Inspired by David Lynch, Ariel the little mermaid or Wolfgang Tillmans, the Gamut team is exploring the world through a kaleidoscopic eye where all artistic fields and inspirations are part of the equation. Since they showed their first collection between the underground walls of Station Gare des Mines, the collective has made its way within the Parisian fashion landscape. We’ve anonymously met in their headquarters to dig a bit more into the Gamut enigma. This is what we’ve found.
Hello Gamut. You are just one year old. Can you tell me about the genesis of the project?
Gamut is a group of friends. We met in La Cambre, in Belgium, where we were studying fashion design. We were then joined by a photographer and artistic director, and by a stylist; we remain surrounded by a network of creative people as well as ‘guardian angels’ for strategy, press relations, administration, etc. After our studies, we all joined major fashion houses in Paris for a few years. Gamut was created in response to our frustration in these work environments: we wanted to build a freer space where we could fully express ourselves as designers of garments and images while exploring other artistic fields.
Behind Gamut, eight creative people. You work hard to keep your anonymity and never reveal your faces. Why this choice? What are the biggest challenges to work with so many creative minds?
Just as it is important for us to indicate precisely the credits of all our external contributors, to thank all those who are involved in the project, we wish to remain anonymous to stand behind the collective, which is a kind of additional individual with several heads: Gamut exists independently. As in a (chosen) family, we all have different conceptions of fashion, elegance, and beauty in general, but this friendly confrontation also allows us to achieve a form of aesthetic renewal.
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Who are your fashion icons?
Each one has its own icons. Some of them include Dalida, Debbie Harry, Schlampa Kir, Ariel the little mermaid, David Lynch, Genesis P-Orridge, Richard Hell, Marlene Dietrich, Nina Hagen, Adèle Haenel, Leigh Bowery, Erwin Wurm, Kenneth Anger, Wolfgang Tillmans, Catherine Deneuve, Patti Smith, Diane Keaton, etc.
Between discrepancy and realism, Gamut’s silhouettes juxtapose elements of great sobriety, great rigour, with glitter gloves or caps with ultra-wide visors. You seek to slide the codes of traditional clothing, from the waistcoat to the evening dress, to the tailor's coat and the white shirt, as well as the technical parka and the sweater rustic wool. Can you talk about your creative process?
We work in a very spontaneous way. Each member brings his or her own ideas and obsessions. Each proposal is discussed with benevolence – of course, the creation is shared between poles of expertise (menswear, womenswear, knitwear, etc.), but each piece passes through the eyes of the other members of Gamut. The proposal of one member can be taken up and reinterpreted by another member, and the result seems more fruitful to us.
Who is the Gamut girl/boy?
We do not dress a Gamut woman or man. We are inspired by our friends, our entourage, our generation in the broadest sense. Our team of models during the show of our first collection is quite representative in its inclusiveness.
“Our generation likes to celebrate in open, inclusive places, where the main objective is not to make money but to offer a diversified and sharp cultural proposal.”
You presented your first collection at La Station - Gare des Mines in Porte d’Aubervilliers, far away from the other catwalks of fashion week. What does it mean to be alternative for you?
The Station is a place that resembles us. We regularly go there, we are close to the MU collective, which runs this place a little away from Paris, behind the ring road, a stone's throw from our studio in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. We chose some of our models directly from the audience of this place, which hosts concerts, parties, and cultural events of all kinds. Our generation likes to celebrate in open, inclusive places, where the main objective is not to make money but to offer a diversified and sharp cultural proposal, and to revitalise a neighbourhood that has been somewhat neglected.
Being alternative is not our goal. We want to do things our way, without following the usual rules of the system – we didn't wake up one day and said we were going to make a revolution and destroy everything around us; it's about creating a space where we are free to experiment.
What do you think is problematic in the fashion industry today?
There are many problems. Fashion is the second most polluting industry after fossil fuels – it's chilling. On our relatively small scale, which is a form of privilege, we can operate in short cycles by collaborating with local actors: manufacturers, suppliers, etc. At the moment, our production constraints are still quite flexible and we want to continue in this direction as our business grows. Upcycling is a process that inspires us a lot from a creative point of view. The use of second-hand garments is at the heart of our creative approach, and we even have a line entirely made up of reused articles transformed into Gamut products.
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Gamut is not just a fashion label. Chosen Family is the other face of the collective, which drops parties, underground techno and gabber sounds. The last artists invited were Jardin, Rebeka Warrior, La Chatte, Summer Satana, or Dear Abra. Do you think it is necessary to be multidisciplinary in 2019?
The members of Gamut have various profiles, and we all have an additional occupation: one is a tattoo artist, the other writes in specialized press, another is an event organizer, etc. We all find ourselves in a common love of celebration, night, music – it seemed natural to us to build an event section within Gamut to invite artists we love, to create parties, to reach an audience different than the small world of fashion.
The multidisciplinary aspect of our project was born naturally because we can’t limit ourselves to the design of clothing – this form of expression is nourished by diverse and sometimes very distant influences. We called this segment of our collective Chosen Family because that’s what it’s all about: expanding our reach, choosing another way of doing things.
What would be the inspiration of your next collection?
We do not work around a predefined theme or story: the influences of each other gradually arrive to achieve a coherent and definitive result the day of the show. Without revealing too much, we can say that the next collection will be based on a character with whom we are currently collaborating, and each member will define his/her own vision. If our first collection was focused on determining a common vocabulary among us, the second would probably be very different… or not. Stay tuned!
How do you see yourself in ten years?
Today, Gamut works very well on its own scale. To develop is to face new problems, to compromise on our horizontal functioning, to enlarge our team. For the time being, the main objective is to create a structure that will allow us to live off it and perpetuate our freedom. In ten years? Let's wait and see…
Meet you for the next Gamut party right after the launching of the SS20 collection on the 22nd of June with live music from Pascale Project and Willis Anne!
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