Why the revisitations, just ‘cause you wanted to use what you still had?
“Yeah, exactly. And referring to 2003 again, what was so great about then was that you could recognise the brands. They were based on classics: you just knew the Helmut Lang fit. And then you get the same shirt again, and again, and again with an attitude that is relevant to the time. I think that’s exactly what I wanted to do with this as well: to make something that is relevant today. I would also hate to see these beautiful pieces go to waste. There always will be a few dead stock pieces to go alongside the rest. There’s also something sustainable about it.”
Without defining it just with that word…
“Yeah, that’s why we called it Deadstock and not ‘sustainable, recycled old pieces’. The name is quite brutal, and a bit misleading at the same time, but I kind of like that. It’s nice to confuse. And it has that type of little subcultural connotation to Woodstock.”
“THE PRODUCTION IS ALWAYS THE TRICKY PART. YOU SHOULDN’T BE TOO SCARED OF IT, BUT I THINK YOU DO NEED TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT.”
But the idea of using dead stock goes even deeper. For the past few years Salonen has been helped out by the Bonotto fabric mill in Molvena, Italy. “We hooked up together ‘cause I was going through his bins when I was in Diesel – the factory was just next to this mill. Every day when I was walking back home from the Diesel Creative Centre I’d go through all the scrap material in his bins.” The Diesel studio manager put him in touch with Giovanni Bonotto, the Creative Director of the mill, who has helped him out with fabrics ever since. “I kind of like the idea of going through the bins. I still have loads of those fabrics left. They are beautiful – most of them are trials of different colours, so they are all unique pieces of material.”
Are you nervous about restarting your own thing on the side, knowing how tough it can be?
“Of course I’m a bit nervous, but at the same time, even though my current director job is great and fulfils creative freedom to do things that are similar to my own aesthetic, it’s very different to this. With my current role I get to work with a great team to make a bigger amount of products that are within a certain brief. On top of designing it is a lot about delegating the process to the hands of others, whereas Heikki Salonen, even though I work with a team there too, is all about being able to be surrounded by fabrics, toiles, and images myself – working on every single pattern and product with my own hands. They both complement each other and I can’t really live without either of them…” He laughs.