28 Giu Luca Kemkes Interview: On Sustainable and Respectful Fashion
In an era when home was more home than ever before, fashion has succeeded in blooming from unexpected sources. This is the case of Luca Kemkes, young and talented dutch designer who was able to transform home textiles such bed linen and quilted sofa converings into seasonless menswear collections. Every piece is created by recovering unique fabrics and integrating them into refined and seductive patchworks able to merge sportswear urban atmospheres with romantic vintage references.
You are using home textiles to create your pieces. How did it start and what other sources of inspiration do you have?
All started from materials. Home textiles are so rich and made of different elaborate techniques like quilting or lace embroidery. With the history behind them and the hours of handcrafting that took to create and rework fabrics, I want to honour them and bring that spark back to life. And this immediately leads into the final inspiration that invites me to shape the materials into designs that showcase the materials at their best.
Tell us about your journey, who is Luca Kemkes, what represents you most and what your brand’s legacy?
Next to my love for fabrics I am a menswear designer who gets inspired by sportswear and streetwear. This translates in all the shapes I use in my designs. I was born in Amsterdam and I’m still based here. Amsterdam streets is where I get inspired, thus you can easily understand my style where a unique mix of soft materials and tough shapes meet.
What sparked your imagination in the creation of the brand?
I wanted to show how reworking clothing in a sustainable way only makes them even more beautiful. Simple as that.
When it comes to product creation, what is your prerogative?
For me it is all about honouring the materials by restoring the fabrics. Usually in the canonical production phase a whole sheet is trown away just because of one stain or hole. Me and my team always check if we can remove the stain, recolor it, cover it with embroidery and so on. In the case it is not possible we usually lay patterns around it or decide to create a patchwork out of the fabric. Which is great cause this way of thinking only makes you more creative and also allows to save a lot of waste.
Sustainability is the hottest issue in fashion nowadays and you are receiving lots of recognition thanks to your unique approach. What’s the hardest part of it all? What would you change in the fashion system?
Working sustainalby is not hard, I am very honoured to be able to produce this way, especially being aware of the non-stop horrible labour conditions of fast-fashion, where workers are exploited to produce a 10 dollar top that will be worn once and be thrown out after a single usage. I feel lucky to show poeple how much more beautiful clothes become when we saw time, effort, craftmanship and history in to them. Doing so, people will love the piece of clothing more and for longer time, and will not throw it away but want to keep it and cherish for the rest of their lives. And in the end all clothes will get produced slower and more sustainably.
How does it feel to be exposing at Pitti Uomo 99, an international fashion fair, for the first time and after almost a year of social distancing and restrictions? What are your expectations?
Great, when I was younger I always dreamed of visiting Pitti Uomo and now I am exposing my brand there. It Is so nice that Pitti Uomo made it possible to showcase our collection on a digital platform this year. So after a long period we can connect again.