His work is a pleasure for the senses. I wouldn’t say there’s anything that should make us feel guilty about admiring and praising the trajectory of a designer who has gifted the industry and the people that love and care for it –some of the most memorable and iconic moments of the last decade. I threw the word iconic in here with full intention, not submitting it to the slang-ish yas-queen-slay definition our generation has given to it (although it can easily be applied in that sense as well), but referring more to the orthodox use of the word, utilised for something that becomes a representative symbol of a larger idea; a concept or an entity that is worthy of respect, recognition, and exaltation. Robert Wun’s creations transcend the qualifying adjectives that are constantly applied to every fashion manifestation that sees the light of day. They have become a symbol of what a creator who feels free, at peace with himself, and confident in his beliefs is capable of. They are the evidence that in the midst of a never-ending storm of information, names, faces, and numbers, there is still a place for those who decide to work at their own pace. Someone preserving the passion that once made them dive head first into this world and constructing a narrative that lands in the universally accepted and applauded way, as only the genuine and honest creations of an equally genuine and honest creator do.
Interview tak­en from METAL Magazine issue 49. Adapted for the online version. Order your copy here.
Fashion, as with everything in life, is a matter of personal taste. You can adore what the person next to you loathes. At risk of sounding ancient, in this day and age, the line between what we like and dislike seems to be blurred by what is socially accepted as the new standards that validate what we should enjoy in public and in private. Some pieces are calling for an open debate regarding the status they should have in our closets and whether they should be considered a disgrace or an avant-garde piece in the universal fashion measurement system. Whilst others tend to go under the radar, maybe for the lack of substance or maybe because they don't need the attention to make their point straight. 
The discussion about personal taste doesn't happen solely on the Internet, social platforms, or in public opinion. In private, there's a constant battle in the human mind where we seem to have two sides, one that likes and finds pleasure in a particular object, concept, activity, or even feeling, while the other questions oneself about whether it is right to feel that way towards them or not. Subjective and open to all sorts of creative expression, fashion is a constant factory of guilty pleasures. Not only for the consumer, who might find it hard to understand why there is a subconscious force that has them considering paying three times their salary for some big chunky animated goofy red boots, but also for the designers, who use their collections as canvases of self-expression for all sorts of emotions, even pain, horror, chaos, and mess. Robert Wun’s work resides in a category that he built himself, one that allows him to explore all the sides of his mind, the light and the shadows. A category custom-made to fit his needs, never narrowing his creative freedom.
When the work of a designer is as acclaimed as Wun’s, no matter the collection, no matter the concepts, and no matter the way said work is portrayed, whether it's a photoshoot that reaches us via Instagram or the closing show of the haute couture week in Paris, it means that an underlying thread that unifies all the projects together is present. One that finds its starting point in the person whose soul is poured into all of them. When someone creates with such an emotional understanding of themselves and their craft, the transfer of this level of depth and care to the actual pieces is inevitable. If we take into consideration the reactions Wun’s work causes (I dare you to find a single negative comment about his pieces. Spoiler: You won’t) It is made evident how he found the key to contradicting my first statement. His creations managed to go beyond the personal taste categorization; they have become one of the few points on which the fashion community gladly and wholeheartedly agrees.
It’s a pleasure talking to you, Robert. Let me ask you: Where have you been? Ever since your stunning haute couture collection, you’ve been MIA. I mean, everyone has been wearing your pieces lately, but I'm honestly craving more new Robert Wun magic!
We’ve been doing absolutely everything but resting, we've just been non-stop working. We have been doing so many incredible projects, like what you have seen online. To be able to accomplish and create for so many people is quite significant. A lot of them I have looked up to since I was a student, hoping that one day I would be able to do something for them or work with them, and now it feels like in such a short amount of time, all of these things have been accomplished. So yeah, lately I’ve just been, you know, working, working, and working.
So you’re focusing more on special pieces than actual collections, as far as I can tell, right?
I mean, we are doing it. We’re working on a new collection at the same time. Obviously, with the team still not being big enough yet, we need to do our projects, our orders, and our collaborations at the same time as our new collection.
By the way, congratulations on your 2023 Fashion Awards nomination! Would you say this has been your best year to date?
I mean, I would say it was definitely the most crazy year for me. I think the reason is that for someone who has been doing their brand for almost ten years now, you kind of dreamed of things happening this way, but then it took me such a long time to reach this point. So, I feel like this year just gives me a perspective on how things don’t come easy. And when it comes, you just have to be grateful and also be ready for the long run, because I do feel everything goes like a roller coaster. You’ve got some good days, and you’ve got some bad days. So that means that you've got some good years and some bad years. What I've just reminded myself is that I need to be how I was in the past ten years. Just keep on doing what you're doing because you like what you're doing. You keep that passion alive. Don't let anything distract you. And I think that's the biggest learning curve for me this year.
I know that you prioritise the customer over the runways, but after having your first taste of what it feels like to see your creations on the stage, do you feel any differently about the runways than you did before? Is there some sort of rush you want to experience again?
For me, that runway experience was hectic. I learned a lot through that experience, for sure. I realised how things are done and what it even means to do a runway show. And then, obviously for us, our work line was quite hectic. Because normally, for other brands, the regular is that they might do a presentation first, perhaps in London, New York, or even Paris, do ready-to-wear, and then they will do a show, and then they will slowly do the show better. For us, we have just never done a show before. And suddenly, we need to do a show. And a couture show during couture fashion week. And then we’re also closing couture. And then, at that point, somehow we got so much attention at the same time. It just felt like shifting from step one to step one hundred all of a sudden. Me and my team, we’ve never done a show before, so we need to rely on a lot of people advising us and helping us, from the PR Lucien Pages to Katie Grant introducing us to casting with Anita Bitton, because we're completely clueless. There are so many incredible people who gave us advice to help us put this together.
For me now, the show is just a very beautiful moment; it ’s almost like you’re working towards that moment, and then through those few months, you're envisioning how that would be. And that kind of gives you a different sort of adrenaline to keep you focused and to keep you working towards it. I do enjoy doing runway shows. But I just don't want to blindly follow an endless schedule, if that makes sense. Since I have been a designer who is not known for doing shows or being on schedule, I’d rather do a show whenever I feel like it’s ready and whenever I feel like I have something to say, or if the collection is actually good enough to do a show, because it just makes more sense to me. It’s a very unforgiving industry, and I feel that people always feel that once you’ve done a show, you need to keep on doing it. Even though you’re tired, you’re not financially ready, or your collection is not even good enough yet, you just have to follow that schedule, or else people are going to think you’re not doing well. So there’s a lot of this kind of external pressure that we’re so used to now. I just feel people need to, like myself, really find their own rhythm because I feel endlessly chasing the schedule and doing shows is not healthy for anyone.
That’s exactly why I wanted to ask you this, because runway shows are something very intriguing to me; it’s incredible how in fifteen minutes you can pack months and months of work and effort. For the viewer, it is part of a schedule, but for the creator, it is part of themselves. What is your relationship with them? As a designer whos been in the industry for almost a decade without presenting in one, I'm sure you have opinions about them.
It’s just really scary. For example, just now, during Paris Fashion Week, in Ready to Wear season, there is so much going on, and in the time that we’re living in right now, which is the social media era, we constantly get fed with information. “Oh, look at who is on the front row. Oh, look at who is coming to see this show. Look at who is performing at this show. Look at what they did at this show with the set. Wow, look at this amazing building. Or this amazing architect that they put in the show.” Now it’s less about the designer or what they have designed. It’s more about everything else. So that means something for brands that have that marketing budget, basically big houses, brands that belong to a group. They can play this game because they have the resources to get attention. They can pay for these big celebrities to be put in a Ritz hotel; they can pay for the photographer to be picked up; they can have an unlimited amount of samples to dress them for the show; and then people will be filming them. Then what does it mean for independent brands? Or what does it mean for smaller brands to show up? That means that you’re going to be completely overwhelmed by this social media storm during fashion week. During fashion week, nobody even talks about designs any more. And for an independent brand, you can’t pull a Kylie Jenner, a Kim Kardashian, or a Rosalía; imagine all that. You still have to spend so much money, and then you still work so hard to try to get people to see your work, but it seems like it all doesn’t fucking matter in the end. So that really gives me the perspective of: what does it mean to do a show during the schedule? It’s just now becoming a marketing competition instead of people actually coming to see the designers and their clothes. For me, as someone who is just designing, it raises the very big question of whether we need to spend so much money and work so hard to join a system of scheduling shows that doesn’t even focus on what we do.
You mentioned the word rhythm before, have you found your rhythm now that you've been doing this for so many years. Do you feel constantly on a rollercoaster of emotions, or have you learned to keep the balance?
I think I'm better at it. In terms of understanding or knowing where I want to go, like I said, I’m grateful. I think that’s the biggest thing of this year for me; I’m just very grateful. I don’t really focus on the ambition or the pride side of things. I just feel that we've managed to achieve so much. What’s next? What do we need to do next? How do we do better? How do I do better as a designer as well? I feel very lucky that I'm one of those who are able to be recognised for their work. To be able to call myself a designer, which is something that I’m passionate about. To be a professional based on your passion is a very, very lucky thing in the world.
Talking about rhythm, what has been the soundtrack of your life lately?
Lately, I’ve been listening to Yseult a lot. The French artist, the musician – I just made a custom for her. Before that, I had been a fan of her for a very long time, and I’d always listened to her music. She had a new single coming out, and that’s the song I’ve been listening to lately. And it just felt like it made sense with what my new collection was about to be as well. So I’ve been listening to her new single and, at the same time, imagining my work. That’s the vibe. It’s something very, I would say, classic, old-school, you know, a bit sad, but beautiful.
Okay, interesting. I’m getting hints now of what to expect. As you may know, this edition of METAL Magazine gravitates around guilty pleasures. What’s a guilty-pleasure song or artist that you just can’t live without?
Oh, my guilty pleasure song, that is a very good question! Let me actually look it up. You know, there will always be that one song that I play way too much, but I don’t want people to know that I play too much. You know what? I think I actually have it now. I do believe it’s Looking Ass by Nicki Minaj and Young Money.
That’s unexpected, I must say (laughs).
I have played it, I’m checking the numbers right now. I have played it for over 2,621 times (laughs).
Oh my god, wow, really? Is there a particular reason that makes you like it that much?
Like, this song is hella bad. I love it. I believe this song came out quite a few years ago. And I felt like that song was a symbol that Nicki Minaj is ready to be the Nicki Minaj we know of now. So, in my understanding, it’s just my point of view, but I felt like back in the old days, there were a lot of artists who felt like they needed to dress or perform a certain way in order to get attention. So, it’s becoming the norm to be able to stand out from the crowd, so either people hate you or they love you; it doesn’t matter as long as they talk about you. So I feel like a lot of people, no matter if they’re talented or not, have started doing that, and they’ve managed to secure a place where people will talk about them. And once they have achieved a level of success, they all come out of their shell and start to be able to do what they want to do. And I felt like this song that I’ve been listening to from Nicki Minaj, Looking Ass, is actually one of the first ones where she just stripped down, has a beautiful black and white music video, and is actually very good rap. Nothing clownish, nothing about being catchy, trying to be funny, or having that sense of humour – it's just very good rap. And I feel like you can translate that to a lot of people in fashion as well. I suppose sometimes we want to do the loudest things, but then they lack substance. But do we lack the substance, or are we just waiting for the substance to have the right opportunity to be showcased? I think particularly for music, and even particularly for, you know, Miss Minaj, I feel she definitely is one of the best female rappers of all time, and that song, not only is it a good song, but it also reminds me of how sometimes you need to be in a system in order to break the system. You need to play the game in order to start your own game. You need to be inside, and then you can start your own lane. So, I felt like that’s one of the reasons that song resonates with me so much.
Well, that’s a very well-argued reason for a guilty pleasure song. I didn’t expect all that, but it’s amazing. And it makes so much sense.
You know what I mean? It’s a very swear-word-heavy song. You can’t sing that out loud, but it’s a great song.
I noticed people have perfectly curated Spotify playlists, as if they were ready to be exhibited and qualified, but there’s always a playlist of silly songs that is probably private and meant for either the shower or lonely karaoke nights. Are you one of these people? Is there a public Robert and a private one?
I mean, obviously, you listen to different songs depending on the mood, but I don’t think my version will be any different. I don’t think there’s an outside and an inside version of me, especially in the past two or three years. I stopped really going out that much anymore; I quite enjoy being at home or just having dinner with some friends, and I stopped drinking for a very long time. I think it’s been almost two or three years now; I don’t even drink alcohol now. So, for me, the party kind of music scene or the clubbing scenes slowly started to fade away from my life. And it’s not that I don’t do it, but then I don’t crave it anymore, and I don’t feel like I necessarily would enjoy it. So for me, the music or the way that I listen to music or what I’m into listening to is just something a little bit more like what I told you, like a certain song that puts you in a headspace to think, and it’s not too invasive, just very peaceful music that everyone will understand, but still brings in emotion. So, yeah, a little bit more me now, no matter if I’m outside or inside.
This topic of guilty pleasures led me to think that there’s always a side of us we like to keep to ourselves or to hide, even when it makes us happy. Do you agree with this? Do you think you have reached the point where you are completely yourself?
Yeah, I think I really sometimes think about that question too, even when I was in Paris during Fashion Week. I’ve been very myself lately. I feel that it's such a good place to be. I don’t feel the need to be entertaining; I don’t have the desire to be entertaining or attractive to anyone; I’m just there to see my friends, talk to people I need to talk to, and fuck off, you know? I feel like it’s a very great place to be, to be very peaceful, to always be respectful, and to treat people the way you want to be treated. So, I don’t have this double-sided character in me personally.
You talked earlier about being the loudest in the room; you are literally just mentioning everything I have prepared for this interview. This is insane; it’s perfect.
I had a question about that. Some may think that to gain attention and recognition, especially in such a competitive industry, you have to be as loud as you can. In your case, it feels like your work has spoken for you in a very delicate and organic way. Were you always confident about your words being heard amongst all the noise?
I think one of the big factors is that it’s impossible to always feel confident about your work. I don't think that’s healthy either. I think some level of self-doubt and some level of self-criticism are very healthy for anyone who is being creative out there. Because you need to look at it in a sense that allows you to understand, like, are you doing better? Are you just dwelling on something that you're comfortable with? Are you challenging yourself enough, or are you just still in your safety? So I feel like these questions are very important. So I won’t say that I’m always confident, but I’m always very, I would choose the word, I’m always very loyal and stubborn to what makes sense to me. Stubbornness is something that I always use to describe myself, because there are some values that I really think are important to me, no matter morally or as a designer. I always want the work to speak for itself. I want the design to be the thing that needs to be known. I want something that is not known for using the most incredible technique or the most incredible materials, the most expensive models, and the most expensive sets. If all of these things can be achieved with money, then everyone can do them. I always believe that if you are known for a design, that means that you have an inspiration that is unique to you, and at the same time, it’s so human that everyone will understand it. And I felt that there is always something that I believe to be the highest form of design, that the highest form of a good design is something that is not fancy expensive but simply something that is incredibly inspired, and this is something that I always stick with. I feel like I held on to that throughout all my career up until this point and probably will stay like this forever. It’s very simple.
Where does this way of thinking come from?
I think the logic just comes from me growing up looking at designers that I really admire, even Lee McQueen himself. The way he did his shows, the way that he designed and told his story. He is loud, and his shows are very cinematic, but then you can see that the work in the clothing design, the theatrics, the makeup, the lighting – it all makes sense. It’s like a film. That means that he’s someone who actually has something to say. They’re not trying to be lazy in any aspect and rely on the gimmick, and I felt like this is something that’s honest. This is something that is him, and it still showcases craft, skills, vision, and incredible inspiration as well. So, I always look up to designers like him and many others who invite you to be who you are. Even for me, Raf Simons is a fantastic designer. And they're so different – him and Lee Alexander McQueen. But when a designer knows who they are and what they want, it shows in their design, no matter the format or the way they design. So I feel the best thing to do is not really have a sense of, oh, I prefer this kind of aesthetic, or I prefer this kind of style; it’s to look at designers as who they are. Are they doing a good job of showcasing who they are? And it’s the design that materialises who they are. I feel these are the criteria that I always put on myself when I'm designing. Am I doing a good job? Am I executing it well? Am I translating the story? And am I doing something that is meant to please people or call people’s attention? Or is it coming from my soul and from my heart, showing that I have something to say? That’s how I roll, and it makes your work recognisable in the long run, no matter what you do, style, or anything. People know what’s behind it.
I think it has worked for you very well. It may be something obvious, but honestly, it’s not common in this era. Going back to the guilty pleasures topic, when looking up about them, it seems that a big part of this concept is associated with TV shows or films. What’s a film or show that you are aware is bad, but that either way you eat up every time?
It’s not bad at all, but the latest TV show that I really enjoyed and felt very inspired by is The Bear. Which is about a chef in Chicago.
Yeah, I saw it! Oh my God, I love it! It’s so good.
I fucking love it. Even what I just told you about, that sometimes the best things are not the best just because they have the best ingredients or they're done in the best way, is simply that the chef is incredibly inspired; that’s from The Bear. Those scenes when they were doing the pastries together in Denmark – that’s what the conversation was about. And I just felt like, wow, that was amazing. And also, at the same time, I felt The Bear just made sense to me because it’s very realistic; it just shows people that there’s no glamour, there’s no fantasy of being successful. It’s actually very cut-throat. It’s hard work. It’s horrible. It’s stressful, and sometimes it’s depressing. But the light in it is that you’re doing it out of passion. It’s what you want to do for the rest of your life, and not many people can claim that when they submit to the system. So, I just felt that series really captured the idea of people following their dreams. And that is the most beautiful thing ever.
And it’s also so related to fashion, it’s insane. I was watching it and thinking of how similar it is. Coming up with the ideas, the concept, and thinking, how do I make this work? And then put everything together. The time and the pressure. And then people just eat the dish, and that’s all. It’s like a runway.
Exactly, it’s amazing. Nobody knows what was behind that process. So, yeah, I just do enjoy and connect with that series a lot. 
The episode where they just keep switching back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room, like the peace and the chaos, is so good.
Exactly. The chaos, the family trauma. So many things. It’s incredible.
Part of the inspiration behind your last collection, aside from the idea of accidents being turned into something beautiful, is horror movies like It. Personally, I’ve never watched one because I don’t understand the appeal of sitting down to get traumatised and lose sleep for the next two months. Can you please break it down for me? What makes them something you enjoy?
For me, a good horror film is something that is not here to scare you. Of course, being scared, frightened, or shocked by the visual, the acting, the scene, or the storyline is part of what a good horror film is. But I do feel one of the most attractive things about horror movies is that they almost show you how realistic shit can be out there. And I think that’s one of the reasons why I really enjoyed it. It’s the idea that things can go so fucking bad. And sometimes in the world we’re living in a utopia, or we try to live in a utopia to keep ourselves feeling optimistic and moving forward, to be able to forget about things that we don’t want to remember, which is one way of surviving and one way of living. But for me, sometimes I feel a horror film gives you that perspective, not only in terms of entertainment value but also on a human level of how dark things can be or how bad things can get. And in my opinion, a good horror film is not just here to scare you but also to show you that not everything is hopeless in the end. Everyone’s life is not going to be beautiful forever; there will be some bad things happening from time to time. So, it’s those bad things that happen and how we deal with them, how we rise from them, and how we learn from them that dictate who we are as a person.
While researching for this interview, I came across a theory called The Paradox of Painful Art in which humans tend to consume this kind of upsetting art like horror movies and loud music, seeking out emotions that are generally avoided in everyday life. Do you think that in this kind of media resides an alternate universe of references worth exploring, regardless of the pain it can cause?
For me, when I lost my grandmother and my cat in an accident as well, the amount of love that I felt for them was greater than the grief itself. Therefore, I understood that the grief came from how much I'd loved them when they were alive. And the sadness comes from how much I still want to be with them and how much was left undone. And I felt like being able to confront those feelings was almost like being in a horror film. To confront the fears, to look at them so honestly and so naked. It’s a way for you to learn to be more appreciative and grateful when good things are happening. We're always just looking at what’s wonderful out there and what's romantic out there. How do we even know if they’re beautiful and worth it if we don’t know how bad things can get or dark things can be? I feel there needs to be a balance, and sometimes a horror film can give you that kind of balance. In a sense, for me, to be lost in another world, to be confronted with so much fear, and how sometimes that fear can turn into optimism, I feel that’s always the quality of life, you know, of how people rise to the challenge and are able to understand more than just something like, oh, I’m happy. Everything is beautiful. Oh, yeah, I just want to make people look great. There’s always more to that, because these are all just smoke and mirrors. The reality of it is something else. And I feel like a horror film is a reality check sometimes.
Despite you doing something related to disasters, mess, or horror, the implementation of crafted techniques makes the results look far from that, and it becomes something polished and beautiful. Does the involvement of technique make something inherently more beautiful?
I don’t think beautiful was my aim when I was designing the collection, specifically when I took inspiration from the horror movies or the fear I felt when I was designing that collection in such a short amount of time for couture. I think my aim is just to create something that is very honest, and I truly mean it. I want something that makes sense to me so that when I look at it, it speaks to me, and it’s storytelling. It’s almost like they are characters that I would be looking at and obsessed with if this were my film. Does that make sense? So I want to do it almost like I’m directing a film. And then these are the characters in it. And so the beauty, the way that it will be, and the way it will be perceived are not really my aim. I just want something that I will enjoy; that makes sense to me, and that feels very honest looking back at it no matter how many years pass. I can still vividly remember why I designed this with love. What did I feel when I sketched it? What was I thinking when I was designing it? What kind of message was I trying to translate with this particular design? So that was my goal; it wasn’t to be beautiful. But I’m glad that people find it beautiful because, I suppose, sometimes emotional things are.
The different pleasures in life have an uncontrollable and almost unexpected character to them; they are more like a sudden rush than something you planned. When creating, there must be a level of technique, planning, and method involved. Does this overthinking take away the unexpected appeal certain ideas could have when they were first conceived?
Yeah, definitely, definitely. I feel like sometimes when you are thinking or sitting on it for too long and then trying to calculate every element into it, even something like, oh, can she walk? Who’s going to wear this? How would the makeup look? You know, would the lighting make sense? Does this look make sense to the rest of the look? You will always have this kind of inner battle as a designer, trying to make sense of what you’re doing. And in your head, you’re trying to understand from other people’s perspectives as well. This makes sense to you, but does it make sense to any other person? So, I feel this is a very, very normal process in design. It’s completely up to the designers’s integrity and the way they understand themselves if the message and design are going to be lost in translation. Because I felt like sometimes designing is like questioning yourself a thousand times and then finally deciding to move forward. It could have changed a lot, or it could not have changed at all, from the first day until the last day. But that is the process you have to go through. You have to battle with yourself. So every single collection you make is almost like you are learning more about yourself – what you want, what you don’t want, what you want in the future, and what you want to learn again from the past as well. I’m still getting better and better every single time I’m designing a collection. I mean, I hope so for myself. And I just wish that, no matter if it’s a success or not, I will learn something and be better next time.
It could also depend on the point of view, doesn’t it? The viewer of a show is experiencing it for the first time with, usually, no previous knowledge, leaving space for those sudden feelings to surge. Meanwhile, you have been thinking non-stop about it for months. Do you remember any fashion moments that made you feel this particular rush?
I think I was very emotional when my first show was done. I felt the level of anxiety and worry, and then all of a sudden, it’s all gone. The moment when it’s done, when I walk out from the backstage, was a very powerful moment for me. I just literally collapsed and started crying. Recently, I feel that a very good fashion moment was Mugler’s last show. When Anok was walking out with that fucking long silk scarf, it was amazing. The music, the lighting – I was like, wow, that is the fashion that we’ve been all missing for so long, because it’s not gimmicky; it’s just a beautiful fashion moment. It’s the perfect balance, and I felt like moments like this reminded people why fashion is still a very good place to be when designers are trying to fulfil their vision to this level.
Even for myself this past year, when I saw the Adele moment, I’m such a huge fan, and that meant a lot to me. I really grew up looking up to her because I felt like when she was so successful, she was representing a generation of people that don’t need to have the full package the industry often requires of artists. She came out at the same time as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé. Normally, it’s artists that have the perfect package. You need to look good and be appealing to the mass market; you need to have dancers; you need to be able to dance; you need to have a lot of stage effects; and everything else. Basically, your success is a combination of everything; you know what I mean. So, people would know you for what your agent and your manager want to package you as. And then here comes a North London girl, where people just say “Oh, she always wears black; she doesn’t dress up a certain way; she doesn’t dance” and they would say “Oh yeah, she looks fat even”. But then, simply because she’s honest with her music, she’s talented, she writes her own music, and she’s honest and very comfortable about her personality, her success is even greater than that of these artists who need to spend so much money making themselves look good, trendy, and likeable. And that is what Adele meant to me. She is the beginning of an era in music and in mainstream culture where people will love you for who you are, as long as you know who you are, and you’re very good at what you do. She was the symbol for me for that, you know, when I was a student. So that’s why it meant a lot to me this year to be able to make that dress for her.
Is it easier to find beauty in the ugly than ugliness in beauty?
I think when we say words like this, right, like beauty and ugly, we’re using what we're trying to socially accept and understand of what beauty and ugly are. Because when you throw away all the social context, we think something is ugly because there is something that everyone thinks is beautiful to compare with. When we think something is very beautiful, it's because there are a lot of ugly things that people deem to be ugly to compare with. So at the end of the day, maybe it’s true: nothing is really ugly and nothing is really beautiful because, in my opinion, there’s always a balance between both. You know how people say that you can be beautiful on the outside, but you can be fucking ugly on the inside? And if you’re ugly on the outside, you can be beautiful on the inside. As cliché as it sounds, maybe that’s what it means. Sometimes people are beautiful, but they might not be beautiful on the inside. Then what does it mean? Because for me, in my experience, when I’ve met someone very gorgeous, and they turn out to be not a very nice person, I suddenly really don’t feel like they’re that beautiful anymore. So, actually, the idea of beauty is linked to emotion, experience, and contact. So maybe ugliness is the same. Maybe we think something is ugly because we’ve been told that it is. We’ve been positioned in society to think that they’re ugly, so we stay away from them. But is it truly ugly? What makes you think that is ugly? So maybe what we deem ugly are some other things that are actually appearances. Maybe someone is not a very good person, and that actually shows the ugliness on the outside as well. So, I felt like these words were very interesting to me. And I never really think about ugly or beauty when I design. It’s just about – does it make sense? Is it visually, emotionally, and spiritually making sense? Because I feel like when things make sense, they transcend beauty and ugliness. It’s just as it is.
Is fashion one of the professional fields where humans can find more freedom in exploring this more turbulent side of them? Do guilty pleasures thrive in this industry?
I mean, I don’t think there’s any industry out there in the world besides fashion where you won’t feel certain restrictions or rules. It’s just the way the world is. I mean, frankly, even if you do work in fashion, you still have to do your fucking taxes and your accounting, so those are restrictions. I don’t want to fucking pay for the government that doesn’t do shit for me. So, it’s just life. It’s really life. It’s about life. It’s about living together as a society and having to endure it, see the better side of it, and understand why we have to endure it. So same as fashion. I love the idea of being able to be on the couture schedule, but I also really feel the pressure of being on the couture schedule. You need to follow so many different guidelines and expectations. So it’s just about give and take; you need to know what your bigger goal is. Why do you want to do this? And to understand why you've got to do what you’ve got to do, learning how to accept things that might not be what you enjoy and try to find meaning in them is a very important learning curve for everyone. As we said, fashion is not that glamorous. So as a chef, you know, from The Bear, he has to do so much stuff that’s not about cooking. He needs to think about money. He needs to think about redoing the kitchen with interior design; think about opening time, delivery, business, family, and all that shit. That’s what it is, you know, the same as fashion. It’s not about sitting here and designing and being a fucking fabulous designer. You have to take care of so much. My team, the welfare of the team, is everyone happy? The finance. Do we need to spend so much on this fabric? Oh, my God, do we need to pay this much rent? Oh, my God, the coming show. What is our budget? Who’s the sponsor? What’s that sponsor like? It’s endless, but it's part of the cost of doing what you want to do. It’s never going to go away.
Do you think that gets in the way of the creative mind?
Oh, definitely. That’s why you need to find that balance. I learned how not to be stressed about it but to understand it and find meaning in it. I feel like when you change your attitude towards this kind of thing, you don’t let it affect your creative mind that much. It will only burden your creative mind when you think that these are burdens. When you decide to think that they are not burdens but that they’re your responsibility, and they’re going to help you do better, then they are not a burden for you anymore. And you can even design with a more mature mind.
Is there actually a space and a chance to enjoy silly, bad things nowadays? I feel like everyone is taking everything so seriously lately. Do you take yourself too seriously?
That’s a very good question. Because I feel nowadays everyone just feels conditioned that they need to show people on the outside that they can enjoy silly, good little things. I think my biggest question is: you can be as serious as you want to be, you know, on your professional image, as long as, in real life, you’re really enjoying silly little things. So if on the Internet you are showing people that you're enjoying silly little things, that means that you’re not necessarily really enjoying them. Is it just a marketing angle, or are you showing people that you’re truly happy? That defeated the purpose as well. I feel a person can be happy no matter how they enjoy their life; it could not even be silly to them, just walking their dog down the park. You know, look at how silly that dog is. That is someone’s silly little thing that they enjoy. So, I don’t think people need to feel pressured about proving they are enjoying life. Just let people live and find their journey. Find their peace. I think that’s even more important. For me, my silly little things now would be just now in Paris, I just had coffee with some fashion friends; we’ve known each other for so many years, so we don’t even talk about fashion anymore; we just talk about stupid shit like memes on the Internet and stuff, and that, for me, is the definition of those silly little moments. And I don’t want the world to know about it, because I don’t need the world to know about it.
Are you active on TikTok, Twitter, all of this?
Not TikTok. I can’t say I am. I don’t know how to make a TikTok, I just don’t have it in me.
But like scrolling? Do you do it?
Not really. Sometimes, but then the algorithm is just showing me things that obviously are something that I enjoy seeing. But then I don’t want to waste too much time on that because I know that it’s going to take forever.
I was asking you because I feel like our true form is revealed on our For You Page; no one knows your deepest self as the algorithm does. In my case, just between us, Mads Mikkelsen edits are apparently my guilty pleasure on TikTok because they’re the only thing I get, so I was wondering what’s flooding your feed lately.
So most of my algorithm on TikTok is showing me fucking court cases. You know, like when they’re in court talking about why this man killed this woman, why is this boy going up to the school and shooting, and they will have someone in the background explaining what happened that day. “And now this guy got caught, and what they presented will shock you.” Do you know what I mean? So they will always come with part one, part two, part three, and part four. So if you watch it, you will go on with this lexicon of unstoppable things. So that’s what my algorithm shows me. It’s always court cases or airport control. People checking the Australian border, checking what people are bringing into the fucking Australian borders. So yeah, I enjoy this algorithm, but at the same time, it’s kind of pointless. Sometimes I don’t need to watch it. The fashion content is very little for me on TikTok. I’ve seen videos on TikTok talking about my work, and I really liked them. I felt like it’s a very powerful platform to talk, to share, and to have things presented the way that you guys want to. I really, really enjoy seeing those videos. But for myself, I just felt like if I’d learned how to do things like that, it would be something very anti-nature. I feel it needs to be done well. And the definition of doing well on TikTok means that it needs to be catchy, quick, fast, and straight to the point. I felt like sometimes great things take a bit more time.
Than sixty seconds.
Yeah, and I think that’s the absolute opposite of TikTok. TikTok doesn’t have time for you. You better start shouting in the first second. Here you go. Here’s what I'm going to show you about my new collection! You better shout in the first fucking second (laughs). Nobody’s going to wait until you’re going to show something. Maybe TikTok is a bit too hectic for me. I’m not saying no to it. But in the future, I’d rather have some younger people join the team because they will have a unique way of seeing how the Robert Wun brand would perform on TikTok. Then I’ll let them handle it. And I will obviously oversee it, but I wouldn’t say I’m very eager or, in a sense, trying to do something on TikTok right away.
When confronted with something private – this funny things we were talking about or weird and questionable personal taste – there’s a tendency to get defensive about it. What will you defend till the day you die? Not politically, something silly, but if you want to get political, please be my guest.
I think I’m very defensive of people I love. No matter if they are friends or people that I care about, it’s something very natural to me. I have that nature of getting… I don’t mind people laughing at me, mocking me, or disrespecting me; I don’t really have a big feeling towards that. And it’s not that because I’m used to it or something; I think I don’t need to react to it because I don’t feel that much when people are against me. But when people are against someone that I love, respect, and cherish, I have this very strong protective mechanism: I will fight for the people that I care about and love. So this is something that I think is very in my nature. It will definitely follow me for the rest of my life. I just get very defensive when it comes to people, even though I don’t know who they are. I think the other thing is just – maybe just people in general. You know, good people. Even if I don’t know you, I like good people. I don’t know if that makes sense. Nowadays, we don’t celebrate enough people in general. Just people who are not looking for anything but that simply exists. I feel that value needs to be celebrated more. I feel nowadays young people are being conditioned a lot in terms of public recognition being the definition of themselves, and they don’t have quiet moments anymore. Because everyone is constantly fed so much information on the Internet, they don’t even have time to talk to themselves, even in their own heads. They talk to themselves while the phone is talking to them. Someone is telling them, how do I cut off toxic energy? Here is part three. Do you know what I mean? And that becomes you. But who are you? They don’t know themselves. You heard something that makes sense to you, but is it coming from you? I think it’s very common nowadays for people to say, do you know who I am? Do you know how many followers I have? Or do you know I can cancel you on my fucking – I don’t know, Instagram and stuff like that. I was like, wow, so you’re weaponizing your popularity, but your weapon would not apply to people that don’t even have an association with this platform. So, I just feel like maybe we need to celebrate more people who don’t really have any recognition at all. Or any success of people that we know of, and by just looking at them, we say, wow, they figure it all out by themselves. So yeah, that might be something I would defend. Humanity. Maybe that’s the thing.
I would like to finish our conversations with a little recap of your life. Pleasures are subjected to the context and mental place of the person. What was your guilty pleasure as a kid?
Playing TV games? Yeah, for sure, playing TV games. I would wake up in the middle of the night when my parents were asleep to do it because they wouldn’t let me. So, then I would go to the living room and start playing it while they were sleeping.
What about in your teenage or young adult years?
My young adult years would be sneaking out after school. I was lying to my parents that I'm just staying at my best friend’s place to study, but I was actually just going out in the street, you know, doing young people shit.
And now? 
I suppose my guilty pleasure – ’a side of me that people won’t know – is nothing very different from my character. I do really enjoy just sitting at home, smoking on the balcony, and watching Netflix, you know. Nothing fancy. The little pleasures of life. So smoking is definitely my guilty pleasure. That’s definitely one.