It may seem unbelievable that a day in the life of 17-year-old Pierre Kaczmarek has the same 24 hours as yours and mine. Besides attending high school and dealing with the same amount of papers than any student his age, this French guy also manages to run a fashion brand during late evenings: Afterhomework(Paris). He started holding brand presentations during Paris Fashion Week (PFW) in September 2015, and the interest has anything but decreased.
Kaczmarek has a penchant for recycling industrial surplus fabrics similar to that of British designer Christopher Raeburn, or creating new styles out of forgotten textiles in thrift stores. Luckily enough, he gave us some of his scarce time to answer a few questions for SI.
Explain to me how the brand originated back in 2014.
I started it at the age of 15, fruit of an extreme need to create. I was impatient, as older friends all around me were starting their own projects. First, I started making t-shirts for my friends. Afterwards some ideas for other garments followed, enough to make a collection. I started a bit blind.
What do you mean when you say that you started a bit blind?
When I started I knew nothing of this world and how it really worked. But I quickly realized it was not all as perfect as one can think by looking at Vogue Runway.
When did you show for the first time during Paris Fashion Week?
It was a presentation for SS15 in a small room; there were lots of people. To have an event during PFW was a way to get noticed for me.
How did you get the chance?
It was a parallel event to the official fashion week calendar that I organized with very few resources.
I quickly realized it was not all as perfect as one can think by looking at Vogue Runway.
Did you receive formal training in fashion design? Where does your knowledge come from?
No, I learned some basics on the internet, reading fashion books or watching broadcasts. My mother had a fashion retail store in the 1st district of Paris, so I also learned some things through her.
How do you split up the tasks with your girlfriend and brand partner Elena?
I draw all the pieces and make the artistic direction. She deals with the production a bit as a guideline collection and the styling. In addition to the design, I decide the moods for the collections, shows and lookbooks.
In a former interview, you linked the use of blue canvas ceded by Renault in your SS17 collection –the same color as French workwear– with the much-talked-about social conflict in France. In general, do you think that fashion design could do more to highlight social injustices?
What inspires me in general is daily life. So what happened in France last spring inspired me. And I wanted to work with blue Klein for a long time, it was the occasion. If the garment can have a little history it is always better. I believe that fashion is art before being a business so like any other art, fashion can denounce.
I believe that fashion is art before being a business so like any other art, fashion can denounce.
One of the tops in your SS17 collection is made entirely of ties. How did you come up with this idea?
One day, I met a ties collector. This encounter came back to mind while being in a thrift store in Berlin buying old fashion items. This year is the election in France, so we see politics with ugly ties all time so I find it funny to make fashion with them.
You used mostly upcycled materials in your latest collection. Is this part of personal commitment to sustainability or rather a passion for all things vintage?
I just love creating something from another thing: deconstructing something that already exists to come up with something new.
Deconstruction, asymmetry and experimentation with different volumes are frequent elements in your designs. Do you get inspired by other disciplines like art and architecture?
I love art, especially painting. It’s true that architecture gives me ideas for shapes.
In which retail stores can we find Afterhomework(Paris) right now?
I’m in contact with many stores worldwide, but I want to take my time to choose the right retailers for my SS17 collection.