I read that you grew up wearing uniforms during school, including during your two-year military service. Do you think that influenced you as well?
Absolutely. It didn’t necessarily influence my designs, but it influenced who I am. From a very young age, we were in uniform. I think there’s something to a uniform that unified all mankind under that same community. There’s no rich and poor, and there is no “Who’s clothes are you wearing?” It takes the attention from “What am I going to wear today?” to things that are more important than that. During high school, it’s tough because this is the time that you want to express yourself and to look different. I was cheating a lot. I was wearing my Levi’s jeans instead of the other pants that everyone was wearing, and I was wearing a blue shirt that wasn’t exactly the shirt of the uniform but was blue. Sometimes, they caught me and put me in the corner, and sometimes, they let it be. But then in the army, obviously, it’s different. Uniform also brings discipline. When you’re in a uniform, you have a sense of responsibility to the community that you’re serving at the moment. I think having the opportunity to be in a disciplinary environment for so long also contributed to who I am. I’m a very disciplined person. I know what I need to do, and I get it done. But at the same time… coming out of it, you come out wanting to express yourself after that. It brings maybe even more creativity. For two years, you’ve been wearing the same thing, and now, you can wear anything that you want. It’s quite exciting and refreshing.
The elements of uniform in my collections and the military in the army green that appears quite often in my collections is not necessarily coming from [wearing a] uniform. I think it comes from growing up in a country where the army is something that you’re very much aware of on a daily basis. You see soldiers everywhere, guns, uniforms. You learn to live with it and accept that this is something that protects you rather than something that is aggressive. You feel safe. Unfortunately, sometimes, the police are an aggression and not so much protecting. But to me, as a child growing up, the army was someone who keeps us safe. So that’s why, maybe, there was so much of that in my work in a good way.