IN THE VAN 2013 #03 ::

Coolness and kindness, joined with a great talent. An unusual trio, but it perfectly fits to describe Camille Kunz. Coming from Geneve, where she studied fashion design at HEAD Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design and graduated in 2012, Camille has a unique and unusual approach to make fashion.
Thanks to her menswear collections, she won the Head Fashion Angels Award in 2012, and the Chloé Prize at Hyères in 2013. Two important awards, that are broadening Camille’s work and name among the experts. In her creations, there is an essential element: a playful aspect – childish and very coloured at times – that articulates the lines of a universe made of experimentation, together with a fanatical attention toward the raw materials used in the manufacturing process. She often modifies the tissue through digital printing or serigraph. The playful element is connected with technology, but it’s important not to forget the designer’s autobiographical approach. The Boy Vanishes collection, indeed, is inspired by the relationship between Camille and her brothers.

DROME: Which is your concept of avant-garde?
CAMILLE KUNZ: Have fun with stories around you now and make it yours!

D: Which is the common thread in your creative work? And particularly in The Boy Vanishes?
CK: Daytime stories. The Boy Vanishes comes from my relationship I had with my brothers.

D: In 2012 you won the Head Fashion Angels Award 2012, and recently you won the Chloé Prize at Hyères 2013. Has this already had an impact on your professional career?
CK: Yes, I think it always help to get to know people and get credibility.

D: You are a menswear fashion designer. Can you explain the bright side and the bleak side of designing clothes for men?
CK: For me, it’s all positive to design for men. I have great fun to make clothes to the other gender. I’ve always had fantasy for men, and me being a man was something I’ve always kind of secretly wished. I have no barrier creating for them. I like that fact that is all about pattern details and beautiful textiles. That’s where I’m close to in fashion.

D: You said that your last collection is about your brothers and you. What does it mean? Can you tell us something more about your brothers? How important is your family in your job?
CK: It was a very personal project. I like the concept of me, trying to vanish into their identity. I like the fact of working on their banal wardrobe and injecting my own vision of design.

D: What feeds your creative imaginary and how do you materialize the external propulsion in order to realize your dress and/or accessory?
CK: I like a lot to go on (no fashion) blogs or websites, get inspired by contemporary art and industrial design. For me, the propulsion comes to the stage where I’m actually doing and draping clothes.

D: You wrote that your favourite parts of the process are the silicon experimentation, pattern cutting and playing with colors. Tell us why.
CK: These processes come directly from the concept of vanishing into my brothers’ world. The silicon experimentation starts with the idea of the garden glove, half dipped into silicon, to make it waterproof. I like the relation between the garden gloves, that is mutated into an other material, and my wish of becoming part of my brothers’ gang. The silicon also modified a lot the initial fabrics, and help me to create different shapes. The pattern cutting was a subtle intervention in my collection, I use the details of the pockets and work with it to create new pattern and shape. The colors is something always very important in my work. I like to use some colors I don’t really like (here, the green) and take it as a challenge and make it beautiful.

D: What can you tell us about your work experience with Bernhard Willhelm? And which brand would you like to collaborate with in the future?
CK: That was a very nice internship. I learnt a lot about his way of creating pattern, which is absolutely amazing and free. I love Raf Simons, Dries Van Noten. But there’s a lot of young designers I love, like Sibling, Julian Zigerli and J.W. Anderson.

D: Let’s talk about extra-fashion influences; if you have to compare your personal style, your fashion to a song, which would be? And a movie? A book? A dish?
CK: It would be Bombs Away from Eels, Gummo from Harmony Korine, and for a dish that would be a lemon cake with meringue on it.

D: Which is your favourite quote, the one that summarizes your life (more or less)?
CK: I don’t have a quote, but my philosophy is; don’t waist time, life is too shot.

D: Which is your suggestion for a young designer?
CK: Follow your instinct, have fun, be fresh.

text by Giulia Fasanella and Gabriele Girolamini
video courtesy of Camille Kunz