Austrian fashion designer Maximilian Rittler is not one to shy away from boldness. From the candid editorials, we get a whiff of the backstage of the golden era of glam rock, hairspray, glitter, velur, and all. In the interview, he talks the magic of creation, the power of music, and Antwerp's bustling culture scene.

Before we got into your brand, what brought you to menswear design?

I’ve always loved to create, ever since and long before there was even the thought of doing fashion. Drawing and, in particular, drawing costumes were my favourite. It took me a while to understand that translating my ideas into garments is what I will do later on in life. I started to get into fashion through design and when I was 19 years old, I started my first fashion education in Vienna, Austria. It was clear to me that the fascinating obstacle of creating a silhouette from a 2D design is the most magical process I have come to know. Doing menswear therefore became a communication with myself. Every time I start a collection, I get to know myself a bit better than before.

Would you tell us a bit about your aesthetic influences?

Glam rock is a fantastic source of inspiration, this very musical direction is a clash of masculine and feminine, soft and hard, romance and violence; so glamorous and storytelling. And rock music makes people come together. The perfect framework to tell a story. I work with music, I listen to an album and let the music lead my lines. There is no particular influence I follow – stories, pictures, paintings, music or situations and people inspire my aesthetics. I even include memories with friends, you see it’s a spectrum and very eclectic.

You are a Vienna-born designer currently living in Antwerp. What differences do you notice in the fashion scenes of both countries?

Indeed, there is a difference, yet creativity is equally spread in both cities. The sparkle of Antwerp, the city of diamonds, is to be found in the international input of people coming here from everywhere, in particular, for fashion. It is an agglomeration of culture that shuffles into this wild mix of aesthetics and ideas. That makes almost everyone in fashion in Antwerp or Belgium a foreigner and everyone has something unique regarding the cultural background to contribute to the city. Vienna is great but I found no peace in resting, therefore I moved towards struggle, stress and courage to become the person I wanted to become.

What’s the main idea behind your latest collection?

My last collection was presented in the FORMERS showroom at the Chateau St. Pierre at the Villa Noailles during the 36th edition of the Hyères Festival in October 2021, and was about me being a drawing teacher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Yes, I teach drawing, the transition from a student into a proper, taxpaying part of society, helping students to reach their maximum potential, was so impactful that I created my last collection around this new part in my life. The sparkle of my collection was inspired by the work of Peter Greenaway’s movie “A Draughtsman’s Contract” for which Michael Nyman created its magnificent soundtrack. 

How do you start thinking about a collection?  What comes first?

In the fashion department in Antwerp, each student is trained to follow guidelines regarding the creative process of creating a collection but for me, it is a simultaneous stimulation of all the mentioned ingredients that you as a designer choose how to materialise into a vision. Pictures, feelings, music, whatever catches your mind, you can feel if it’s the right thing, topic, story, influence. You know intuitively what is right to focus on. It’s what you need to learn as a designer: to imagine what works well together, even if it’s unknown or unforeseeable. As a designer, you are trained to learn to feel what fabrics and influences are translatable together through imagination. That is how it happens with me; I discover an input with all components, from fabrics to pattern fits, and sometimes it’s just luck.

Do you feel your style is developing through the years?

Better be, I invest a lot of energy to improve cohesively. It is part of the process to progress, development, and change. My work and aesthetic grew older with me but I was able to keep being the kid that was always fascinated by magic. Just now I am able to make magic by giving my ideas a form.

As a young fashion designer, what do you think is important to keep in mind these days?

So many things and nothing. If I start elaborating on the terms of sustainability and injustice, I get lost. What keeps me fresh is being interested and carried away in little details of life, friends and family. Feel every feeling intensively, be kind, start no drama, relax, be healthy,  being all made of fantasy. 


“All made of passion, all made of wishes,

All adoration, duty and observance,

All humbleness all patience and impatience,

All purty, all trial, all observance.“  

William Shakespeare, AS YOU LIKE IT


That is important to me. 

And a last question in tune with our current theme. Which animal is your familiar?

I’m a Tiger!

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Maximilian Rittler, born in Vienna, Austria, is a menswear designer living and working in Antwerp. He finished his first fashion education, BA, in Vienna in 2013, and the second BA in Antwerp in 2018, followed by MA in fashion in 2019. After graduation, he premiered his collection at the London Fashion Week, worked together with United Fashion and MAD LAB, creating the Label Daily Menu. In 2020, Rittler was the finalist of the 35th edition of the Hyéres Festival, working with Chloé, Maisons Desrues, Supima and Givaudan. In 2021, he presented his work at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin and worked with Geike Arnaert for Hooverphonic ‘s presentation at the Eurovision Song Contest. Since 2021, He has been teaching drawing at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.


Designer / Maximilian Rittler @rittlermaximilian

Interview / Kateřina Hynková


WOLF / 2018 / 

photo: Laura Knipsael, 

MUA: Ezio Costa

Model: Lois Rocque


Rock Me Amadeus / 2019 /

photo: Laura Knipsael

MUA: Ezio

Model Sieme Hermans


Ballroom Blitz / 2020 /

Photo: Jan Philipzen, 

MUA: Ezio Costa & Feline Julia

Model: Neil Hollyn

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