BARCELONA, Apr 9, 2009 / FW/ — To borrow from a legal parlance, emerging Dutch designer Maikel Bongaerts had his day ‘in court’, or in our case (pun intended) on the catwalk. Like other outspoken designers before him, Bongaerts used the runway to air his opinion, and this time it hit close to home.
In his press notes, young Bongaerts wrote, “In this consumer society, everything is about mass production and mass consumption. There is a big outlet market and the price per product is relatively low, because machines have a high productivity and low labor costs.”
He then added, “As a menswear designer, I am not interested in mass production and mass consumption. This collection is a mix between prêt-à-porter and BESPOKE.”
So, sending jackets with “weave” details, and some of them sporting couture elements, Maikel Bongaerts is trying to make his generation appreciate in bespoke tailoring, the men’s equivalent for haute couture.
If haute couture is native to the French, BESPOKE tailoring is to the British. It is even an English term and synonymous to London’s Saville Row. To make bespoke clothes, customers are measure by hand, the patterns are cut by hand and the complicated inside stitched in form by hand.
The ancient art of tailoring is still being practiced at Saville Row, but according to Bongaerts, it is slowly becoming extinct. “I have tried to bring this tradition back into the contemporary fashion system and create emotion in my clothes as a direct response to the industry,” wrote Bongaerts in his press notes.
Having been trained and also worked at Gieves & Hawkes, Maikel Bongaerts wants to keep that tradition going. Hence as he said, he was inspired by Gieves & Hawkes and also the city of London and its creative bubble.
Photos by Biel Sol