An Interview with Menswear Designer Marc Stone

The Style Examiner recently came across the menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2013 designed by Marc Stone (and photographed by Ryan Jerome) and was immediately seduced by its strong structural shapes. This is an ambitious collection comprising 139 pieces that juxtaposes lines and angles to engender a modern male silhouette in an elegant subdued manner.

The minimalist (and seemingly effortless and casual) overall feel of the collection comes from working quality fabrics (sourced mostly from Italy) such as linen, wool, cold dyed cotton, wool-viscose blends, cotton elastane blends or linen modal blends that drape over the body in a relaxed way. At the same time, the fluid silhouettes appear in neutral colours like clean white and soft sand that contrast with cement, dusty grey, steel, blacks and dashes of bright orange to create playful effects of shade and depth.

Hailing from Zurich, Marc Stone has developed his clothing brand as a holistic concept influenced by contemporary art, music, theatre and film. His debut collection (titled ‘Mecanic’) was presented in Zurich’s Gessnerallee theatre, and the second (under the name ‘Metropole’) saw its conceptual artwork being selected for an exhibition in the city’s ‘Museum für Gestaltung’. His next project, ‘EE79 M1’, won second place at the Triumph International competition in Valencia, Spain, and the following collection (‘Human Protection’) won the first place at Basel’s Fashionprize awards. Following this growing success, ‘Project 12’ (for Spring/Summer 2012) was awarded the Premium Young Designers Award in the menswear category. Since 2011, the label has presented its collections in Paris, Milan, Berlin and New York.

The Style Examiner met Marc Stone to find out more about this promising menswear brand, and its plans for the future.

Tell us about your latest collection?
This summer we presented our Spring/Summer 2013 collection in New York, Berlin and Milan. This is a limited edition collection, designed in collaboration with Icelandic artist Thelma Herzl whose work matches perfectly the minimalist spirit of my designs. Her black-and-white photographs show volcanic formations full of fragile beauty and mysticism, and incorporate stunning pictures of ash patterns that I used for my garments.

Where do you normally find inspiration for your work?
I work with my design team to choose themes around pop culture in film, music, architecture or art. The world of architecture holds a huge variety of potential sources of inspiration. The opportunities present in the natural world around us or discovered while travelling to new places can provide great sources of inspiration. In addition, movies can have this role as they often have interesting settings and costumes. Contemporary art can also provide a wealth of potential design inspirations.

Tell us about your education in fashion and how it helped you getting where you are.
I started my career as a self-learner. The design school I attended later supported me in the basics for the design. I also studied project management and management which was helpful as the business of fashion has its own rules and own structure. Fashion schools in general can’t give you this experience if they don’t have a system that allows you to do internships or work while you study. I guess it’s necessary to take your own steps in the business. It can be difficult in the beginning but if you have a good product and persevere, you are bound to succeed.

Whose creative work do you admire the most?
I admire Anselm Kiefer’s typical dull and destructive style. The use of photography as an output surface is prevalent, and the earth and other raw materials of nature are often incorporated. I like the ability in how he argues with the past and controversial issues from recent history in his paintings. I also love the creativity of Baptiste Debombourg: generally, he treats the unglamorous roles of objects (that we use and throw away) as if they were precious. The process of transformation in each work is simply fabulous. And I like Yoko Ono for her contributions to the avant-garde treatment of film and music, and also for her dedication to challenging conventional definitions in the fine arts, and in the relationships between artwork and viewer. She is a visionary!

How close are you to other Swiss designers?

Switzerland is quite small for fashion as a business. Most designers know each other or have at least done fairs together abroad or did maybe a catwalk or an event together. As it is a less competitive environment than in Milan or New York, we respect and try to support each other. Currently, there is a new wave of really strong Swiss designers in the market. It’s a quickly growing market with some very strong designer especially in the field of contemporary and avant-garde design. But with Marc Stone we chose to work a lot outside Switzerland: we launched in Milan, and have been showing internationally since then, in places like New York, Berlin, London and Seoul.

Where do you see your career and your label going next?
We are very satisfied with how this year went. We are expanding our market into Asia and we are doing many catwalks, presentations, collaborations, celebrity dressing and fairs… So, for now, we are focussing on a range of upcoming events. I’ve always enjoyed creating garments and being involved in all of Marc Stone projects and process. I think is also important to push fashion forward, to take risks and experiment. I personally think that is a very exciting time for menswear. I look forward to seeing what’s next!