July 18, 2013

Interview: JEF MONTES

Jef Montes graduated in 2012 with honors from ArtEZ as a bachelor in fashion design. He considers his time as an intern at Dutch fashion label Klavers van Engelen as a highlight of his time at the academy. Unfortunately the design duo, famous for their intriguing fashion ideas, had to bring an end to their fashion label right after Montes left. "I saw for myself how difficult it can be and what it takes to stay afloat in this business. But I'm still just getting started and full of ambition.

You are participating in SALON/KANT.
Manon Schaap asked me to be part of SALON/KANT. I am very pleased to have been asked to join as I think the last editions of SALON/KANT were very inspiring. The participants in the past were very interesting, I’m happy to be a part of it now myself.

Why are you participating?
SALON/ is a great platform for talents from all disciplines. Amsterdam is a great city to present your work as a young artist. SALON/ offers a great choice of locations.

What's your personal connection of kant (lace)?
I had a lace-period, literally, at the academy. I got dressed up in lace pieces. I liked to go to Paris and stroll down flee markets and pick up beautiful second hand lace. There was plenty of it. It’s fun to do something experimental with lace.

What are you exhibiting at SALON/KANT?
I am presenting a showpiece from my collection ‘Encarnación’. I made it a year after developing my graduation collection because I felt I didn’t finish telling that story. Using Encarnación I exposed the back side (achterkant) of my collection. All prototypes of the first collection were developed into a new one. It's about transparency, different textures and craftsmanship.

What are those lit up crosses on the piece?
I bought a priests jacket in Spain once and I discovered a bunch of handmade embroidered crossed buttons in it. I had to break them in order to examen the way they were made. The buttons inspired me to make futuristic charms, I thought it was interesting to embroider the charm half open. The lower part of the embroidery, which makes it stay put, in this showpiece is a acrylate pattern. I designed it myself. The patterns were milled 120 times and embroidered by hand, piece by piece. When I finish the whole collection I would like to exhibit it in a dark room and hang a black light that will lit up all the white parts of the charms. You would enter the room thinking that the some embroidery is lighting up, but when you get closer and your eyes are used to the dark, you will see they frame a transparent plastic garment.

What are you doing at the moment?
I am really busy with designing my new collection “Illuminosa’. For this collection I was inspired by my Spanish grandfather Gabriel. My grandpa was an artisan, he made very small ships, model ships. As a child I had a fascination for his ritual when offering them as a present to friends and family. Everyone in the family has one now. I am taking the patterns of the sails of the ships and develop them into contemporary coatdresses. The rest will remain a surprise.

What would you like to achieve, career wise?
I would love to combine my own label with working at a fashion house.”

By Martino Bidotti

Jef Montes is on display in the attic of Ons’ LieveHeer op Solder, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40.