For a Generation of Free Spirits

January 20, 2023

Christoph Rumpf won the Grand Prix of the Jury at the Hyères Festival in 2019. The Austrian designer finished his studies at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in 2020 and founded his eponymous brand in Paris the year after. With a modern approach and a sustainable point of view, he is creating a wardrobe for the modern refined man and woman, mixing his taste for traditional tailoring, fabrics and techniques.

What would you like us to know about this collection?

This collection was made in a very short time and it is my first menswear collection in almost two years. As usual, my inspiration is very widespread. I wanted to combine different ideas which result in something new. We started working around the story of a phoenix rising from the ashes – something personal, since I felt restricted in what I was doing over the past few seasons. Our mood board was full of mystical imagery, fairy tales, grunge, punk and queer culture. And to my own surprise, I included many references from my home country Austria. I wanted something uplifting. A collection inspired by a character filled with rage who finds calm in the beauty of the world. Then another idea was to create a look for a new subculture. I was thinking about young people who care about the future of the world and about their frustration with the government and politics. I tried to show how I see this generation of creatives and free spirits who do not have a specific way of dressing like, for example, subcultures in the ’70s or ’80s. They all look different, and I tried to create something that connects these kids.

How does this collection evolve upon previous seasons?

It was important for me to make clothes that stand out, pieces you are proud of to have, but that are also possible to wear every day. For our outerwear, we concentrated on classic pieces made from high quality Austrian wool and embroidered silk puffer jackets. I worked with a fantastic company who also embroidered our classic panelled shirts and foulards with dreamy motifs. The merino knitwear was inspired by traditional Austrian cardigans and are made by a small company in France. We also created different accessories, from a wool fanny pack to upcycled shearling hats. But the most eye-catching pieces are our new belts; one of them features opulent gold swans.

The fashion audience is ever evolving. How important is it for you to connect with Generation Z?

More important than ever. Even though the collection ticks boxes for every age group, I think it is very visible that I had a very young audience in mind. I don’t think Gen Z has a certain style; it is a very wild mix. Since I don’t like to conform to one certain style for my brand, this just pushes me even more to keep mixing influences and inspirations. I think there is nothing more interesting than putting many things together and seeing what comes out of it. I am not here to repeat the last few decades over and over again. And I think Gen Z shares my frustration with the ongoing repetitive cycle we are trapped in.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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