i n t e r v i e w
SCHUELLER DE WAAL
**Could you introduce yourself ? How your brand was born ? When ? Why did you choose this industry to express yourselves ?
>> We (Philipp Schueller and Rens de Waal) started SCHUELLER DE WAAL & SDW STUDIO in 2014 after several years of professional experience in fashion. The label and design studio SDW create fashion statements and capsule collections in which we expressour belief in Fashion as Therapy. SDW refers to both the initials of ourselves and the studio’s vision Seeking Design Wellbeing.
We think the fashion industry is a weird phenomenon…taken to serious in many respects and not serious enough itself about societal and environmental issues itcauses. Those problematics should get much more attention. Derived from that we started unfolding our vision ‘serious fashion, not so serious’ aiming to produce lighthearted fashion and art direction content which functions as a carrier for change.
With both label and studio we see “experiment and improvisation” as the power force of fashion. Within our work we are looking to discover relevant ways of expressing this intrinsic fascination in a time where fashion needs to be re-envisioned. A critical attitude is needed to think outside the system's boundaries to find a way to create newness in whatever form or shape, infused with an effortless humorous approach.
**We went to your presentation, it was a real immersive experience (and really cool indeed : loved it!). How did you came up with this concept, and what about “fashion therapy” ? Why the heck you would want visitors to have massages while looking at your collection presentation :-) ?
>> ‘The Gateway To Fashion’ serves as a suggestive form of ‘FASHION THERAPY’. With the thought of slowing down our audience and creating time to reflect in a period of constant rush, we make the link to HYPNOSIS THERAPY.
The protagonist of the film (Iekeliene Stange), a hypnosis therapist with mesmerising eyeballs, takes the viewer through steps of induction going deeper into a spiralling trance world of eclectic future fashion suggestions with every step. The fashion suggestions show a fictive persona representing the viewers repressed inner fashion spirit in an intuitive state of unleashed creativity. Just like hypnosis therapists we aim to plant inspirational alterations and alternative perspectives on fashion in the viewers brain to catalyse change.
We decided to showcase the fashion film installation in a pop-up SDW fashion care center at Palais de Tokyo Toguna during the last days of Paris fashion week S/S2019. Hypnosis and massage as tools of Fashion Therapy to offer remedy for fashion victims or victims of fashion.
**Have you made any collaborations with artists before? What made you work with them ? Is fashion Art to you?
>> We believe creative multidisciplinary collaboration is the future and it sits right at the core of our vision. It is so inspiring to see and hear other peoples visions not only on our work, but also the world. It helps us on our experimental search for different perspectives on fashion, which go beyond the launch of a new collection and selling it each season.
**What is the main concept behind the last collection SS19 ? Your inspirations ? Why choosing Paris and not somewhere else ?
>> For Spring/Summer 2019 we offer FASHION as HYPNOSIS THERAPY. Rather than offering a new collection we want to make a statement about the fast pace of fashion and our incapabilities of keeping up. We needed time to reflect and investigate on the evolution of our vision. Driven by the idea of giving former designs a new context and using that as research for the development of new design ideas we developed ‘The Gateway To Fashion’ as literal breeding ground for new design ideas. We liquify the old to reach a state where there is no old and new, it is all equally liquidly inspiring.
In the film the characters are dressed in a mix of our collections, communicating that we believe in a value of design which remains over time. ‘The Gateway To Fashion’ shows an overview of our work reshuffled into a different visual feeling. The lookbook depicts both worlds of the film. To create new looks from past collections we have strictly split apart the two main directions of our collections, classic minimalism vs. quirky, surreal maximalism.
The skin of the model reflects actual scenes from the film and becomes a symbol of the connection between real and fiction, the link between both worlds; the gateway.
Paris Fashion Week was the ideal context for our presentation as it is the last fashion week of the season. Also the fashion system seems to function at its most traditional in Paris and things can be shaken up.
**Is fashion industry committed enough ? What messages you would like to express with your fashion ?
>> Creation needs time and space ; Design needs meaning.
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Photo / Video credits
Director: SCHUELLER DE WAAL STUDIO
Fashion Therapist: Iekeliene Stange
Director of photography: Lonneke van der Palen Digital Art: Max de Waard Sound Design: Bea1991 Hair and make-up: Bastien Zorzetto