Unpredictable fashion designer Kristof Buntinx today puts no fewer than 10 brand-new, thematic collections in the spotlight, where "customisation" is the common denominator.
“Customisation is the future of fashion,” the Brussels designer proceeds. “Everyone with a few good ideas and a drawing program can call themselves designers these days.” But instead of condemning the trend, Buntinx calls the underlying equality an almost communist fact, only contradicted by the uniqueness that always goes with one's own design. “Ironically enough it is a sales website, the result of a capitalist society, which in this case encourages both equality and individualism,” he touches on the contradictions with a wink.
The major advantage of a website with customisation basics is the freedom that goes with it, according to Buntinx. As the principle excludes prefinancing and brick-and-mortar expenses, a saving that is furthermore directly translated into the price of the clothing. In addition, the designer points out the environmentally friendly nature of customisation, since when there is no stock, no one has to contend with surplus.
1. Aldi stands for luxury
“Aldi and Walmart are luxury brands,” according to designer Kristof Buntinx. “In the sense that the founders of both low-budget chains have not become any poorer.” Karl Albrecht, one of the "Aldi brothers" and founder of the German Aldi supermarket chain has been the richest German for years with some 17 billion euros. And Christy Walton's ties to the Walmart chain didn't do her any harm. Since the death of her husband, John, she is worth approximately 40 billion dollars, a figure that makes her the richest woman in the world to date.Buntinx drew inspiration from the chains' store bags for luxuriously executed designs with names like Aldi-glamour girl and Glamorous bag jacket. On these garments the logos of budget stores replace the usual luxury brand monograms. Make a statement!
2. Chucked out
With Belgian Bag Lady Buntinx teaches a lesson in dissatisfaction. The bomber jacket with the imprint of Brussels refuse bags illustrates that people treat each other like dirt. Even if the designer finds it somewhat liberating at times to be a bit of a teenage dirtbag. “Everyone should have the right to shun their responsibilities every once in a while.”
3. Bled dry
I’m a cash machine playfully takes a shot at our society. Anyone who has ever felt financially bled dry can now express their displeasure with this sweater with the Bancontact (Belgian payment card) logo.
4. Building bridges
Kristof Buntinx himself never attended the fashion academy but with his façade-collection everyone literally wears the aura of Belgian fashion temples such as La Cambre and the Antwerp Academy. The collection, which consists of a shift dress, two sweaters and a T-shirt, is not the umpteenth ode to the country's fashion schools but a wake-up call for the fashion world, where still too many doors only open to overblown names.
On the homo scene a chicken is a young, desirable person and that is exactly what the I’m a Chicken sweaters refer to. This whimsical unisex-collection is a tribute to youth and beauty, for all those who are proud to be a chicken.
6. Status symbol
For fashion houses quoted on the stock exchange, everything revolves around the bottom line. That is why the four sweaters from the Status collection display stock market quotation graphics for fashion giants like Inditex and H&M, as a reminder that money and creativity all too often compete with each other.
7. Spoiled brat
Kristof Buntinx used to be called a "spoiled brat", incidents he now recognises as envy. “As a child it was easy for me since I had everything, but from a less privileged position the world looks a lot different.” With messages like "I’m never jealous because I’m beautiful", "I’m never jealous because I'm born rich" or "I’m never jealous because I’m first in my class" the Spoiled Brat-collection reminds us that envy is foreign to those who have it all.
8. To blow up
Every day is more hectic than the previous one and it is no wonder that everyone is about to blow up. The Suicide Bomber Backpack disguises fear and tenseness in humour and takes the edge off every loaded moment. With Doggy Bag, the second bag in the series, Buntinx takes the language literally and combines word and image for a playful result.
9. For sale here
The two caps designed by Buntinx, zoom in on a society where everything is for sale and on the question whether everyone can deal with it. Anti-Psychotic Headware refers to Buntinx’ own imposed use of drugs with images of the drug Solian. You can fill your head, not only with pills but also with (bought) brains, the designer states, with the surrealist Buy your Brains here cap. “Knowledge, status and even degrees are for sale, and therefore why would I not take this literally a by putting brains on a cap?”
10. Best foot forward
Inspired by the World Cup, Buntinx customised a pair of Italian, leather shoes in Brazilian colours. But in order not to forget that during the war that is football, there is strength through unity (Belgium's national motto), the Belgian coat of arms adorns every shoe's tongue.