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JULIAN ZIGERLI ON LOVE, COLOR, HUMOR AND POSITIVITY

JULIAN ZIGERLI ON LOVE, COLOR, HUMOR AND POSITIVITY

In spite of the global quarantine, Julian Zigerli is super busy! He runs a small (but fabulous) brand in Zurich, which is currently in the process of churning out masks using archival fabrics already in the studio. He was able to step away for a moment for a quick phone interview where we laughed at the insanity of the world, and discussed fashion, which for Julian, is more about joy than pretension. His technically executed clothes are designed to be modern and wearable (I’d wear anything he puts out). Julian’s attention to detail is clear in everything that he does, from sweats to jewelry to designer items. He’s a free thinking visionary, who understands the benefits of collaboration, and sees art as an extension of his own creativity. The guy is a total powerhouse, and yet, his clothes remain playful and inclusive. CULTUREEDIT / Tom of Finland Store offers a wide selection of items from different collections, but the brand is prolific— check out his extensive collections online. With collaborations often focused on print design, we’re excited for a someday-collab with Tom of Finland's iconic imagery. In the meantime, read up on what Julian is working on through this quarantine.

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Have you always been into art/fashion? Where did the Zigerli journey start?

At sixteen or seventeen I took a one year foundation course, which covered many different subjects. After that, more art school, where I became more and more interested in fashion. I worked for a small brand in Zurich and realized fashion was what I wanted to do. That brought me to the University of Arts in Berlin to study fashion. I started the brand nine years ago. 

Can you talk about the relationship between fashion and art?

I am always interested and inspired by fashion and art. I never thought so much about combining it (as it is now), but naturally they came together as I worked on the band. Starting with the third collection, I had a good friend whose work I really liked—  I thought, here’s something. I really liked the aesthetics he was creating, and I saw connections between my work and his. I told him I was inspired by it, I wanted to do more. We started a collaboration which was lovely. It was amazing to meet in the middle creatively. That’s how it started, and it became more and more, until today. 

Julian Zigerli S/S 2020 Campaign

How has fashion changed in the 21st century? 

I noticed when I started the brand that menswear was up and coming. This movement started almost ten years ago. I started as merely a menswear brand, and now it has become a bigger picture. Now menswear is everything, but I guess we shaped it as well, we were part of the movement. 

You cite “love, color, humor and positivity” as the core values of your brand. Can you talk about that criterion, and why it’s relevant in an ever chaotic world?

We do what we love. That’s one part. We wear and feel joyful about it. We are easy going and have a care-free state of mind. I think this is what we want to share with everyone. That’s why they are our key values. We want to be more than just fashion — you wouldn't expect these words to come from a high end fashion brand. It is a relaxed way we have, but for us it's a survival instinct, because we are happy about it, and we enjoy doing it.  Also, a lot of our collections are ironic, so that goes with not taking it too seriously. 

Julian Zigerli S/S 2020 Campaign

How much do your designs interact with global events? Will you respond to the current pandemic through your designs?

We have! All the other shops in Switzerland as well. Our store closed and we only re-opened the other day. We are selling less expensive clothing because no one can spend money right now because they are scared of the future. Almost three weeks ago we launched a line created in the studio, using archived fabrics. Anything we could do in the studio we did. We recently launched protective masks. They are all available on CULTUREEDIT / Tom of Finland Store, including two exclusive designs.  We are trying to be as fast as possible. We photographed me wearing all the masks made with fabric in the studio. That’s been a good business. 

Julian Zigerli wearing CASH Face Mask

Collaboration seems to be at the heart of your work. Why do you enjoy it so much?

Our most well known aesthetic is print design. Each season we create new prints. We became known for these collaborations, and they became an important part of the brand. Collaboration became necessary to cross borders, to translate other aesthetics. 

CULTUREEDIT / Tom of Finland Store offers an assortment of clothes from different Zigerli lines, but none of the collaborations are ToF specific. Have you considered doing a Tom of Finland collaboration? 

Definitely. We have some ideas, but time is always running so fast. I haven’t had time to connect yet, but I have an idea. As soon as we have time, we can make it something real. It makes sense for us. Not only on print design, but we do many collaborations: bags, jewelry…  we make what we need to evolve the brand. 

Julian Zigerli S/S 2020 Campaign

Are there any Tom of Finland images/prints/sketches that you find particularly inspiring? 

The boys! It’s all about the boys. I love boys myself. (We are also a very sexy brand). 

Do you identify as a queer brand?

There’s always a slight tint of gayness. Gay as in homosexual, but also as in joyful. I never call it it gay brand, it all blends together, its not important. We like the whole soup. 

The twinkle dick design, I’ve got to ask, where did that come from? 

It’s kind of a special edition. We had a collection where we did dicks on a t-shirt but used a different material. We have a dick ear stud. A sausage is always somewhere. That’s how we came up with the swarovski twinkle twinkle dick, but there's a boobie version too! The summer collection is also with Swarovski, so we had worked with them before. Made sense to work with them again, and put the iconic symbol on a shirt. 

Julian Zigerli S/S 2020 Campaign

The metallic laurel keychain ( I LOVE) seems to perfectly blend classic and modern design— can you talk about the marriage of those aesthetics?  

I mean, that's a kind of special piece. It's the oldest design in my collection. Part of my graduation with the University of Arts. I did the laurel leaf as a sunglasses strap, it was made out of latex— the whole collection was about hubris and gods, and I came up with the laurel leaf, a sign of all these things. Over time, it became more and more, ultimately the accessory it is today. We made it leather, made it a keychain, made it metallic, and now it’s a staple piece. One of the accessories we always will sell. 

If you had to choose one outfit to wear forever (accessories included), what would it be?

Mostly sweatpants! And I can’t remember a day I didn’t use the keychain. It’s always with me. At the moment I have the Swarovski crystal one. It will always be part of whatever I

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