Next in our series of profiles highlighting recent and current students studying under Walter Van Beirendonck at the Royal Academy of Antwerp Fashion Department is Manon Kündig. Celebrated for her 2nd year 'Teddy Beard' collection, which brought a variety of unusual textures and fabrics into suiting, including fine Alpaca wool and thick hole punched felted wools, Kündig also caused a sensation with the collections headwear. Created to mimic beards, the felted hats, worn over the head with additional facial covering, added an element of humour to the forward thinking tailored clothes. Inspired by “outsiders, intriguing social behaviour, and unfashionable people”, Manon is a designer truly in the vein of the Antwerp Academy, bringing a sense of the alternative to the fashion industry.
Dazed Digital: How have you found being taught by Walter? Manon Kündig: He, and the school, gave me the feeling that I can create whatever I want, as long as I believe in it.
DD: What have you taken from his teaching? Manon Kündig: Constructive criticism.
DD: What has Walter been like on a personal level? Manon Kündig: A sweet-and-sour hairy teddy bear.
DD: Where do you take your inspiration from? Manon Kündig: Google.
DD: For your collection Teddy Beard, you sent models down the runway with knitted beards. What was the idea behind that ? Manon Kündig: The beginning of my inspiration was the mohair fetishism and hairiness. People losing their shape in cat-suits, covering up their full body. The beards are my interpretation of this tendency in a socially conformist way.
DD: That collection also featured garments that adhered to a suit pattern, but in an oversized and boxy silhouette, and using unusual and highly colourful fabrics. Are you interested in playing with the preconceived notions of what menswear should look like? Manon Kündig: I used silk, cotton, knitted mohair, angora alpaca and lambswool in the collection. The suits where made of 4 millimetre thick wool felt punched with holes and crocheted together. I wanted the handmade process of creation omnipresent in the collection, to me the way a piece comes to life through being hand made is heart warming. I think designing is all about playing with preconceived notion.