Gert Jonkers exerts considerable influence across the editorial world of fashion beyond the mainstream. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Fantastic Man, and co-founded the magazines BUTT, The Gentlewoman and The Happy Reader. Born in Otterlo, the exact centre of the Netherlands, he has been writing about people, music, art, and fashion since 1992, and currently lives in Amsterdam.
In what ways is exploration a natural part of the design process?
I love an expression that photographer Viviane Sassen once told me: “A dog that doesn’t look around will never find a bone.” We have to look around. We have to try things out. Taking risks, with the chance of failure. Never be scared or embarrassed when you’re making something new.
What are some of the themes and ideas that you would like to see designers exploring through the next few seasons?
Extravagance, nudity, and in general, modernity. It would be amazing if the brilliant designers of today could combine modernity with not forcing us to just buy new stuff – because the world is literally drowning in clothes already – to put us on a personal path of inventiveness and creativity. That’s what fashion should be.
How do you, personally, explore what’s new and exciting in fashion?
When looking at fashion – presentations, shows, collections – I hope to keep my eyes open to things I don’t know or haven’t heard of yet. In terms of trying things out, wearing clothes, I’ve always enjoyed wearing things I don’t like, or that I don’t really think look good. The thrill of wearing ugly clothes (okay, within reason, and not 24/7) is very inspiring and exciting.
How have the past few years shaped how your exploration through social media and the virtual world?
Social and virtual media are incredible tools to see things that you’d have missed otherwise. But to be honest, I still prefer reality – seeing real people and the clothes they wear, and how they wear them. It never stops fascinating me. That’s why travel is important; you see the best people in trains and on buses, and on the streets of cities other than where you live. I find museums always inspiring when it comes to seeing people wearing stuff. Maybe I find it a turn on to see people looking at art – or I fancy art fans? That’s my fashion tip: go to a museum and watch the crowd.
This was at the Nxt Museum in Amsterdam last week, and I was intrigued by this guy’s draw-string-y T-shirt (Nike, I think) and high waisted cargo trousers tucked into his boots. He seemed to be enjoying an art work by Oseanworld.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.