Jan-Jan Van Essche, Collection Preview

January 11, 2014

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Jan-Jan Van Essche is a menswear designer from Antwerp, Belgium. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2003, winning several grand prizes including the esteemed Dries Van Noten award. In June 2010 , he launched his first collection, ‘Yukkuri’, Japanese for ‘taking it easy’. A concept capturing the philosophy behind his approach to create contemporary fashion. Since then he has successfully produced two annual collections, ‘Satta Amassagana’ (2011) and ‘In Awe’ (2012). Unlike most designers, designs and produces one full collection per year. Alternating with his annual wardrobes, Jan-Jan Van Essche presents his ‘Projects’, which are autonomous concepts claiming their own identity alongside his annual wardrobes, emphasizing the philosophy of his personal view point on menswear. He proposes the wearer annual wardrobes to be worn throughout the year by layering up and down, adapting oneself to the seasons as they pass by. Secondly, it is out of a feeling of Van Essche’s admiration elicited by the study, handwork and devotion which goes into the garment to make it a ‘temporary’ item which would be put aside after three to six months – It doesn’t fit with his philosophy. The Jan-Jan Van Essche collections seem to form an unbroken whole, each of the collections should fit together, so the wearer can combine pieces from three years ago with new pieces. Though Jan-Jan Van Essche is presented as menswear, most of it is designed to be suitable for both sexes. A greater part of the fit and proportions are loose and ample, each of the pieces being one size, exclusive and limited, separately numbered. Jan-Jan Van Essche travelled for some time in Africa before he started his own label. His travels have had a strong influence and inspiration throughout his work, which displays a quiet state of physical ease and a certain quality of simplicity and style, but in a natural way, “I’m constantly searching for new forms, shapes and items but without being too radical. I think the men who wear my clothing like calming, soothing and practical clothes; most men don’t like to make big statements.” The Jan-Jan van Essche aesthetic could be perceived as one influenced by all of the world’s regions, blending together in an unattached mutual interaction of western and ethnic traditions in fashion. The synthesis of his precise and natural loose forms, refined patterns and usage of natural colors are important keys in the Jan-Jan Van Essche story. A story encouraging ubiquitous freedom to the wearer of his garments.

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