Introduction by Marlo Saalmink
Questions by Filep Motwary
Photography Petra Kleis.
We found ourselves in a dark parking-lot, abandoned and ominous, outside the sweeping winds pound upon the sleet covered streets of downtown Copenhagen. NICKLAS KUNZ could not have picked a more dramatic setting for the presentation of his AW14 menswear collection. The cold served as reminder to the layered onlookers of the importance of functional winter tailoring. Composed and ready, his army of combatants suddenly stepped onto the asphalt, steadily moving forward. Mr. Kunz decided to work from a morose color palette, presenting armour-like streetwear garments that compliment and shield urban trotters effortlessly. After the show, we warmed up together with the designer over black drip coffees, speaking on Danish suburbs, dreams and technicalities in basketball.
Nicklas, which experiences helped you form your own aesthetics?
To me this is the experience, I got growing up in Albertslund (ed. a small suburban estate close to Copenhagen), both the beauty of it and the ugly sides. This was step one; step two was and always will be New York, and in particular Williamsburg. That place simply feeds my creative side. The L train and the fashion scene happening in the subway between Manhattan and Brooklyn is the ultimate fashion trip. So, do yourself a favour if you are ever in New York City; just hop on the L train from Union Square and head out.
Could you tell us, what your new collection for FW14 is all about?
The collection, is centered around champions in every shape and size. It is a salute to championing your dreams and embracing different versions of life. Visually, I drew my inspiration from the first two Rocky Balboa movies. I loved the jersey, no sleeves vibe, especially the tracksuit, in which he runs around Philly.
Why did you choose menswear over womenswear?
Well I actually set out to work with womenswear, in the old days, when I was still interning, to explore which style suited me best. The reason why I chose to do menswear is because I fell that it has more to offer in terms of dynamic tailoring and craftsmanship. Furthermore, the decision was fostered by a desire to tackle unspoken taboos and to counter men’s fashion back then when it was rather understated and without a pulse, that really got me going. “We cannot live in a world of boring menswear” – that was my initial thought. It is all about shaking things up a little.
In your opinion, what are the differences between men and women?
Quite straightforwardly put: the sex and the underwear, it is as simple as that.
What makes a designer important in your opinion in order to last? How does really longevity mean in this business?
Longevity is much like a being a warrior leading his troops into battle. You absolutely need to have a great setup behind you so you can hit the road running. I strongly feel, you cannot run a successful fashion brand without a passionate crew. Next to this, relevance is pivotal, a sense of knowing what you set out to do and to remain close to this.
How did you form the hero/the man for AW14?
In some way the AW14 boxing hero is a continuation of the summer basketball hero we introduced. Technically put, my inspiration has moved on from a Point Guard to a Power Forward, with a mixture of classy elegance and raw unpolished power, hence the Rocky references. The collection is about men who move forward with poise and dignity.
How do you think fashion responds to the financial crisis-if there is one? Is this the moment of great creativity?
According to me, the crises sort of closed down ‘funny, unserious’ brands and made the fashion scene more focused and less tractable. So yes, the fashion industry is only for real players with great creative substance.
Creativity is a must have in fashion, whether it is to create fads or something timeless. It all depends on the person you are and how you interpret the world of fashion irreverently.
Is Fashion changing, and if so towards which direction?
Fashion is always changing; to me it is just a question of when you notice it. As an example, I noticed a lot of name/brand placements on the catwalks, this and the season before that, as if marketing is pushing on. To me fashion is an upward spiral – it always returns back to the starting point but with an elevated outlook towards new horizons.