“Here the boundaries meet and all contradictions exist side by side.” Fyodor Dostoevsky in ‘The Brothers Karamazov’
Feeding science into fashion with his label, mphvs, Martijn van Strien’s world is a dark harmony of the future perfect Belgian Fashion.
Van Strien’s abstract, conceptual fashion vision was first spotted at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where his super imaginative graduation projects explored two ends of the spectrum. Part of the post couture collective, his Threads for Cockaigne project was inspired by craftsmanship from the past and Medieval tales. His next project, Dystopian Brutalist Outerwear explored future and ‘sustainable’ adaptations of textile design.
Following his interest in and love for future-focused and sustainable fashion, he assisted Bruno Pieters at Honest By in Antwerp – another of the avant garde Belgian fashion designers treading their own paths. There he got stuck right in to material sourcing, graphic design and publishing.
In the world of Martijn van Strien, anything is possible. Urban becomes rural, ugly turns into beauty and rainbows come in black and white. Ever future-focused, van Strien’s aim is to make the best possible version of everything. Like his approach to sustainable fashion where he adopts recycled or organic-based synthetic materials instead of more traditional eco materials like organic hemp or cotton.
And so to mphvs, van Strien’s fledgling fashion label, where collections start with experimentation. With style sure. But also with modern materials and machinery. High tech machines create not only new synthetic materials, but new shapes and textures. The feel is industrial, futuristic and brutalist. Edgy, bespoke and unreal.
The new Contra.dictions collection, first seen in a stunning show at Berlin Fashion Week earlier this year, is designed for both men and women. It’s a collection inspired by journeys on the edge of existence. The very graphic cuts and patterns reflect this journey. The shapes reflect architecture – the buildings, bridges and other man-made structures passed by on a journey.
Made using high-tech laser-cutting equipment, unconventional materials are transformed into wearable pieces. The textiles came from research into how to make industrial materials lighter, flexible and more wearable. So holes and outlines were laser cut into PVC-tarpaulin with 3d spacer fabric and neoprene making them more flexible, and more easily shaped into garments, sizes or prints. It’s an industrial world, but one where one-off originals are suddenly very possible. A 21st century approach to haute couture.