Before graduating from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna in 2020, Christoph Rumpf had already won the 2019 Grand Prix du Jury at the Hyéres Festival. Earlier this year, he launched his namesake brand, based an approach that mixing traditional menswear with a modern vision and a sustainable point of view. He conceives his collections to speak to sophisticated men and women who appreciate well-tailored clothing with an artistic touch.
How do you define the future?
Different and hopefully more fair. In any way, I like change and I think the future is going to be good, I am tired of people dooming everything.
Why is the future such an important element of fashion?
Because the future is harder to define than the past. In my mind, a good designer strives for the new even though it might mean double the work. We have seen the repetition of the past too many times by now.
What is one global or social issue currently shaping fashion’s future?
I think sustainability certainly is an issue shaping fashion, but it is hard to define what that word even means and where it starts. So maybe awareness is a better term. I also think the issue of classism will become important — at least, to start, as a conversation. I have the feeling fashion is not what it used to be a few decades ago. I think the industry is driven by money; which is fair, but how people compete is not. Good marketing outranks a good product, and I see a lot of great young designers fail, while people with the right money stay in business. I believe this industry lives and breathes from good clothes and good ideas, not good ads.
Do you think about the future when creating a collection?
I mostly think about [what can be] new, as I do not want to re-create something. Even though I might start with an existing idea, I want to bring it to a new level or a new look. Seeing things again and again is one of the most frustrating things in fashion for me.
What is the most defining idea or look in this collection?
A beige draped shirt and a long black jersey dress with a snake print. To me, this best embodies the whole collection.
How does this collection compare to your past collections?
It is more wearable, more accessible. I tried to keep my own aesthetic as much as possible, without being sculptural and big. I also tried to find a way to work sustainably without upcycling, because it created too many production problems for me without a big space and without money. I still upcycle, but mostly for showpieces. Otherwise, I mostly concentrate on organic fabrics, recycled fibres and deadstock.
What word defines the future of fashion?
Beauty. High fashion was always about beauty, but beauty is not just visual; some things are beautiful in their meaning or how they are created.
Christoph Rumpf is part of SPHERE Paris Fashion Week® Showroom.
This interview was lightly edited for clarity.