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Interview with designer Antoine Peters

“Trends do not interest me.

My ideas are sourced from feelings.

I seek for originality and to spread optimism.”

Antoine Peters, please tell us about your background, and who you are:
I am Antoine Peters, people like to describe me as a fashion designer, but after doing catwalk shows at the Amsterdam Fashion Week for many years, nowadays my work extends so much further to print-design, product design and art installations. My creativity is always fashion and body related, but it extends more and more outside of the body. I really believe the space around a garment or product is just as important as the design itself. With everything I create it’s my goal to slow down people (and their too rapid opinions) and to spread optimism, to spread a little smile.

I designed socks for Effio, shoes for United Nude, children's collections for kidscase and a Forbo floor. On behalf of The Netherlands, I designed a bag for Eastpak, where Jean Paul Gaultier represented France, Manolo Blank The United States of America, and Walter Beirendonck Belgium. Recently my 'looong sleeve' with sleeves longer than a soccer field (>130 meters), was acquired by the New Orleans Museum of Modern Art. I am also trying to advance my endless research in optical illusions, through my lenticular dress, that looks differently from each perspective. Soon my first collection of denim brand Kuyichi will be launched. Besides that I am a visiting lecturer at several art academies, giving workshops, and am regularly invited for lectures and debates at European Institutes.

How did you know designing was your 'thing'?
It wasn't any given moment. It just grew on me! Haha. It's not only designing, but creating in general. I'm not good at everything, but in my spare time I write poetry, make music, do some DIY, even in our son's diary Alf or in my Strava posts I try to put some originality.

Fashion is especially fascinating because I think it's the most interdisciplinary art form in existence. A lot converges in it. Textile, pattern drawing, print design, styling, accessories, photography, music, choreography, up to the graphic design of the invitations and neck label. I've got ideas on all of that. My brain works in a way that during the process of catwalks or fashion projects, other mad ideas sprout like art installations, life style products and furniture. Therefor the cooperation with Present Time feels very natural and gives me the opportunity to realize and release some of these ideas.

The fun thing is, it also happened the other way around. During the design processes for Present Time, all of the sudden new clothing sketches were on the table. Ha ha.

How does a creative process run? Where do you get your inspiration?
Mayhem! I am continuously totally confused and in combat, creatively speaking.I get my inspiration 24/7 and from any and all places. Museums, newspapers, books, music. This ends up in my 'inspiration boxes'. On these boxes I wrote 'perspiration', because inspiration is the easy part, but what you do with it, is plain hard work.

I do not research online for these first steps. That is the 'now' and is controlled by filters and algorithms. What I see more and more, is conformity and less originality. I do use the internet at a later stage, but that's aimed to deepen further work on concepts.

Do you look forward to trends? Do you follow your own feelings?
Trends do not interest me. Hopefully it is my only arrogance that I believe that trend watchers look at designers like me. My ideas are sourced from feelings. There is so much stuff out there already, and if I really want to add to that, it needs to have an added value. To that end I seek for originality and to spread optimism.

We can't have enough of that! It's my natural reaction to oppose negativism with creativity.

What are your biggest design challenges during the design process?
Kill your darlings.

Which products did you design for Present Time?
Recently the coffee table 'Sliced' was launched. I stripped back the archetype of the table to it's very essence. Emphasizing its practical construction of 4 legs and a top, the table's aesthetics come into being. These basic elements are put together in such a way, that these are not only the practical construction. It creates an extra graphical and aesthetic power. The tilted legs are simply put into the top, and then 'sliced of’, creating the characteristic oval shapes, in relation to the angle of the legs. This construction and the ovals are emphasized by the contrasting materials of the legs and the table top.

This way the look of the table both emphasizes and disguises the construction at the same time. And a fun extra is that it’s actually an optical illusion, because it’s not really just the legs and a table top. Then it would collapse. :)

I’m very proud of the result! And it’s just the beginning, other exciting products are coming up!

What is your solid tip for anyone that would like to go the creative designer way?

Dare to dream and initially set unattainable goals. When you get halfway it still is a good result. And remember that when you are on originalty's trail, people will often ask you: 'Why do you do that?' Then answer thusly: 'Why not?'

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