talkgroup

Jan-Jan van Essche

@susan shared this, since Jan-Jan van Essche is the person destined to design my wardrobe.

However, there is a certain minimalism in the way you approach fashion production. You don’t work so much with seasons, right?

During the first three years, I used to design only one annual collection. I still don’t really believe in the seasonal wardrobe. Every time of the year I wear more or less the same clothes–sometimes one layer, sometimes five. That is how I define seasons.

Which specific topics do inform your design choices and directions?

My collections always have the same central theme. The same moodboard has been on my walls now for three years. There are some things I take away or add but in the end it is a very slow process that retains certain key elements. I don’t reinvent myself with every collection. I see it more as a continuous story.

And what is that story about?

It might sound a bit esoteric but I would say it’s a story about comfort and freedom. I don’t want to feel “obstructed” by clothes but rather liberated. I don’t want to dress the people who wear my clothes in a certain way, they should be who they are and act as they would. I have the feeling that clothes are often made as a second skin–a skin of a second persona. My clothes are open for personal interpretation and styling but, of course, they have a certain identity too-

How would you define that identity?

There is something I come across a lot in folk culture and traditional garments: the fact that the body shapes the garment more than the other way around. A kimono is the same cut and size for men and for women. A boubou in Africa is merely the width of the fabric–how it looks depends on how you look.
I really like to see the variants of fabric while people move and interact.

We are good enough as we are. I’d say that’s what defines my clothes along with natural textiles, soft colors, monochromatic palettes and less and less seams.