elegant look. The second one "The boy who flies beyond the sun" is more soft and fragile. In the collection I’ve used elements of the sky such as stars, the sun and the clouds as inspirations to build the pieces. I worked a lot with the sun, and the changes between night and day. In this silhouette it looks like the boy uses sunshine to make wings.

DD: What’s your personal favourite piece from your collection?
Miquel Boutens:
“The boy who writes on water". It’s the first silhouette I’ll show there. Every silhouette is a representation of a naïve idea that seems logical to a child but is impossible in the world of grown-ups. I wanted to create a print that would have the effect of writing with ink in water. You get these ephemeral structures, which I tried to transform into a more baroque motif in Delft-blue, so that it would still feel light.

DD: What are your ambitions for the future?
Miquel Boutens:
After this, I will be interning at Essentiel for a couple of mounts, but after that nothing is planned yet. I don't want to limit myself by already choosing to either work for a company or as a freelance designer.

Scoop International is on from 8 until 10 July at Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s Headquarters, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY

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