Code breaker

Designer Sebastiaan Pieter deciphers the hidden messages in his SS16 collection
By Alex James Taylor | Fashion | 26 July 2015
Photography Takanori Okuwaki

This season London-based Dutch designer Sebastiaan Pieter showed his SS16 collection at LC:M, this time under the NewGen banner.

For Pieter the finer details take centre stage, never more evident than with his latest collection. Informed by ‘secret cultural codes’, the designer drew upon veiled messages, inspired equally by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and contemporary tattoo and piercing culture.

These cultural codes hold a meaning that speak clearly to certain audience, yet are concealed to others, a theme mirrored in the collection. Take the masked branding, for example, or a wool skirt with a zip that resembles trousers before closer inspection.

We asked Pieter to decipher some of the subtle codes woven into his SS16 pieces and talk us through the collection’s intricate detailing.

Reverse stitch knit tattoos
“The tattoos reference people we found online who have referenced different cultures on their body but most likely don’t have any relation to these cultures. Rather they put something on their body that feels highly personal to them and I wanted to show how easy it is to replicate and remove this sense of ownership. One example is the Roman numerals, Justin Bieber has this on his chest and so let’s have that on our chest too… I’ve also added in tattoos I considered for myself, such as the Japanese sign Yama and the word Utopia plus the brand name.”
Embroidery Sleeves
“Again coming back to the idea of having tattoos I wanted to create a ‘sleeve’, or whole arm covered in tattoos, we did this in the reverse knit but also embroidered on top of a grey jersey as seen here. We worked with long stitches with the embroidery so that it would give a worn and weathered effect when wearing it, the embroidery was done in London.”
“This I wanted to resemble the piercings from the clothing but be a blown up version. It’s sterling silver made in London.”
 Split Shirt
“Another element that keeps returning to the collection is this sense of exposing the body in places we are not used to seeing it. The oversized shirt has a split in the back that drapes closed, but then when you move starts showing the lower back which can be such an erotic area of the body.”

“I wanted to link the idea of a logo with that of a tattoo; how you brand yourself by having a tattoo really.”

“Also everyone does a logo T-shirt and so I thought why not do that too… but cover it up so it’s not so in your face. I love the tension that the element of print and embroidery have together here. The t-shirts are a linen, silk and cotton mix from Japan.”
Zipper trouser
“Here I wanted to create a trouser that is smart yet athletic – a look which is very much at the core of PIETER. The trousers have a zip that goes up to the thighs and underneath it is an extra panel of fabric so that the trouser can flare out when unzipping. It can both look like a slim trousers or as flare and I like that double functionality. The trousers are a superfine woven wool from Italy.”
Piercing trouser and jacket
“Since piercing and tattooing often happen in the same place I liked pulling both into the collection, body adornment becomes adornment on clothing which is again worn on the body. All the piercings are hammered by hand into shape and attached by hand so it’s a super luxurious touch. The piercings are applied in places where you normally wouldn’t get one, but they also function as something to hold the garment together where it otherwise would fall apart.”

Read Next