Cédric Jacquemyn is an Antwerp based designer who has always been inspired by the Icelandic mindset on sustainability and integrated the ferocious landscapes into the first designs of his label. Besides his fascination for nature, Cédric is intrigued by original tribal communities and communicates the harsh reality of their extinction through his current collections.
Icelandic landscapes are an inspiration for a lot of your designs. When did your fascination for Iceland arise?
“I first visited Iceland with my partner in 2008. We travelled around the country and brought our tent. The power and the greatness of nature made me realise how small we humans are. It was quite overwhelming, in a good way. At first the volcanoes and decay of nature were my focus points, a rather negative point of view. Later on my inspiration shifted towards the potential that volcanoes have to revive nature because of their ability to fertilise soil. The disappearance of certain tribal communities around the world is visible in my designs too because the decay of nature is closely linked to the number of tribes diminishing.”
Nature and the environment are very important to you. How do you integrate this into your designs?
“The use of natural materials and a minimization of synthetics are key to my designs. The buttons are made from wood or horn and the fabrics I use are mostly leather or silk. It’s important to me that everything is biodegradable. Items shouldn’t last longer than a lifetime. In nature everything evolves too and the clothes we make nowadays won’t be relevant in a 100 years. That’s why nature should be able to take its course with our garments. Nothing is forever and that’s ok.”
What is your view on the future of fashion?
“I believe that environmentally conscious clothing is the only correct way to make garments in this exponentially growing world. We need to overcome the dominating rule of fast fashion and focus on true craftsmanship. You’ll notice my collection isn’t in the same price range as the clothing you’ll find on the high street. My pieces are made to last longer than one season and involve a lot of manual craftsmanship. The price people are used to paying for clothes from large chains nowadays is too low for the clothing to be manufactured in an ethical and responsible way. My goal is to surpass trends and encourage people to invest in a beautifully handcrafted, eco-friendly and biodegradable coat they will wear and cherish for years to come.”
What are your plans for the label in the near future?
“The label started as a menswear label but we noticed that women wore the pieces too. Because the focus shifted towards tailoring and suits, women stopped wearing my pieces. That’s why I decided to make a blazer and pants for women a few seasons back. Gradually I would like to design a full women’s line by adding a few garments every year. Growing slowly is the best option because financially the label had a hard time during the recession. As a young creative I want to keep going forward but sometimes you need to do things step by step and just keep doing what your good at. I work with a lot of driven interns and hope to extend my fixed team with professionals who have the same ideas and feel as strongly about the value of craftsmanship and the environment as I do. It’s crucial to realise that nature is so much bigger, more powerful than us. It deserves our respect.”
S/S 2017 by Cédric Jacquemyn. Image by Yves De Brabander