Martijn van Strien is the designer behind the MPHVS label. He has been designing / researching clothing since his graduation at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2012. For the Post-Couture Collective he designed the first collection, 'ONE | OFF'.
Check out what he has to say about the development of the 'ONE | OFF' collection in this video and read our interview with him below:
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THIS COLLECTION?
I was inspired by the challenge I saw in trying to develop a collection that would be completely makable in Makerspaces. Aesthetically I’m always inspired by architecture, the austerity of brutalist buildings or the construction techniques that you find in bridges for example. This collection feels very minimalistic, especially after my last collection and I like that, I want to make clothes that are both functional and stylish.
WHAT’S YOUR REASON FOR CALLING THIS COLLECTION ‘ONE | OFF”?
It’s a wordplay that came up at one point that contains a link to both the production method and the result of the approach behind this collection. The electronic devices that will make these garments all have an ON | OFF switch that starts off the production process. And because these garments are all going to custom made to exactly fit the wearer’s sized they’re essentially all unique ONE-OFF versions of the original design.
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO DEVELOP A COLLECTION THAT COULD BE MADE WITHOUT A SEWING MACHINE?
It seemed like a huge challenge at first, and I must say that it took quite some time to develop a connection technique that was strong enough to use instead of a traditional seam. But once I had that it actually wasn’t that hard anymore. I think you could use this type of ‘connector’, or something similar to create almost any garment, regardless the style or design. I’m very curious to see the next collections that are going to be made for THE POST-COUTURE COLLECTIVE.
WHAT MATERIALS DID YOU USE?
I tried many different materials but finally found this recycled spacer fabric that I used. It has the perfect strength for the connection technique and still feels really soft and comfortable on your skin. The fact that it is recycled is very important for me, and that it can also be recycled again after use. I’ve never really used colour in my collections before, so my first picks were white grey and black. But when I came by the green material and learned that the colour comes from the PET-bottles that it’s recycled from it felt like love on first sight. I think it’s funny that I found a ‘green’ material to use that is very sustainable and at the same time 100% synthetic.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO INNOVATE WITH NEW MATERIALS?
For me it’s very important to be innovative in my use of materials, but also in production techniques and in my vision for the future. Most of my work comes from the desire to change the way our garment industry works in a positive way, and by using innovations I believe we can get a fairer industry and better garments in a sustainable way.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BE A DESIGNER?
When I was a kid I wanted to be a scientist, and an astronaut of course. I never imagined I’d ever start doing something that is considered ‘creative’, but I love the communicative aspect of it. To come up with a vision and a technical process and to then translate that into something people can understand, or even wear.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY TODAY?
In my opinion the fashion industry is one of the least innovative industries, one where everyone seems to going around in circles without really a clear goal or vision. So much of the industry is about producing more, more and more, for less money and it scares me that consumers are getting used to this. The fact that they accept this as ’normal’ makes it hard to look ahead and try something totally new.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT OPEN-SOURCE?
For me the possibilities that the internet has brought to sharing our ideas and collaborating is super-inspiring. I hope that by sharing my designs someone on the other side of the world can take that, improve it, and share it again. Today’s working society is all about specialising yourself in a certain subject, open source design can bring all this expertise together again.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I’m inspired by people that completely dedicate themselves to a goal, like sportsmen / women, or that have a vision that is maybe a bit ahead of their time, yet continue to believe in it and fight for it like Elon Musk or Ayn Rand. I’m also often inspired by the books I read and cities I visit.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?
To be able to work and live with people all over the world, working on my vision for the future in as many different ways as possible. And then maybe writing a book someday, that’d be nice.
WHAT IS A GOOD DAY FOR YOU?
Waking up in a city I don’t know well and getting on my bike on a search for a good cup of coffee. Reading a book for a few hours and then getting to work. After a productive day I’d go for some exercise and then finish the day with a glass of beer or wine.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY TODAY?
I’m trying to be conscious about all the decisions I make in a day. To take nothing for granted and to know that you always have a choice.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE?
I keep a list of inspiring quotes from books I read, I’ll give you the last new one. To me it’s about having the courage to try new things or visions, and realising that even if you fail you can learn from the process.
“We of today must conceive our relation to the rest of the universe as best we can; and even if our images must seem fantastic to future men, they may none the less serve their purpose today.” - William Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men - Preface.
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