DIMITRI ARVANITIS is a German-born designer who recently graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Now living in London, the designer’s latest collection takes its cues from the stylistic input of early 00s – from ultra low-rise trousers to techno to Francesco Vezzoli’s embroidery works. 032c has commissioned an editorial of the collection, entitled AUFMISCH, shot by BRETT LLOYD in a gloomy forest 30 km outside of Dalston.
DARRYL NATALE: This is your first collection since graduating, and it’s quite different from the last. Do you see your collections as self-contained worlds or are you attempting to build on certain ideas throughout your work?
DIMITRI ARVANITIS: Sometimes it’s important to press reset and start from scratch. I think that is the only way to have a continuous development of what seems important to you and to push boundaries. The MA collection was well-received in the media, but I wanted to push myself into another territory in terms of style, shape, and mood. Although we had a lot of freedom in Antwerp, there were still a lot of expectations that had to be managed. This was the first time I worked without any compromises.
The Antwerp academy seems like a place where compromise isn’t something that’s necessarily rewarded.
I would agree to that, but it’s a positive. Antwerp’s concept is based on building characters in a very creative way. Considering market appeal isn’t necessary.
How important is wearability or market appeal to you as a young designer?
I hate the word wearable. If you wear something you can move in, it’s wearable. But it’s becoming more and more important for me to see my designs on people. I research garments which I personally like to wear. Denim, pure cotton and leather are materials people can identify with. I love working with extreme elements of design, but I still want to reach out to make the clothes accessible.
What were the reference points for this collection?
I found an old limited vinyl EP I had from when I used to live in Germany called AUFMISCH, which is what I called the collection. The German verb aufmischen (English: to rough up) became the device which I based the collection around and made me reflect on the turn of the century, this moment when the 90s were still hanging around but stylistically we were moving forward and backward simultaneously with a sense of the progress of the new century and at the same time a revival of 80s references. I took all these styles and combined them for today.