I always find Bruno Pieters' works intriguing. For some reason, there was never any difficulty to understand his collections nor his creative stories; and though I wanted to have this conversation with him ages back, while he was still at HUGO BOSS, it seems that the opportunity itself wanted the right moment to be given.
After a pretty long period of silence ( measured in fashion time), Pieters makes a fashion return by launching HONEST BY, a revolutionary new concept, a new approach to fashion-making which guarantees total production transparency, from the sewing thread to the final garment.
(HONEST BY photos Alex Salinas)
FilepMotwary: For almost two years no one really knew what happened to you and why you announced the retirement of your own brand. Would you mind if I asked you to close that chapter for us?
BrunoPieters: I had been working very hard the years before for several brands plus my own. I just needed a break. The dreams I had growing up were becoming a reality but those things didn't make me happy at the end. I felt like I had to discover myself and enjoy life again. Together with a friend, I left for India one month after my last show in Paris.
F.M: And what did you discover?
B.P: The word vulgar is a synonym for the word common. Fashion is the common,style or custom, as in dress or behavior. Fashion is by definition vulgar. I think that there is nothing wrong with the original meaning of vulgarity. We're all common people in the end. But at the same time everyone of us is different,that is what we all have in common.Billions of unique creations all equally original.
(HONEST BY photos Alex Salinas)
F.M: Before I ask you about HONEST BY, there is another thing I wish to know: How was your collaboration with HUGO BOSS?
B.P: It was a very interesting collaboration financially. And the people whom I worked with there were very nice. I wish them all the best. Creatively I wouldn't do what I did for them again. I would design collections they could sell and worry less about what would make me look good as a designer.
The men's collections I did were very successful but the women weren't. They have a very special female customer, if I would have to do it again I think I'd stay in her world rather than proposing her a completely new one. I learned a lot from that experience, in the end it's just a job, and it's best to design what the client asks for.
F.M: Why it ended and would you work for another House again besides your own?
B.P: It ended because the 3 year contract ended. N. Neither Hugo Boss nor me wanted to renew. I was exhausted and needed a break and they had other plans for the brand. Hugo by Hugo Boss is not a luxury designer brand and it never will be. I think they made the right decision. What they are doing now is prefect for their customers. And I'm super happy with what I'm doing now. Would I design for another house again? Sure, my charities need funding.
F.M: So, lets move to the present. What is HONEST BY?
B.P: "Honest By" is my new passion. I wanted to create a 100% transparent company, where everyone could see how their clothes were made and by whom. I think this kind of service is still a luxury today but i hope it will become mainstream soon.
I would love to do all my shopping that way. All the designs we present online are as environmentally friendly as possible. Which is very important to me because I believe most of the problems we face today are related to consumption. My favorite quote is 'be the change you want to see in the world', which can also mean buy what you believe in.
I think what we buy can change the world.
(BRUNO PIETERS COLLECTION AW 2009/2010)
F.M: Why was the launching video so discreet?
B.P: I 'm discreet.
F.M: Do you have any doubts before presenting your work?
B.P: Yes sometimes I do. Not for Honest By. Honest by is exactly what it should be at this moment.
(Bruno Pieters men's Fall 2008 Photos By Miguel Villalobos)
F.M: What energy do you want to infuse “HONEST BY” with?
F.M: What makes you happy in your work?
F.M: What is your formula for surviving in Fashion, Bruno?
F.M: Do you think there is anything interesting going on in street fashion today? As it has become so urban and clothes or trends so accessible?
B.P: Have trends ever been inaccessible? If they weren't accessible they couldn't become a trend I think. But i know what you mean. Everyone is starting to look the same right? Physical individuality is fun to watch and it feels like lots of people try to make an effort to express themselves with their clothes today. The streets will always be interesting in my opinion.
F.M: Who or what were the biggest influences in your career?
B.P: The same as everyone else's career, my parents and their upbringing. It takes time to find your own way.
(A selection of backstage snaps featuring various Bruno Pieters collections by Sonny Vandevelde)
F.M: Why did you choose to become a fashion designer in the first place?
B.P: Because I loved to draw, design, paint from a very early age on. It's probably the best and worst reason to start a career in this industry. Why did I choose it again after my sabbatical? Because fashion can inspire people and create ideas that will be followed and adopted by billions.
F.M: Is designing a solitary process?
B.P: It used to be. Now i prefer to work on collections with friends. It can be a very exiting moment.
F.M: What is your quote on womanhood and manhood? Can you describe men and women of today Bruno?
B.P: I can only give you one for both , because there is no true difference between a man and a woman to me. How would I describe a human being today? Crucially irrelevant.
F.M: Does the preparation of your collections always start with sketches or collecting images? What is your process?
B.P: It depends on the season. Usually I make sketches first. For the next collection that I have just started working on I began with ideas for colors and fabrics.
F.M: How is Bruno at home?
B.P: The same as you but in a different way.
(Bruno Pieters catwalk, photos by Marcio Madeira)
F.M: And what makes you happy in your work?
B.P: The fact that I'm able to do it.
F.M: What do you want to be remembered as?
B.P: I hope people won't have time to remember me, because they will be celebrating life.
F.M: So what about your next projects? Anything extra apart from ideas involving fashion?
B.P: I'm working on a book and online project. It will be anonymous and it's coming soon. All for Love.
Bruno Pieters past collections...