I've jumped from dressing like a hyperactive anime character to some clean shaven sobriety just to take the time to appreciate a few things that never would have caught my eye six whole years ago. Oh, youth. Back when dinosaurs were roaming on this blog (quite literally in some cases when a dino-themed collection would pop up every now and again), I used to be so proud of myself for eschewing a sensible shirt in favour of a three-armed one. If it didn't have an unnecessary amount of padding/PVC/straps/pointy bits, I wasn't all that interested. I'll put it down to a combination of growing age and the effects of living with a man, who thrusts jackets and jumpers in my face going "Look at the stitching/yarn/detailing on this! This is properly sexy bit of a tailoring!!". Whatever it is, an independent label like the consistently stable and long-serving Stephan Schneider is finally popping up on the blog.
A search alas on Google doesn't yield too much information but this Antwerp-based, German-born designe graduated from the Royal Academy there in 1994 and has since been designing his own label, building a brand that has loyalty, longevity and doesn't need to kick up a noisy fuss whenever they show a new collection. Those in the know though can certainly wax lyrical. Check out this 193 page two-year old thread on all things Stephan Schneider on Style Forum. As some of ye olde Style Bubble readers will know, I was a big participant on The Fashion Spot forum and to this day, I find all the forum chatter a fairly useful way of gauging an array of opinions (if taken with a pinch of salt). That said, it is rather endearing to see people analysing the sizes of arm holes, the proportions of a coat and the quality of cable knits and above all, demonstrating a very involved and deeeeeep love for a brand like Schneider's, which doesn't exactly get a ton of international press.
"I sometimes compare a fashion house with a restaurant: There are no haute cuisine chains in the world as the chef has to cook in his own kitchen. To me fashion should be like this," was a pertinent comparison that Schneider made in this interview with Steve, a veritable Schneider fan thanks to the store Other (formerly known as bStore) being a loyal stockist in London. Interestingly I remember the other famous Antwerpian, Dries Van Noten making a similar comparison of a fashion designer being like a chef. The fact that both designers connect the act of designing and creating clothes with nourishment and good food is heart warmingly down to earth. And so it follows that the spring summer 2013 collection is full of lovely and vaguely familiar textures – moire, watercolour brushstrokes, faint checks, book binding marbles – they all look to be derived from the world of tasteful interiors. As per the Schneider remit, every piece looks to be useful, well-made, but fortunately not without a bit of design interest to pep things up. See! I too can join the Subtle Design Appreciation Society and say things like "Look at this perfectly-judged sleeve length on this shirt! Itsn't it marvellous?" Just as long as I can wear a spangly holographic skirt with it of course.