Wool Week Belgium – Tom Van Der Borght
“INVISIBLE FACES” Copyright Alexander Popelier
Fashion designer Tom Van Der Borght was very eager to participate in the first edition of Wool Week Antwerp. He was happy to answer some questions about his work and his fascination with wool.
Please tell us a little about yourself and how your designs utilize wool?
I’m a young avant-garde street couture designer, looking for a new aesthetic in fashion. I am crazy about larger-than-life volumes and focus on creating innovating graphics and textures. Since my first collection, wool has been a core material in my collections. My work is always about creating textures, by mixing digital and innovating techniques with artisanal handmade pieces. The natural quality of wool forms the basis of my knitwear, clashing with other innovative fibres like elastane fibres or Glow in the Dark materials.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration always comes from close to myself. It can start from personal experiences or from larger scale events in our society. As I have a background as a social worker, my work is always a reflection of social reality. I’m a dreamer, on a conquest to change the world.
What makes you choose wool over other fibres?
Its natural quality and characteristics are a perfect starting point in contrast with the innovative techniques I use. And there is also a melancholic side to it, as I still have strong memories of my childhood, when my mother and grandmother were knitting and doing crochet.
How do you source wool?
I work with an amazing agent in Belgium who always presents me the newest trends in yarn. Next to it for some projects I also used upcycled wool, as in my spare time I’m kind of a material collector. I also buy at flee markets, vintage shops and auctions.
Are there any plans to introduce more wool in to your collection?
At the moment I want to develop our product range step by step. Wool will always be an important source of inspiration, also for the upcoming collections.
What is your opinion about The Campaign for Wool and your participation in Wool Week?
I was really excited about my participation in Wool Week. I think it’s an amazing way to show the diversity of the material and a great platform to unite experienced and more upcoming designers around their shared passion for this amazing material.
What does 2015 hold for you?
2015 will be a continuation of realizing my Dreams, in fashion and beyond. Just keep your eyes open for more TVDB !!
Identity forms the base of our modern-aged Western society. But it has a double side. On one hand society nowadays not allows to hide your identity anymore on a formal way. On the other side social media and virtual life gives people the chance to deform or recreate their own identity. It leaves us sometimes with the question what is real and what isn’t. The “Invisible Masks” are a reflection on this current trend, allowing you to cover your face with a soft wool-based second layer. Are they imaginary creatures? Are they a layer on the outside? Or are they a representation of the personality inside? Fully hand-crochet made, free-spirited, texture-based and imaginary, made to hide your face or show your personality. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.
Curator of the Wool Week exhibition, freelance journalist Veerle Windels on Tom Van Der Borght:
Ever since graduating from the Sint-Niklaas Academy in 2012, Tom Van der Borght has been experimenting with the boundaries of traditional beauty. His work is unconventional and often distressing to an audience looking for a traditional fashion approach. Last year, Tom has been awarded the Premium Young Designer Award in Berlin and won the C&A Reimagine Design Challenge.