EXCLUSIVE: Avec Autumn Winter ’14
“Turn on, tune in, drop out;” the phrase popularised by the American psychologist and writer, Timothy Leary, is perhaps one of the most memorable of that era of 60s counter culture. Beyond this powerful sound bite, however, Leary had a depth of work which spanned across politics, psychology and sociology. It is this body of work which has informed the collection of Copenhagen-based brand, Avec, for Autumn Winter ’14. It’s a good fit; as the brand itself is somewhat aloof amongst the established backdrop of minimalist Scandinavian menswear. Avec’s founder, Sigurd Bank, is well travelled – and it is reflected in his brand’s multi-faceted aesthetic. It is not your typical Danish brand, and that in itself is refreshing.
Can you tell me about your background and what inspired you to start Avec?
I’ve spent a lot of my youth writing graffiti and partying; things that also brought me on a lot of travels. After moving to Copenhagen, I got a degree in clothing production and did some internships in Melbourne. When I came home, I had the need for an output for all these experiences and influences that I had gained. Starting my own brand felt like a natural next step. I’m still writing and partying though, actually the house/techno scene in Copenhagen has been really good lately.
I think what attracts me to Avec is that it doesn’t look typically Scandinavian. Would you say this is a fair assessment? Where does Avec fit into the Scandinavian scene?
Thank you, that’s definitely a fair assessment. Of course it has a certain Scandinavian feel since this is my home, and as I’ve been raised with a Scandinavian mentality towards design. But I always try to keep my influences wide and open for new input of any kind. I don’t know where it fits, but I don’t know if it necessarily needs to – I guess it will find its place some day.
What was it about Timothy Leary – who inspired this collection – that attracted you to him? And how has this inspiration manifested itself in AW14s aesthetic?
Reading about his (SMI2LE) theories, I thought it was a good theme for the collection and matched the direction that I wanted to go in. His different perceptions within his field and his work with psychedelics were a good source for inspiration as well as a reference point. On some of the pieces, the use of details is inspired by personal experiences with hallucinations, for example the use of stripes and the embroidered dots. You will also find these psychedelic references and details in the collection, accompanied by fabrics like froté, pile fleece and deadstock tapestry.
Who else inspires you in terms of brands/designers etc.?
I get inspired by other brands, as I guess other designers do. But mostly, I’m inspired by brands that are exploring other creative fields or come from another starting point that isn’t clothing – I enjoy seeing the outcome of that. I think Bless is a good example. But mostly I have these subjects that interests me. Lately, both Philae landing on Rosetta and the abstract shapes of ceramics have been really fascinating to me.
What are your plans for next season?
I finished up my designs for AW15 back in August, now I’m researching for SS16 while planning some kind of publication to be released alongside the AW15 collection. I’m also busy working on a collaboration with another Scandinavian brand, due to be released for winter 2015 – I’m really excited about. It has been interesting for me to work in another area and bring some ideas into another field within fashion; I hope it will be well received. Earlier this year I started developing some knitwear made in Denmark, where we use knitting machines dating back to the sixties, and together with the factory experimenting on developing our own knit fabrics. Some of this will be available in spring 2015.
Avec seems like a brand that is not afraid to be different, is this reflected in your personality?
I don’t think I’m different, but I don’t like conformity. Regarding music, art etc., I usually get attracted to stuff that’s outside the box.
Pick one song to describe Avec?
Arthur Russell – You and me both