About the collection:
GB2022-CLUB – SHAMELESSLY TENDER
THIS SEASON, SAMPLE-CM JUMPS ON RIDING SPORTS FOR A NEW COLLECTION OF GRAND BASSIN. THE ECOFEMINIST GB2022-CLUB STANDS FOR A GENDER NEUTRAL SENSIBILITY.
THE GB2022-CLUB ARTICULATES SETS OF ELEMENTS – COMBINED TOGETHER THROUGH BRAIDING TECHNIQUES. THEY PAY TRIBUTE TO THIS SPECIAL TIME OF GROOMING SPENT WITH THE HORSE BEFORE RIDING. TINY GENTLE GESTURES AND CARING DAILY RITUALS ARE HERE AT THE CENTER OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS. ATTACHED OR DETACHED, BRAIDED OR NOT, THE PIECES OSCILLATE BETWEEN RODEO FRINGES AND TIGHT EQUESTRIAN GEAR, AMAZON ONE BREAST TOP AND JOCKEY JACKET, PONY MOTTLED COAT AND STRETCHY VELVET. EACH DESIGN IS NAMED FROM A TYPICAL HORSE NAME INVITING YOU TO CARE FOR AND INTERACT WITH.
SAMPLE-CM DESIGNS ARE MADE LOCALLY ON ORDER IN BERLIN ATELIER SINCE 2015 WITH LUXURY STANDARDS. THE ANNUAL GRAND BASSIN COLLECTIONS ARE JOINED BY ONGOING AND TROUBLEMAKING CONVERSATIONS. STANDING FOR A SLOW FASHION, SAMPLE-CM TAKES THE TIME AND EXPANDS THE FASHION MOMENT TO LONG LASTING AND INTERACTIVE CLOTHING REINVENTING THEMSELVES WITH THE USER.
#GB2022CLUB IS A PROJECT OF GRAND BASSIN BY SAMPLE-CM BERLIN.
Welcome back to our platform. How have you been since your last interview with us?
Yes, thank you very much for having us again. We are going through a very strange time and the last years have been particularly hectic for most of us. It became also striking for a lot of people that it is urgent to reconsider our relation to the planet, time and the others. In 2021, I launched a collection that I designed as a breaking point. It was the first collection of Sample-cm that was overtly political and activist. It was a cathartic personal necessity, I was super pissed off. It became obvious then that I could not go back to a “normal/less political” collection. I decided to consider the collection as the first opus of a trilogy that I have completed this year and will continue the next. It is a difficult period and many of the young are quite disillusioned. I try to not indulge in cynicism, to ride the punch and to consider my creation as some potential for action.
You focused on expressing your rage towards the privileged and male-dominated fashion industry in your previous collection, but the newest one took a more gentle and caring path. What changed? Can you tell us more about your influences on the latest collection?
I understand, the two collections seem at first very different and can be seen as contradictory. For me though, they work as two very complementary approaches on feminism in the sport and fashion industries.
The first opus GB2021-CLUB, launched last year, explored women’s martial arts and how disturbing and political it can be for women to enter a space (a gym) or to demonstrate an emotion (anger) – both the space and emotion traditionally reserved and held by men.
This season, I decided to observe a sport where equity seems attainable. Equestrian competitions are the only ones (with sailing) to be mixed at the olympics. Men and women compete together at a professional level. A priori, women are very welcome to practice riding sports, there are even a wide majority of women amateurs in the discipline. Very quickly it appears to me that this mixed sport is contradictory, one of the most gendered, where the stereotypes are essentialized and systemically used as an alibi. The women athletes, despite being the majority, rarely ever win the competitions (with the exceptions of dressage).The difference in their performances is being explained with women riders having an overprotective relationship with their horses at their own expense. The difference of financial resources, masculine chain of command, difficulties to access to sponsors, or limited time to practice the sport, are some of the systemic differences women athletes are in reality encountering in every sport and these reasons are completely dissimulated by a very stereotypical vision of a designed, ‘feminine’ way to ride. But even maybe more importantly, it is based on the strong belief that animal welfare and performance could not work along.
This logic naturally brought me into the eco-feminist approach and its view. The ecofeminist defends the idea that many systems that are capitalism and patriarchy have dominated nature and women in using the same mechanisms and a clear hierarchical relationship. Care, vulnerability and kindness would be more ‘feminine’, ‘natural’ and thus depreciated.
On the contrary, I believe ‘making kin’ is genuinely what we are urgently craving for and also that it could be very relevant in sport especially the disciplines involving animals. I also believe it can be a powerful alternative to masculinization (which I explored initially in the GB2021-CLUB) often presented as the only providential way to reach equity and justice. Traditional ‘feminine’ values as vulnerability should be considered as empowering, care jobs should be revalorized (and paid accordingly as true “essentials”) and a keener relation to the world should stop being seen as naive and idealist but rather non-binary, as a new form courage and an urgent necessity.
For me, the two respond to each other. I was super angry in 2021 and I still am. Now I want to explore what our options are, what can be done. And I think that politics of care are fundamental today.
How would you describe your process of creating a collection, from the idea to the photoshoot?
Each season, the label explores a new sport and its cultural background into a new collection of our main line “Grand Bassin”.
The DNA of the label is organized around interactivity and how small rituals, daily gestures or physical performances can carry as much poetry as they transport social relevance. Daily practices are small acts of resistance and creation, sport is extremely political.
The starting point of the design process is usually a specific gesture of the seasonal sport, or a specific detail of the sport’s uniform. This detail is then implemented and generalized to all the design processes and pattern-making.
For instance in 2020, the tennis collection was articulated around the hidden pockets of the tennis shorts used as connecting devices between the pieces. For the 2021 one about martial arts, the outfits were completely strapped all-in-one on the body as you would wrap your hand before a fight. For 2022 about riding sports, the braiding technique used during the grooming of the horse has been incorporated into all of the collection with small pieces of clothing to be braided together and cared for. The cultural environment or the historical background of the sport is then used as an opportunity to talk about a contemporary reality and report social and gender inequalities in both industries: sport and fashion.
The last two seasons have been designed as certain complete projects with interactive and immersive websites and series of side projects or collaborations enhancing the main creative concept.
You established your brand in 2015, and you have many projects behind you. What have you learnt these past years about running a brand that you think is important to keep in mind as a fashion designer today?
My experience has been full of resourcefulness and persistence. It has been difficult for me and it still is to integrate into an industry whose global values I don’t share and which is a class I don’t belong to. If I may recommend something to the young designers and for the future of fashion, it would be to be ready to take important risks on a creative and commercial level in the next few years and to think in terms of revolution rather than in terms of nostalgia or tribune. The young generation has no other choice than being political and meaningful, even in the luxury market, maybe even further. That is the only way it will allow a radical shift in the industry. It is urgent that fashion stops appropriating, revisiting or quoting. It is going in circles and in my opinion is no longer relevant or exciting. I believe to be truly contemporary, fashion has no other choice than to start anew while taking real account of what it means now, today, to design, produce and wear garments.
Swarm Mag currently focuses on animal and nature topics. So, the last question: What is your spirit animal?
Well, I have been pretty much focusing on horses for the past years. I’m still learning a lot and working on a few upcoming side projects as video reportages in the next months.
But for the spirit animal – I believe I would have to say my dog Flynn. I have been his companion for the past three years and he really changed my life in bringing back very strong emotions and sensations from my childhood. I love to watch him, to observe silently his body language, how he walks at his pace and how very strangely he interacts with the world. It has been a very grounding and still very spiritual experience for me. That’s what I mean with “bringing back sensations from childhood”, when you are a kid and can spend hours just watching the grass closely and apprehend the world as full of mysteries with hidden still glaring meanings.
I also feel very connected to smaller animals like insects. Once again, it is related to my childhood. My dad would collect insects when I was young, and I used to spend days and full nights building traps with lights and home-made equipment, learning their habitats and their daily routine. I have become quite familiar with a lot of the European insect species since then. I am always very surprised when people get scared by them when so very few sting but most are rather completely harmless. As Donna Haraway defines it in her work, I like to think of all animals or plants as “companion species”. We are all somehow interacting with each other, back and forth, whether we want it or not, we are all impacting each other’s habitats. Learning to live together with understanding of what it does imply, the ignorance, the violence and the poetry might be the priority for today.