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Cheap Monday x Faustine Steinmetz
Cheap Monday x Faustine Steinmetz

Faustine Steinmetz on her Cheap Monday collaboration

The designer talks about the collection, the Norwegian black metal scene that inspired it and her plans to do menswear

Thanks to her wholly original take on denim, French-born Faustine Steinmetz is widely accepted as one of London fashion’s most innovative designers. By weaving and making her pieces completely by hand, she turns a humble, everyday garment like a pair of jeans into something so imbued with craftsmanship that it’s more akin to haute couture. Yesterday saw the launch of Steinmetz’s collaboration with another denim provocateur, Swedish brand Cheap Monday. Together, they’ve teamed up on a six-piece, completely unisex capsule collection, featuring jackets, jeans, a t-shirt and backpack – all approached with Steinmetz’s signature perfectionism.

While this collaboration has just been launched, the designer’s relationship with the brand goes back to her youth, when she and her friends would attend gigs in Paris. “Every Friday we would meet in République, and we would be dressed from head to toe in Cheap Monday,” she says. “So for me, it was a brand that represented the perfect mix of music and fashion.” 

“Every Friday we would meet in République, and we would be dressed from head to toe in Cheap Monday. So for me, it was a brand that represented the perfect mix of music and fashion” – Faustine Steinmetz

Steinmetz has made sure this mix is present in this collection too – one of the primary influences was the Norwegian black metal scene. “The singer of a band called Mayhem used to bury his clothes in the ground, to make them rot, before wearing them,” explained Cheap Monday’s head denim designer Carl Malmgren of one of the capsule’s more unexpected inspirations. This idea of the dirtied and destroyed is played out in the denim, much of which is hand-felted to emulate the effect of mould. Despite these dark references, Steinmetz was keen that the clothes still looked, in her words, “fairly chic”. Part of this was achieved by the finishings, such as the labels and shiny silver buttons. “We wanted to have this really trashy finish but keep the labelling clean,” she explains.

For Steinmetz, part of the appeal of this collaboration was the chance to give younger customers the chance to buy into her brand – its couture craftsmanship rendering it unattainable for many. “I see kids wearing my pieces on Instagram but usually, it’s when they are taking selfies in the changing room,” she says. While the designer hasn’t compromised her artisanal approach, the pieces come at more affordable price point, with items costing more than half the price of her own brand.

As well as being more affordable for her younger customers, this collection is also non-gender specific and one of the models featuring in the accompanying lookbook is male. So does this mean the start of Faustine Steinmetz pour homme? “Yes! This inspired me to do menswear. I loved seeing it on David, I thought he looked perfect in it. The only thing I would change is the fit, I would make it bigger... But I quite like having genderless fashion, I buy menswear all the time – it doesn’t make a difference to me.”