January 3, 2013

The most compelling look of Maarten van der Horst‘s Spring 2013 collection was his own. The young London designer, showing for the third time at the test tube for talent, Fashion East, concluded his catwalk in a clean Talking Heads t-shirt tucked into drainpipe blue jeans that were rolled over black mini combat boots, hair shorn like This is England. For Spring 2013, Maarten made all-over-print separates that looked like the crumpled commodities of a city waste bin: recycling instructions aged brown like white paper, Tesco grocery shopping bags, Subway logos, Queer Nation stencils. Cut against gold, navy pinstripe, and animal prints, and scribbled with black, the assemble was like a spung swath of urban clash. As far as fashion lineage goes, one might say Steven Sprouse and New Wave post-punk. The Talking Heads tee punctuated that statement. The collection was strong but the curiosity still lay at the end, with Maarten who, after three striking shows, has proved himself as one to watch.

Maarten van der Horst trained at the Artez Institute of the Arts in the Netherlands and interned at Chloé, before moving on to the MA Womenswear course at Central Saint Martins. His ‘dragified’ Hawaiian prints of Spring 2012 caught us first and we’re still that into him. Here, Maarten gives us the Bullett points of his design ethos.

In one sentence, how would you describe your work?
Lo-fi, amped up, fuck you fashion.

I remember reading a review that said your Spring 2013 collection—with its bricollage punk spirit—did London proud. What does it mean to be designing and showing in London right now?
It means you’re in the centre of the world, both culturally and creatively. London is the place where there is space for personal, creative statements and individual style.

What are your main cultural influences, fashion or otherwise?
Any personal, subversive and beautiful manifestation influences me! Whether that’s music, art, people or love.

Do you have a second vocation? If you weren’t designing clothes, what would you be doing?
Being an art director, photographer or stylist, anything that is about creating strong imagery.

Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
Just look at your world and try and change things you don’t like. Designing should be about your generation, your environment and your perspective on the world. It’s all about altering reality.

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