While many fashion designers have known for years that they wanted to work in the industry, Duc Siegenthaler took a less traditional route, studying hard sciences before transitioning into the world of fashion. Originally Swiss, the designer is based between Paris and Geneva, having studied Fashion Design at HEAD in Geneva and the Royal Academy of Art and Design in Copenhagen. For his graduate collection, titled Sorry About Saturday Night Mom, Duc lets go of his inhibitions and tries to express himself as freely as he can through his designs. To find out more of his graduate collection, check out our interview with him below!
How did you get into fashion?
I started my Major in Chemistry and Biology. As an optional course, I took Art, which at the beginning I really liked, however, I decided to go back to science and give it one more try. During that period, I was extremely bored, and fashion naturally steered itself back into my life.
Do you ever regret this decision?
As I have mentioned previously, I was never “into” fashion before, I started learning about it and noticed that is extremely conceptual. That is one of the reasons why I don’t look at myself as an artist, I see myself as a designer that thinks clearly. You can look at fashion from different perspectives. Of true importance is to find your own, unique perspective. Luckily, I did, and I never question my decisions.
Do you think that your “quantitative’’ background inspires/affects your designs?
Not directly but it impacts my way of working. For example, my decision-making process is way more mathematical, which most of the time is a gift, however, it has its own bad sides.
Could You tell me more about your first collection, ‘Sorry About Saturday Night Mom?' Why did you choose this particular title?
At the beginning, I started in a completely different direction. I cared way too much about the feedback and the way people are going to think about my work. Probably, I got it from my mom, she always cares about what people say and do. I got bad feedback at first, then I realized that I have to stay true to myself and tried to feel free. That is the story behind the title.
Where was the collection shot?
The shooting was in June on top of one mountain in Switzerland and the temperature was around 5 degrees. We had to go there by car and the roads were hard to drive along. However, we had an amazing time doing it so it was definitely worth it.
What’s one of your favourite pieces you’ve designed?
My favourite piece that I have ever created is definitely the “apron”. There is a lot of hard work inside of it. While I was creating it, I didn’t have a clue how it was going to look like. What makes it unique is that is not something usual like a jacket or a shirt, it’s really complex, totally opposite of “ready to wear’’ designs.
Do you plan on only designing only for men or women?
Most of the pieces that I create are unisex. I find inspiration in every gender and I believe that it’s going to stay that way. However, I’m leading a bit more to designing for men’s fashion.
If you could have any celebrity, dead or alive, wear your pieces, who would you want it to be?
If I could choose I would definitely choose Janelle Monáe. She is an African American singer who did a couple of records about the future. You have to listen to them in order to understand it fully, she makes you feel like you are watching a movie while listening.
What helps you find inspiration for your designs?
I have two ways of getting my inspiration. First one is from parties, I usually observe the way people are matching pieces together and that makes one part of my collection. The second part is nature, it intrigues me a lot and I like to use organic details to mix it all up.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Last year I was working for a Japanese dancer, Kaori Ito. During that time, she was working on her show so I created a couple of pieces for her. We worked together for a couple of months and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
Is there any designer you particularly look up to?
I do not look at myself as a fashion person, there is still a scientist in me that does not let me put an “artist’’ label on myself. I like classic designers, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Raf Simons. However, I do not dream to become like them one day. As You may notice, I prefer couture over ready-to-wear, and my perspective on fashion is unusual. Due to that it’s hard to look up to someone in particular.
You recently graduated, what are your plans for now? Will you start your own brand?
At the moment I’m working for one brand called “Faguo”, based in Paris. It Is a new experience for me because I can see the way “ready-to-wear” brands are working. The scientist in me wanted to perceive their method of producing and pricing. I’ve never studied it so it’s really interesting. When it comes to starting my own brand, the more and more I think about it and learn about it, I see it coming. However, I decided to take my time. Learn more about this industry, gain experience and when the time is right, I will do it.
What is the main difference between “ready-to-wear’’ and “couture” collections?
Limitation, definitely. In “ready-to-wear” you are limited by everything: customers, price, time etc. Couture is usually totally free. My main goal is to create something “hybrid” where I could implement both sides.