Joerg Koch founded the magazine 032c in 2001 in Berlin. Two decades later, the bi-annual publication has become a media company and aggregator of cultures and communities through its incomparable artistic imagery and disruptive fashion slant. In 2016, the title evolved into a brand proposing merchandise such as T-shirts and hoodies, and expanded further into ready-to-wear at the 2018 edition of Pitti Uomo. The collection is overseen by Joerg’s wife Maria, who worked at Jil Sander and consulted for Yeezy. As a couple, they are considered among the most authoritative and independent voices contributing to fashion.
To what extent do you think fashion is about proposing/selling dreams? How might this have a positive effect on people?
Our ready-to-wear collections have had to do with dreams from day one. Adolescent dreams, dreams of belonging, dreams of expansion — they connect to the deep desires that make us who we are and our influence as we evolve as individuals and as creative producers. I don’t know what making fashion looks like without the idea of a dream or longing. And of course this is very positive, because everyone has them – having a dream is a way you can connect to absolutely everyone, but it does that in a super intimate way. No other experience is that intimate and universal. This balance is exactly what makes for successful fashion — both in terms of the ideas and how the market responds to them.
What is one trend or item of clothing that will define the coming year?
In the studio a big theme for us has been combining ideas of strength and protection — of fortification, with ideas of softness or vulnerability — of flexibility. Finding and celebrating the holes in things that are solid, or the delicate parts of things that are supposed to be armor, whether that is in the material or in the design of the garment – I think a lot of people are looking for that right now. So items that allow for that — that “do both” — will be important this year. Think workwear and waterproof outerwear with soft touches of sustainable shearling or faux fur, or modifiable garments where the hardware that zips you up and protects you is also what makes it sexy and invites others in.
How does this visual speak your dreams of fashion?
We feel a port is a very unstable place: everything is shifting, people and things are in constant flux. We are attracted by that, as well as by the constant remixing of influences. At the same time, there is a solitude where nothing is fixed, where people come together, but never stay. We have the Otis Redding song in my head, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” when he sings the line, “and this loneliness won’t leave me alone.” It’s the best lyric to describe that impermanence.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.