Hello Six, it's great to have you here today and you should know by now I am a huge fan of your brand! So, what made you want to become a fashion designer? What was your experience like when studying at Royal Academy of Arts Antwerp?
I remember after finishing high school, I had a period where I didn't really know what I would like to do or what I could do. I always liked Japanese Fashion and Magazine when I was young, so I said to myself: why not starting something with fashion? I would like to think of my four years at the academy as an education of myself: a constant process of absorbing different ideas, backgrounds and influences, combining them and finally elaborating them; a process in which I became ever more open to new and fresh directions for men’s tailoring. I dare to say the strong work ethos at the academy made me a richer person in every thinkable way. At the academy I learned how to work autonomously and how to translate my global ideas and thoughts into a perfectly balanced silhouette. The steady stream of new emotions and impressions got reshaped in my designs in a rational and creative way.
I think school is always the place to let you explore yourself and to enhance your strengths. I am glad Royal Academy of Arts Antwerp helped you to reshape your designs. What is the aesthetic of you brand? Is there a particular signature element in your brand that sets you apart from other designers?
I would say classical, sophisticated, but yet cute, playful, and innocent at the same time. I guess that's what my personality really are, like sometime very serious but twisted with a sense of humor and a bit of fun. Adjectives like thoughtful, elegant, contemplative, clever, romantic, classic and futuristic, dreamlike and playful are words that can describe my collections.
I think a bit of everything! The silhouettes, for example, I usually go for something very clean but yet complicated. The details about the twisted collar and high waisted pant are some of the things that reflect my way of thinking. I also like colours a lot. I really like to mix different fabrics and checks pattern or even prince of wale together to make a piece less classical.
Your brand has a very playful element which I think it has set you aside from other brands. Wearing your clothes will definitely feel confident and cool. I know that you had the chance to work with the Alexander McQueen menswear team when you were in London. How was the experience?
It was a priceless experience, really. As you know I am in love with traditional British tailoring, so it was a great opportunity for me to work there after finishing school. My favourite thing there was that I learnt the total opposite of what I learnt in school. In school we were taught to start with one silhouette and create a collection one by one. At Alexander McQueen they created different pieces and mixed them together as silhouettes for the show. In the menswear team, there's the creative director, 1 designer, 1 textile designer, 1 graphic designer. Alexander McQueen himself just came once every week to see about how we were doing and we had fitting once a month with him. I loved the way how we communicated with each other through images, feeling and garment. I would say it sounded more like a spiritual experience.
Patterns that inspire the collection
This must be the most memorable and valuable experience you have to date as not a lot of people can say they have worked for Alexander McQueen himself. Now, let's talk about your recent F/W 2012 collection. Will you be able to tell my readers about your inspirations and the special things we should keep in mind when looking at your collection?
F/W 2012 Six Lee collection titled "We're all at the end, is a duology that continues the story of S/S 2011 season collection - “We’re all in the dance".
The story features vintage portraits of males’ relationships that captures a world of feeling between them, and eventually hidden from eyes.
Through the story of previous season, life is a dance, we are constantly looking around for our beloved one, and to share the most memorable and priceless moments together as the end of the world approaches.
Beautifully photographed by Jaime Martinez, all the landscapes, sunset images are mirrored to create a natural, and yet surreal atmosphere. With uncertainty, insecurity and doubts about doomsday and not knowing how we will embrace it, I see explosion, smoke, freezing ice and different kinds of stones - marble, granite, pyrite, carnelian and quartz; the elements for the prints and accessories for this collection.
Bags and backpacks will features with distinctive details mixed with favorable British tailoring, to create a new futuristic and sophisticated aspect. The silhouettes collection is a miniature and focal interest on a Turkish Whirling Dervishes Ceremony - part of a formal ceremony known as the Sama.
Inspired from the Sama, as one of the many Sufi Ceremonies performed to reach religious ecstasy; the aesthetic movements throughout the ritual, the well connected layering of orthodox Judaism, the costumes of Samaritan Tribes and the Nomads clothing have become a collectable notions of a noble modern gentlemen, who bring along all his treasured belongings and search with his belief in love.
"We walk through hell but it will be fine if we are together".
It's rare I hear designers saying their inspiration is from Sama and I think the result is amazing! How has your brand evolved ever since you graduated from Royal Academy of Arts Antwerp? What will be the future direction of this brand?
I think for myself, I am still growing in every way as a person, particularly on how to get the balance, such as life, love and work. The brand direction would still be a contemporary dandy. Fuelled by my love for a hybrid cultures, a story telling and traditional British tailoring. Equally important im my approach is the constant quest for innovation. The designs are always looking for the now and tomorrow, even if they are inspired by historical or classical references. The key elements stay as: elegant, contemplative, overly romantic, classic, futuristic, dreamlike, poetic, sensitive and contemporary.
I like your key elements of your brand and that might be a big reason why I am attracted to your collections. Last but not least, if you could have a celebrity to be the spokesperson of SixLee, who would you choose? Why?
Haha! That's a good question! THAT WOULD BE Joseph Gordon-Levitt !!!!! I just love him, his timeless face! Boyish but yet still very mature! Totally MY type of guy to be my brand's muse!
------------------------------------Trivia questions are always the best part of an interview so now, let's take a look what kind of answers Six is providing to us!
i-D or Vogue ?
Monocle!!!! I am just not into fashion magazines. Monocle is fun to read!!!!
Rick Owens or Gucci?
Dries Van Noten! Haha we do like Belgian designer! Dont we?
White or Blue?
Blue! Yves Klein blue would be ideal!
Summer or Winter?
Well I would say summer in Europe and Winter in Asia! haha
Bow Tie or Tie?
Circles or Triangels?
Square! I like boxy shape!
Studs or Crystals?
PC or Mac?
Once we go for Mac, We never turn back!
Dog or Cat?
Ummmmmmmm I like dog better!
Hong Kong or London?
Hong Kong for Production! Antwerp for Creativity ! London for Museum and Gallery and Clubbing!
That's a wrap! Thank you so much to Six Lee for taking his time to answer my questions and I am looking forward to see more amazing collections from him in the future. I heard that this coming S/S 2013 season, he is going to have more funky pieces and I cannot wait to see them. All images are courtesy of Six Lee and you can click here to visit his official website.