The collection is a catalogue of hybrids between couture and vehicle designs; they are bulky and yet ultra-light. They physically and metaphorically claim back space. “There’s a top in silver leather. It’s car-inspired, but in the sense that it looks like an engine. Its cylindrical shape doesn’t enhance sexualised body parts such as waist and bust, but rather conceals them.” The embroideries on a pale-yellow draped dress retrace the street map of his mum’s German hometown. Retro-effective yarn is knitted into a gown that shields the body like armour and makes it shine, just like a Stop sign hit by the headlights at night. That’s as romantic as it gets. After all, it’s technique that unites car engineering and couture, and ultimately, what turned its conceptual visuals into clothing. “It was important for me to have a balance between show pieces and wearable garments,” he confesses. “I wanted to show that I can handle different materials and experiment with tailoring”.
“It was important for me to have a balance between show pieces and wearable garments.” – Tim Stolte
Tim could perfect his technical skills during his first three years of fashion education, when Antwerp was “inspiring but too intimidating”, and the Akademie Mode und Design of Hamburg seemed like a good place to start. Coming from a rural and highly conservative area of Germany, as a teenager Tim found shelter in creativity, “but when the time came, applying to the Royal Academy of Arts seemed too far fetched. I went for the safe choice.” With a product-oriented approach, the school taught him stitching, patternmaking and all those techniques that would later enable him to manufacture his collections completely by himself. “When it was time to apply to the BA in Visual Arts in Antwerp, I had enough confidence that a potential rejection wouldn’t affect me.”