5.12.2014

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH GABRIEL STUNZ

I stumbled upon Gabriel Stunz's amazing work on the pages of Encens while searching for inspiration photos for my Instagram account. And then, I eagerly googled him up. After seeing his previous collections, I instantly fell in love with his work. Thanks to Facebook I was able to track him down and easily convince him to do an exclusive interview for my blog. Getting to know people whose work I greatly admire is one of the many perks of being a blogger.
Finally, after multiple correspondence, here's the unedited version of the entire interview we had via email. So get-to-know one of the names that I hope we will be seeing more of in the future.

Briefly tell us your background as a designer. Where did you get your formal training? And where did you work prior to starting up your atelier?
I come from a marketing and business-oriented background having studied in Germany and graduated in Paris, France. Having an affection for the creative process and the material, I have been through the various product-related departments: merchandising for Calvin Klein Underwear in Hong Kong, sales at Comme des Garçons and Damir Doma in Paris and lastly designing at Tim Hamilton in New York.

What best describes your aesthetic as a designer?

Clean and minimalistic involving classic tailoring and mixing it with fluid elements. Functional without the obvious practical details.

Where do you normally draw inspiration when starting a collection? 
It really depends on my mood. The inspiration comes from any visual, audio or sensual input.
Which is more important for you: the process or the end product? 
(It's) difficult to say. The process is a very intimate cycle while the product is a reduction of all influence and emotions.

How important is it to have a concept when creating a collection?
It's important not to limit one's self while creating. Having a concept allows you to frame your ideas and help as guidelines in case you get lost.

When did your fascination with fashion started? 
Very early, around the age of 10-11.

So what was your fashion sense like growing up as a young teen in Germany? Where did you shop? Did you make your own clothes?
I partially grew up in Germany and France due to my French mother and my German father. Since I was born, I was surrounded by art and antique furniture and I frequently travelled between these two countries which exposed me to different cultures and traditions. All these pieces have sharpened my senses and forged a strong vision of balance.
During my youth, I went through many phases including styles in terms of fashion. I always felt like clothes found me as I didn't have a particular shopping routine nor did I look out for "IT" items. I kept continuously modifying and altering my clothes to create an individual and distinguished style.

There are so many struggling young designers out there. What’s the best way to survive the jungle out there?
I believe in continuity. With all the conversations I have had with suppliers, manufacturers and others, it seems that just trying to be out there on a regular basis is the key. Of course, it takes time until you will be recognized, so stamina and patience might be helpful too.

More and more young designers have been collaborating with high street labels in order to put their names out there. Would you sacrifice the quality of your work to gain more exposure?
I don't think so. At this moment, the structure of my label is too small and fragile to handle huge exposure as it implies a rise in sales. Of course, the financial benefits might be interesting but right now I only care about building a proper base for my label with a distinct quality.

I have stumbled upon your work through Encens magazine. How did you end up on my favourite magazine?
I started working with Encens during my time in New York at Tim Hamilton. Ever since we met, there has been a very close bond. And they have been very supportive of my ideas and work ethics and have encouraged me in my endeavor to realize my vision.

Your last collection has a very strong sense of androgyny. Have you always been intrigued with this kind of style? 
Yes, I have always wanted to think of my clothes as unisex, but for commercial reasons chose to offer them as menswear.

Do you have any items from your previous collections that you consider your “signature” piece? 
The Blazers with sewn on scarves.

Do you think people nowadays are more liberal in terms of dressing compared in the past? Since you are originally from Germany, would you be able to stroll around wearing a skirt or a man-dress over there?
Very much so, especially men are opening up these past years. Germany is not known for having the best-dressed people but I think slowly even very avant-garde fashion finds its followers.

You mentioned to me that you are currently working on a new menswear collection to be hopefully launched in Paris this June. What should we expect from your new collection? Will it be similar to your previous one?
I had to withdraw myself for a while from my intentions in fashion due to a family tragedy. Only a few weeks ago I have decided to launch a small and compact collection for Spring Summer 2015. (I'm) sort of reviewing my evolution but also confronting it to a more mature and more accomplished vision translated through a strong mix of fabrics and detailing.

Special thanks to Gabriel Stunz for making this interview possible. You have been very accommodating from the very beginning of our correspondence. Amidst your busy schedule, you still found time to answer all my lengthy questions. I extremely appreciate your effort. Hats off to you and I am absolutely thrilled to see your latest collection in Paris this June. More power to young designers like you!


Photo Credits
Photography: Sybille Walter
Styling: Samuel Drira
Makeup: Carole Colombani
Model: Tobias Brahmst


For more information on Gabriel Stunz check out www.gabrielstunz.com