Graduate of renowned fashion institution Central Saint Martins, German born Gerrit Jacob, is forging ahead as an uncompromising designer, letting his freak flag fly with latest collection SCUM. Working to combine the high fashion education of his formative years (after CSM he went to work for Gucci pre pandemic), with his obsession for all things kitsch, Jacob has caught the eye of essential well dressed celebs such as Dua Lipa and Rosalía. With a write up in Vogue, alongside articles in Dazed and Highsnobiety, Jacob is coming into his own, and being recognised for his unique take on high fashion.
SCUM blends the kitsch and the chic, with modern silhouettes and stylings alongside digital printing and airbrushing à la German funfair, it’s an unconventional love letter to the sentiments and frustrations of the 21st century, ugly, irreverent, and compelling. Striving ahead without major support or funding, the accolades Jacob has drawn are wholly deserved. An independent and outspoken figure regarding issues of class within fashion, there's clearly room to roam for Jacob, both creatively and politically, within the world of style.  
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Hi there Gerrit, thanks so much for taking the time to talk. Congrats on your recent Fashion week collection, SCUM, can you talk about the inspiration behind the collection?  
The collection is centered around diverging combinations of youthful optimism and mature degeneracy and elaborates on the visual, material and conceptual codes presented in my previous collections. Brightly-coloured, bubblegum palettes applied to diverse fabrics and distinct silhouettes, become signifiers of the persistent duality I like to explore.
The title SCUM, is personified in a youth-centric mantra that oscillates between naive exploration and jaded perception. This jaded naïveté presents itself in contrasts between loud glaring imagery and traditional luxury craft. Within these double-edged sensibilities, navigation of identity, queer aggression, and insistent idiosyncrasy, appear as core themes throughout the collection – channeling frustrations of 21st century existence. 
A fair few of your pieces are done with airbrushing, what's the process behind the more CGI animated sets?  
There are 3 techniques I use within the collections, airbrushing, digital print and screen print. I usually start by doing lots of initial sketches and drawings and collage them together, change colours etc and just see where it takes me. From that I go on to do the digital drawings because the prints have to be sent to the suppliers well ahead of time. There is a certain smoothness that airbrushing doesn’t allow for so I try to explore that path.  
SCUM as a collection walks a tightrope between high fashion, with the silhouettes and materials and a rough and tumble vibe, with the colours and prints. It's an embrace of gamer-esque tackiness, what elements of your identity do you see in these clothes?  
My background is from working in high-fashion brands so that is the process and level of manufacturing that I have just come accustomed to. I’m quite a messy person so my clothes are always stained so I was always walking around these corporate luxury offices in stained and ripped clothes so I guess that contrast has just been inherent in my life and career. 
You have enjoyed a stamp of approval from key celebrities such as Dua Lipa and Rosalía. What has it been like seeing your pieces reach so many people through these artists? Is there anyone else you’d especially like to see wearing your designs?  
Of course it’s great, I love seeing people, anyone to be honest, wearing the clothes. I am not part of any major fashion week or incubator so having high-profile people wear the garments is an important part of getting the vision out there really.  
Post graduation from CSM you spent some time working at Gucci, which you described as a “great education.” What inspired your switch to running your own brand, and how are you hoping to grow your collections and style in the new year?  
What inspired me to switch was having been able to save up enough money to finally do it. Also I felt like with the kind of work that I do I didn’t really want to be too old because the coming-of-age aspect of it is so integral to the entire body of work and preserving a sense of authenticity around that is very important. 
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Growing up in working class Germany you have highlighted the need to discuss and dissect class and kitsch within fashion. In what ways can fashion discourse become more encompassing and intelligent in regards to class?  
Fashion is inherently based around exclusion and exclusivity. Classism, and racism, is built into its foundations so therefore it is up to anyone with even just a little bit of power to ensure that whatever images they are creating or roles they are hiring for are done with equality in mind as much as possible. 
Your airbrush designs are really unique, silly and vaguely spooky. You learned to do the artwork yourself, after previously having hired someone to do the painting. What was this process like, and what do you see to be the value in being able to accomplish all elements of your vision yourself?  
I am not going to lie when I am not someone who loves to work all by themselves, I prefer the process of collaboration. When looking for collaborators it’s always about making people feel something and what the best way to execute a particular idea in terms of storytelling and emotions is. And with the airbrush that person just happens to be myself.  
What were some early fashion design inspirations for you, and what sort of fashion touchstones do you return to for inspiration and guidance?   
I always, always go back to the funfair and am constantly going to funfairs photographing the stalls. They are not very well documented in books or online so it’s important to really get out there and seek them out yourself. I also really love documentary photography, Rineke Dijkstra, Jim Goldberg, Hans Eijkelboom.  
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What's the best tip, fashion based or otherwise, that someone taught you?  
One teacher at uni, Esme Young, once said to me in 2nd year “Whatever you do just make it look intentional” 
What cultural moments, references, or icons do you bear in mind when creating?  
Mickey Rourke, Michael Pitt for guys and Christiane F. and Cicciolina for girls. 
Who are some contemporary designers that you have been enjoying of late? And looking ahead, what sort of collaborations with artists or designers might you be interested in?  
The 2 things that are high on my list at the moment are working with a musician on something more expansive than just an outfit, could go from art direction to music videos to album art.
And then I would love to do a project with a museum or gallery that puts the work in more of a fine art context but is more than just hanging the clothes onto a wall. Let’s see what 2023 brings.
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