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Interview: Tim Coppens

photographer Alex Wesh

Sure, it’s fun to look at clothes on the runway, but the true fun and hard work of New York Fashion Week goes on backstage, with designers, stylists, models and make-up artists running around like chickens with their heads cut off all to make it seem effortless and easy once it’s on the stage. We went behind the scenes at Tim Coppens and asked him some questions about his Spring 2013 collection.

It seems like every season outerwear is a thing that you love to do the most. It’s just [with] menswear, there’s not that much you can play with, and I think outerwear is one of those areas where I can experiment.

How does being Belgian influence you as a designer? Everybody asks that. I just think we’re very grounded people. We just do our thing. For some reason, it’s super small but there are a lot of artists and musicians that come out of there. But it is small, so you don’t necessarily look at Belgium to get inspired. You look at other things, you look elsewhere for inspiration.

Where did you look for inspiration for spring? I thought of fighter pilots who survived the war. Just a little more sophisticated—gold zippers and everything. A tougher, more sophisticated guy. A lot of flight suits, overalls, those kind of details. And then, you know, the bomber jackets.

You always do a bomber, right? Yeah. I like the shape. It’s something that I wear myself a lot. We’re going to go more into suiting, but we’re small, so it’s focusing on what I can do best, and the bomber jacket is like the signature thing. So then we’ll move on to other things when we get bigger.

Do you feel like your design style is minimalist? To be honest, no. I’m doing very much my own thing. And I like details, so I don’t think my clothes are minimal. They look minimal because maybe there’s not like a big print of a Mickey Mouse on it, but it’s in the details.

And you’re really into working with different materials. What are some from this collection that you were really excited about? Leather, there’s a lot of leather. Softer leather, but it still has a compact feel to it. And then quilted materials but also a bonded leather through a quilted fabric, and on the inside it creates a quilting. Bonded materials, compression knits, stuff like that.

I noticed you had a lot of outfits of guys wearing jackets and shorts. Is that a contrast you advocate for guys? The long and the short? Yeah, you can do it. I mean, if it’s too hot, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Would you ever do womenswear? Yes. I’ve done womenswear before, and I can definitely do it again.

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Interview: Tim Coppens