Velvit Welcomes Martin Dhust
Self titled design label Martin Dhust, discusses his love affair with leather, his most resent black accessory collection, and discovering his unique voice as a designer.
Velvit sat down with Martin Dhust as he talks about falling in love with a 1930's singer walking foot machine, evolving his brand from commission work to personal capsules, and naming is most current collection, Rob a Bank.
Velvit: When was your first introductory to fashion?
Martin Dhust: I grew up hanging around my grandparents sewing factory. I learned to play with my medium long before I got interested in fashion. So … I guess I was introduced to fashion from the makers side … as a toddler.
V: If you hadn't become a designer, what would you be?
MD: I wanted to become an architect as a child. Now it would annoy me to not be able to test my design myself. I would probably be an industrial designer … working on furniture or adding fun design to objects. Maybe one day!
V: When did you learn your craft?
MD: I learned by playing around with fabric and working with the equipment pretty young. My grandparents taught me ‘’the craft’’. I then graduated from Marie-Victorin college (Montreal) in fashion design. I specialized in menswear tailoring at first. I guess at that moment, I was trying to learn the most difficult thing--- to be able to do whatever I pleased afterwards.
I’m self taught leather wise. I came across an old 1930’s singer walking foot machine. With it, I created a small leather accessories capsule. That’s when I fell in love with the medium. I always wanted to design objects at some point.
V: How did you discover your unique voice as a designer?
MD: … London. It was 2008 and everybody was losing their jobs in London. I ended taking a technical designer position for a Jeans Maker. It wasn’t a very stimulating position, but the city was. I was able to travel a lot and see the world. London is a very stimulating city. With hindsight, my time there helped me figure out who I was as a designer … helped me figure out how far i wanted to push it.
V: What can you tell us about your experience being featured on La Collection?
MD: They contacted me when I was in London. So I’m not sure It was worth coming back for … but overall a great experience. Even though I regretted going there at the first challenge. Those shows are horrible to capture the essence of the creators. Every piece need’s a process to mean something … and its impossible to get that process in the time they give you. Then again, I’m not sure they're aiming for the essence of things . Anyways … I got some visibility to start off and met some great people. It was an interesting experience and experiences push you further. I started the Atelier right after La Collection.
V: What were some of your first commissions like after the show?
MD: I got to do a wedding dress that made a great impact in the show so I did a few of those. It wasn’t a conventional dress … so those orders were pretty interesting to do. I Got to design uniforms for restaurants, costume for tv and ads, and private tailoring.
V: How was the transition evolving commissioned work by Atelier Martin Dhust into your own label and launching your first capsule?
MD: It was much easier and natural. I got to follow my own process at my own pace. Private orders are fun, but in reality you act as a proxy designer for you client. And sometimes, it means working real hard on pieces you don’t believe in. As I was running the first capsule in the background of the tailoring, creating my line was the fun part of the day. I don’t pay much attention to trends and I don’t show my work before I’m done when I put a collection together. … so its always a gamble when I launch a capsule. So far … people a super receptive. The first clothing capsule sold out pretty quickly. The leathers are going well too. I was able to hire people to help me out … expect another capsule soon!
V: Can you talk about your process for your most recent leather accessory collection "Rob a Bank"?
MD: I’m always looking to do something different. I need to keep learning new stuff to keep me going. That’s how my leather work started. Leather have a totally different dynamic and technique in the making. I had to do a lot of research at first to be able to do what I wanted to … but the conception is just as mathematic as tailoring. A collection always starts from the materials. I go around looking for what’s available and when I find something inspiring … it tells me what to do. I don’t believe in sketches much. I’d rather do lots of sample and edit myself afterwards. The process of making it often brings me on paths that I wouldn’t have gone otherwise.
The ‘’ Rob A Bank’’ name came from a good friend. I was showing the first sample of the Duffel Bag and the first thing that came out was that I would be the perfect bag to rob a bank with. You know, like in the movies … they always have those big black square bags to pile the cash in.
V: Who is a significant artistic influence of yours?
MD: I guess that the ideas of minimalism and functionality of mies van des rohe and Le Corbusier inspired me the most. It gave me the baseline that if something has no real purpose/functionality in your design it have no real need to be there.
Right now, Im obsessed by the latest work of George Papadimas. He presents minimalist steel sculptures bending shapes and lines. Awesome stuff.
V: What is your relationship with the color black?
MD: Black is everything and nothing at the same time. It’s the most versatile and complex color. Black lets you focus on shapes and lines instead of the medium used. Black is all I need.
Black is the new Black.
For more on Martin Dhust, please visit his artist's page and shop our COVET curated collection.