June | Designer Focus
Duran Lantink on heirloom pieces and creative upcycling
Plus, discover the buzzy designer's intricate design processEmma Sells
Duran Lantink was 15 when he started making clothes by cutting and splicing existing pieces together, taking apart a pile of old Diesel jeans that his stepfather was throwing out, combining them with a tablecloth of his grandmother’s and making them into skirts. Instantly hooked on the process, he’s been repurposing ever since, building his label by collaborating with luxury brands and stores who hand over their deadstock and archive clothes for him to whip up into capsule collections of incredible, meticulously composed hybrid pieces. And while upcycling may be a buzzy, of-the-moment approach, for Lantink it’s instinctive; the sustainability an added bonus rather than the main motivation – his creativity is simply sparked by the challenge of working with existing rather than raw materials.
Lantink was never sure that he wanted to create solo collections but, thanks to the slow-down of the past year, he and his assistant found themselves in his Amsterdam studio, surrounded by a wild assortment of spare sleeves and discarded off-cuts left over from all his previous projects, and the time to play around with fitting them together in unexpected combinations. Unveiled with a drone-filled show at the former palace of Holland’s royal family, the collection is filled with the most revealing clothes that he’s ever created, his riff on the idea that sex sells.
Every piece is a one-off and he wants to make sure you want to wear them forever; so, buy a slinky dress or puffa coat and if, in a year or two’s time it doesn’t feel quite right in your wardrobe, you can return it to the studio to be refreshed and repurposed into something new, eventually creating a whole family tree from the original. “The moment you buy a piece, we’re connected, and we’ll start building a relationship to make sure that it’s always relevant for you to wear,” he says. “It’s kind of a jewellery approach: you get an heirloom, you pass it on and melt it and turn it into something new – but you always keep it in the family.”