Here’s a little taste of what our master students will have on offer for SHOW2019, next up are Di Du, Nel Maertens and Linus Leonardsson!

Di Du

Origin: China
Age: 28
Collection: Sip my ocean (women’s)

What’s the inspiration behind your collection?
I started by looking at this artist called Anna Uddenberg. She takes this stereotype of the female body and combines it with objects, and she has this series about travelling, which involves luggage. She has said that every time she goes to the airport she feels like she has to wrap herself together into her luggage. She’s trying to show women’s position in society, and all these things people expect from women. They want them to dress properly and look nice but meanwhile they’re strong, independent women with this ability to work. Sometimes she just wants to give up on herself, and I have the same feeling too.

Is she somebody you know personally?
No, I just came across her and was interested. I read a lot of articles about her and how she started as a performance artist, so her direction was more about testing the limits of sexuality. About giving power to men and then the men seeing themselves becoming powerful and starting to treat women more as objects, or services. But also her vibe is super-sporty. In a way I feel the power of the muscles and also like these really pastel colours she uses. Last year I used black or super-bright colours and this year I wanted to try something different.

There are a lot of Chinese elements in your work. How does that relate?
In Paris there’s this street full of Chinese restaurants but also strip clubs. I was eating there and I saw a poster in front of a club that was really similar to her work. And there was this kitsch element there that I wanted to add into my collection. Wherever Chinatown is, you always find these kinds of things together. It’s my heritage. In any city in Europe I always discover the Chinese food and then I see the red light area, a lot of lights, these showgirls, this subculture. I feel it’s all quite connected weirdly. Then I wanted to use some lingerie to get a contrast with this very sporty mood I have. The shoes I’m doing are inspired by stripper platforms. From the beginning I was struggling with how many Chinese elements I wanted to put in and then eventually I didn’t use the stereotype of Chinese fabric but decided to translate it more through the mood.

Nel Maertens

Origin: Belgium
Age: 22
Collection: Arts with benefits (men’s &  women’s)

Tell us about your collection!
I did my whole education in the fashion academy in one go. Some people take a year off before the Master’s but I didn’t. Last year I was fed up with all the stitching and fashion part of the programme and I wanted to paint and draw more, so I decided to stop fashion and start in the painting department. But then the moment I had to do the entrance exam I felt that it was not the direction I needed to go at that point in my life, so I decided I’ll just do my Master and try to make it as fun and as interesting as possible for me. I’ll just try to make a collection where I can paint everything. All summer long it was cooking in my mind, and I came across two artists with the alter ego Flexboj & L.A who just graduated from Sint-Lucas Ghent. I really liked their work and thought it might be nice to collaborate with them rather than focusing on myself. So I visited them and wondered how we could work together. What are the similarities in our practice? How can we collaborate? It started coming together more and I decided my collection would be all about the crossover between art or painting and fashion.

What are some of the ways you’ve addressed that?
At every step I was looking for ways I could translate paintings into fashion. For example I love to design knitwear, so I bought yarns that are dyed by hand. Afterwards they were also knitted by hand in a technique that quite nicely simulates a painting. I also made a jacquard fabric together with EE Exclusive. They started from a picture of my own oil painting and translated it into a woven fabric. In the translation there are some things you can add – for example I asked to sometimes make loose weaves, sometimes tight, so it looks like a painting. For the paintings on canvas, sometimes I’d discuss the topic with Flexboj & L.A and they’d paint the design. Giving away a bit of my control was interesting.

Did you also give away control by letting them design a certain silhouette at any point?
The thing is that the two guys are interested in fashion, which I felt from the beginning, but as the months went by I realised that actually I was more the designer in this project. I work with a lot of colour and the idea is that all the painted pieces and the knitwear and jacquard are colours, and the digital prints are black and white. I think the world of Flexboj & L.A is super interesting, but I had to direct it to make it work in a fashionable context.

Linus Leonardsson

Origin: Sweden
Age: 22
Collection: See you in the fog (men’s & women’s)

Tell us some more on the collection?
I wanted to do something more personal this year because in previous years I’ve always been working with other people’s topics, interpreting movies and books and stuff like that. I feel like everything from before – learning how to make a collection basically – was in order to do something more personal. And part of that is thinking back to where I was before I came here, when I hadn’t really experienced that much and was trying to fit into a context that was more mature than I felt on the inside. Specifically going to forest raves, and trying to blend into that scene when I was 16 and the other people were closer to 30.

I discovered the rave secene through friends in high school. You have a lot of these parties in Stockholm, where I’m from, because the party scene is sort of restricted and there are many laws against alcohol etc. I found these forest raves a very beautiful thing. You’re surrounded by nature and artificiality at the same time, which is the strongest contrast in my collection. I also focus on the juxtaposition of raves and domesticity, and day versus night. One of the earliest images I found for my research was of light coming through the forest and emerging into different colours. During the summer when you had these raves you wouldn’t get full darkness either. In terms of the domesticity, I’ve been crocheting a lot. I think it would be nice to bring this crafty touch to the collection – that’s really what domesticity means to me in fashion. It’s thinking about your grandma and how people did things before. It’s very much the contrary of nightlife, which is why it’s fun to make fishnet stockings with that technique.

Don’t forget you can also take a closer look at each master’s collection in detail at EXPO2019!

Read the full conversation in our official magazine available at the show.
♥ to Nico Dockx for the interviews & Oona Oikkonen for the master portraits