Timour Desdemoustier: the time to take time

Timour Desdemoustier: the time to take time

Category: Interviews
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Timour Desdemoustier
©Timour Desdemoustier

He is the one of two Belgians amongst the 10 finalists at the prestigious Hyères Festival. Before presenting his men’s collection to the jury – chaired this year by English fashion designer Jonathan Anderson – this young talent with a hybrid education, shared with us his vision of the profession  and of an industry searching for identity.

©Timour Desdemoustier
You began your studies at La Cambre Mode(s). After some time at HELMo Mode in Liège, you opted for a Master’s degree at KASK & Conservatorium in Ghent. Tell us a bit about your journey.

I originally wanted to study political science, which strongly interests me, but after my acceptance to La Cambre Mode(s), I decided to take up the challenge. Looking back, I realise that I was probably not mature enough. I was oblivious to the difficulties. Or maybe too conscious of them. I never truly felt I had a place in this field. After two failed years, I signed up at HELMo Mode in Liège. This three-year, technically oriented baccalaureate gave me back my self-confidence. The less individualistic atmosphere reassured me. And the technical approach allowed me to develop a rigour that still serves me today.

What were your reasons for taking on a Master’s degree at KASK & Conservatorium?

I did an internship with Marina Yee, one of the Antwerp Six (probably the least publicised), who was also a professor at KASK. She convinced me to continue my education there. I had just completed a 5-month internship at Ximon Lee (a designer who graduated from Central Saint Martins in London, and winner of the H&M Design Award). This very enriching experience allowed me to touch on many facets of the profession: from technical sketches to contacts with production workshops, including research for inspiration. At the end of this internship, I was ready to embark on a new cycle of classes.

All these schools have helped forge your identity. How would you define yourself today?

This concept of identity scares me a bit. In Ghent, I managed to break free from the desire to ‘do too well’ – a result of the very technical approach of my baccalaureate. While I think I have taken the best from each school, I still have a lot of work to do to understand who I am. Like other designers of my generation, I question the relevance of creating new clothes and, by extension, of developing an eponymous brand.

Where did the desire to design under the alias 2.59 _tld, rather under your own name, come from?

2.59 _tld, this is the number of the room at SMAK where I developed my collection. The first and third letters are my initials. The other is for my mother’s last name: Laaouej. ‘I saw my mum watching the news’, the collection that led to my selection for the Hyères festival, tells her story as a Moroccan immigrant who arrived in Belgium at the age of 18. I remember seeing her reacting in visceral way to a TV report on the migrant crisis. I had never realised how much her immigrant status had affected her.

How have you translated this reflection stylistically?

I imagined a collection made up of oversized pieces that, despite their apparent heaviness, evoke the idea of travel. There are codes that I associate with migration: accumulation, as well as the things that we gain or lose, but which make us grow. These silhouettes reflect a certain form of vulnerability, but my purpose is neither bleak nor gloomy. The black coat is illuminated with white stitching, and the sloping shoulders suggest a new silhouette. It’s a collection in movement.

The Hyères festival is a springboard. What do you think of the career of Marine Serre, winner of the LVMH Prize for Young Designers in 2017 and finalist the same year at Hyères?

Just as I feel very close to Marina Yee, my mentor, a designer who creates collections based on upcycling and who, while remaining very discreet, is sold as far away as Japan, I find the work of Marine Serre – who I know from La Cambre – intriguing. Her ability to establish herself in the fashion industry while challenging it and freeing herself from its dictates is inspiring. I myself am totally opposed to the idea of frenetic production. If, one day, I had to create a project, I would like to do it at my own pace and avoiding at all costs gratuitous production. At this point, I keep asking myself: will fashion give me time to take the time?

Interview by

Marie Honnay

In collaboration with

Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode is closely collaborating with TLmag for interviewing a selection of Belgian talents in fashion and design from Wallonia and Brussels, in order to promote them on the international scene. Read more articles on TL Magazine.

Promoting Creative Minds

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