Thomas Behrens: Brave New Design

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Thomas Behrens is a fashion designer with a special vision. He is not interested in creating clothes for profit, rather Thomas Behrens  strives to design a really good jacket that lets you dream and realize your fantasies. Hence, his collections are more conceptual than commercial in nature. A great emphasis is placed on workman-ship, materials and distinguishing characteristics. Thomas Behrens  rebels against the cultural wasteland and boredom that prevails in fashion today. Which in turn, incites him to never work with beautiful but banal clichés like frills and felt flowers – just because it is fashionable. Thomas Behrens  is finding innovation in precision.

After someone advised  Thomas Behrens to concentrate on realistic everyday fashion he decided to create one last couture collection, inspired by Superstudio, the Italian architecture group who had a major influence on the Radical Architecture movement of the late 1960s. Like his architectural predecessors, Thomas Behrens’ design is heavily influenced by futuristic landscapes. The collection is called “Prototype” – challenging all aspect of design and technical limits. The collection is as much Behrens’ manifesto as it is a critique of contemporary fashion and the constraints of commerce. Ever the provocateur, Thomas Behrens staged a guerilla fashion show right in front of the main event tent during Berlin’s Fashion week.

All photos by Filine Fink

Even the documentation of his collection is completely conceptional. The photographer Filine Fink, shot his collection within the context of foreign control, with elements of science fiction. The series of photos shows the mutation of a person from having his own freewill to being inwardly frightened and starting to mutate into another, not self-determined human.

In Germany, Thomas Behrens so far has only a small following. Here, fashion is still conceived as something that should enhance your looks versus on aesthetic statement that expresses how you really feel. The main questions people raise are always of a very pragmatic nature: Who will wear it and who will pay for it? People generally don’t consider getting dressed as an experiment. Unlike Thomas Behrens, who often wears elements that look like as if they are wearing him. Thomas Behrens  likes that in the process, the clothes change his attitude and opinions. Sounds like a great experience. Fear be gone! Fashion is a game and should not be restricted by the expectations of others.

Now working on a new project, Thomas Behrens finds inspiration from all kinds of sources. He regularly visits a bookstore where one of the women who works there knows him well and will pull anything from the shelves that relates to what he has currently on his mind. He also gets inspired by digging through second-hand shops, always looking for historic elements in the clothes. Hence, Thomas Behrens  is playing with elements that give a medieval flair to the clothes, though going beyond style in the design, by trying to evoke the dress of a vulnerable soldier. To create new forms and ideas, everyday for two hours, he puts himself in the role of a 20th century designer.

In his new collection, Thomas Behrens imagines what it would be like to jump “from the bed onto the carpet right into the pool” – much like living in a single storey bungalow. When he visited a building of Richard Neutra last year, Thomas Behrens got inspired by the transitions from the carpet to the pool which are just separated by a pane. He will present his more wearable collection at “Pitti Uomo” from the 18th to 21st June in Florence.

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