Stefan Kartchev

Stefan Kartchev

Stefan Kartchev is an emerging designer that just landed in Paris from the Antwerp Fashion Department. His work is thoughtful and he bright, with artistic sensibilities that delight! Learn more about him here.

You graduated from the Antwerp Fashion Department and you’re in Paris right? What is it like there and is everyone fashionable?
I just moved to Paris two months ago and it really isn’t a vacation-like city…Just freely living as you can in Antwerp is not possible here. Hard work is demanded to stay on top. At the moment I am interning for Rombaut and doing some freelance work in prints and design.

If you keep to the same fashion bubble in Paris, I guess it is fashionable. I have bumped into very interesting and talented people in the arts. A bit less ephemeral than the fashion related ones, as their whole work reflects their personality very sincerely. Because of the way the fashion industry is built, there is often no so much time to go deep enough in the research and really create valuable product with a strong core which is a shame. In the future, if I want my work to be relevant, I will need to create my own system. This, of course, will need to be adjusted to the industry - hard, but not impossible.

I love your website! Did you make it yourself? Are you good with tech and can you code? How important is web presence in this day and age?
The website (that will soon be updated) is a result of the hard work of Berlin based studio Selam X - ruled by the digital guru Sebastian Zimmertalk. They have gathered together the most talented people involved in graphics, 3d, VR, web design, coding, etc. Social media has really helped me to spread my work around the globe…contacts are now being made very easily. It was online where we met with Sam Rolfes who designed the videos screened on the hologram accessories for my Masters collection.

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Tell us about the inspiration behind your MA collection. And, do designers get sick of collections? Or do the older collections become like long lost children? Explain your relationship to your past work.
Once again I found inspiration from my own country and it’s heritage. Some volumes in the pattern cuts come from religious orthodox vestments and their accessories used in the church. Other sources of inspiration come in unconventional ways, like moments on the street seeing draped motorcycle covers or worn down posters giving and ominous atmosphere. My prints aesthetic is strongly influenced by cycling wear - something I have been very obsessed with in the past years. Bioracer Belgium have trusted and sponsored me for the masters project as the are specialists in the sphere - without them a big part of the collection wouldn’t have happened.

I like to put text on garments picturing sarcastic and despairing traditional expressions like, “Gods are high above, kings are far away” or just the announcement of a clairvoyant that helps to reunite broken up couples….A landscape with a burning sun - a window showing a better reality….reflecting this part of society that counts on faith to bring a brighter future. Metallic and iridescent materials bring us a sparkle of hope.

I’ve done 3 collections, all during my academic curriculum. Due to breaks in-between the years, I had time to take distance and evaluate my work - to make them clearly distinct from each other while also building an evolving and growing aesthetic. This challenge was part of the learning process. It is always nice to see past work, even if it is sloppy. It instantly brings me back to the period of when I was creating it. So many emotions and thoughts - it is almost like reading a private diary with each little detail speaking for itself. I sometimes laugh about my design decisions and critic the choices made to produce the piece, but that the whole point of creating!

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What’s next for you in terms of design? What is in your future? Do you think seriously about your career path?
The more I learn, the more I realize how much more there is to explore. The important thing for one to do is to find their strengths and the sphere in which you will specialize. Adapting to the real world isn’t easy after having the freedom to create in the Academy. For now, I will be freelancing and I do have something coming up in the next year but it is too early in the process so I won’t spoil it now!

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If you could take a free trip to any country in the world, where would you go?
A friend is soon moving back to South Africa - her dad has a farm with giraffes. This would be perfect right now!

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