The fashion world can be very un-inclusive. New brands have a tough time breaking through. There is the old guard and the new guard, but not a whole lot in the middle that explodes onto the market and displays an undeniable presence. As a boutique retailer we are always looking for brands who are showing us a new vision, a new idea, a new way of seeing the world. The biggest problem with what we see in the market is either a new brand copying another, or something thats been done over and over and over. When we do come across a brand that is operating in its own headspace and forging their own path, we have to stop and pay attention.
One of the first brands that formed our store's original vision was Kapital from Japan. Their ideas and looks are so unique, so different, so captivating, that we felt compelled to help tell their story. The newest brand we see doing much of the same is BYBORRE from Amsterdam. The historically "boring" category of knitwear hasn't changed much for decades especially in menswear. BYBORRE set out to change that stigma, as well as push textile innovation into a new realm.
Interview with Borre Akkersdijk from BYBORRE and Kevin Wilson from SOMEWHERE®
Could you give our audience a little background on who you are?
BYBORRE is a textile innovation company, who are looking to radically challenge textile production as we know it today. The current manufacturing chain is inflexible and wasteful, in part because each link or step in the manufacturing chain is siloed and inaccessible to creators new to the game.
Now, we are well aware most will know us as a brand, pushing the possibilities of knitted garments. However, our Editions™ are part of something bigger…We are a bespoke textile production company. We use our Editions™ to showcase our latest textile technologies before they are accessible for other brands to design and engineer for their own products.
When did the interest spark to use a mattress technology for steps in your production?
I believe a good product can only exist if it’s made of a good material. So my fascination for clothing rapidly evolved into one about textile on and around the body. This made me dive into the several production processes of textile, where I came across techniques used in the surface layers of mattresses. This became one of the knitting techniques we we started adopting by ‘hacking’ these machines’ hard & software so to say, and introducing them to new on-body textile categories.
Was it a natural flow in the beginning or was it a rough transition infusing that tech into your design?
Going back to those beginnings, the future vision was projected towards wearable technology. We were at the forefront of integrating chip technology into textiles, really to search for the next platform that would follow up on phones. In that sense we really wanted to bring this on and around the body.
What we then realized was that our core and expertise was not in the chip technology space dominated by the Tech giants, but that in fact we are experts in the textile world for automotive, sportswear and apparel. We believe that we can revolutionize this space by inspiring all brands who use textile to be conscious about the impact they are making as it is the most used product in the world. To make my point: from the day that we’re born, we’re wrapped in textile, and basically remain in contact with it even until after we pass away.
Im interested in learning more about your inspirations in your designs, tech-wise and style-wise. You could have taken a different route and just made "regular" apparel, but what drove you to take a different approach?
We engineer and manufacture everything from the yarn up, to make end products that make sense and are entirely fit-for-purpose. For this reason we also take design ques from existing products and patterns. For instance: our arm hole construction and gussets were designed to promote comfort and practicality, early on during our first collections I had the Dutch National Gymnastics team involved in wear testing our products and textiles.
However, It was never the intention to just make apparel, it was the intention to push the boundaries of knitted textiles and by doing so, creating a system that allows one to influence all design steps along the way. By building this infrastructure we were enabled to make fit for purpose design choices in our textiles, both on the level of product usage and in terms of the final aesthetic outcome. We have decided to open up that system and allow other brands, product makers, etc to make textiles and truly ingrain them with their own DNA - which is now turning into what we call BYBORRE Create™.
Was it important for you to build a relationship with Gore-Tex, and how did it start?
Our relationship started years ago already. As both our companies are rooted in textile innovation, it was a very natural step / process to combine their performance wovens with our performance knits. When they globally released the Infinium brand, we were the first to launch products with them to explore the so-called new codes of comfort which is a focus on elements in products such as lightweight, breathability, wind-proofing and durability. We have a long lasting relationship ever since, both in our Editions and our textile innovation side of the business.
"The core of our company is textile innovation and production."
I almost see BYBORRE as a new Gore-Tex. Not literally, but in the sense that you come from a production background which became a brand.
Indeed, it’s a very good comparison, as the focus for the bigger part of our company is being an ingredient brand and platform for third parties, just like Gore...
Our focus is to open up the doors in the supply chain from yarn and machine manufacturers to production sites, and making them accessible to creators. We are creating an ever expanding connected network of responsible suppliers and production facilities - linked and ready to work with for creators through an intuitive design, sampling, and production process when they are creating a bespoke textile with us.
So in that respect, we supply knit innovations to all sorts of brands and companies just like Gore does with its performance wovens.
How does it feel when other brands and companies appreciate your work to the point you’ve worked with BMW to Descente Allterrain?
It is exciting and above all very encouraging to see such brands and companies adapt to our system and way of doing things as it is quite a radical approach to producing. Our belief is that creative freedom will change the industry: by putting creators in control of their own design, they are empowered to consciously create better textiles for the products used in our everyday lives.
Recently you’ve worked with Kapital. How was that process?
We met Kiro in Japan, and introduced him to our textiles and way of working. Through an amazing dialogue together, Kiro got the chance to infuse his DNA into our process, and whilst doing so created his own unique Kapital knit. We strongly believe in this: creators such as Kiro can focus on creation and push the boundaries of our system, without having to calculate the impact they’re making with each and every design choice they make.
The whole concept of the 3D process you guys apply to your apparel is insane (in a good way). It's like art.
Kind words! Thank you. For us, knit types such as the 3D knit are a medium so to say. We really view it in a sense that the outcome of the textile is the sum of every considered step along the way if we design the textile ourselves, or one of our clients… The outcome is the pure expression of the creator, our platform just provides the canvas…
We love our 3D knit structure, but we equally love our 8-Bit, AO2, AO3 and soon to be introduced new knit types we’ve been working on!
Where do you see the future of the company? Ever looking to expand?
The Editions remain our means to showcase our innovations and inspire the industry, the goal is not for it to be ever-expanding.
The core of our company is textile innovation and production. We have been working very hard to develop Create™: a web based design tool, enabling them to create a textile design mockup whilst playing with functional yarn libraries, our signature knit types, colours and their own graphics or logo’s.... The aim is to provide access to responsible design options, and the industry’s latest innovations and creative tools.
However, you and your customers will still always be the first to get our latest innovations through our Editions of course! :-)
Any dream collaborations you are hoping to work on in the near future?
We feel there’s several definitions of collaboration floating around. Collaboration is often understood as bringing two logo’s together. We really believe in partnerships. So to answer your question: we are dreaming of partners who are strong in their field or category, who we can innovate with together, so we can create more long lasting and responsible products, with the ultimate goal to make a positive impact in the world.