Purple Magazine
— Purple 76 Index issue 29

Huelle lutz

portrait by WOLFGANG TILLMANS
interview by OLIVIER ZAHM

OLIVIER ZAHM — When is fashion artificial?

LUTZ HUELLE — Artificial and superficial are not necessarily negative things for me. Not caring about what’s behind the surface can be extremely liberating. It also opens up a world of possibilities, of ways of seeing the world differently.

OLIVIER ZAHM — When is it real and interesting?

LUTZ HUELLE — It’s interesting to me when it doesn’t exist in a vacuum, when it says something about us and the way we live, or when it shows us possibilities of how to be.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Are you still inspired by people you see on the street, or the people around you?

LUTZ HUELLE — Looking at how people dress in any kind of place or situation is still a huge inspiration. I always feel that it keeps my work grounded in reality, and helps me to design clothes people will want to wear and will look good in. I have never wanted to restrict myself to a certain kind of personal lifestyle; it’s more a way of seeing things, and being open, not only to the things that I like and understand, but also those that don’t come naturally to me. Most often, this openness to things outside of my comfort zone creates the most interesting results.

OLIVIER ZAHM — We have recently seen a comeback of the ’90s in fashion. In your point of view, what should we take away from this era in fashion?

LUTZ HUELLE — I remember the ’90s as a time when suddenly everything was open and possible again. Everything that had been before suddenly felt stale and old, because the ’80s became more and more removed from how the majority of people were living. My generation was rebelling against fashion that had nothing to do with our lives. It made people sit up and ask themselves questions. Eventually it opened the door to a new generation of designers. Something similar is happening now. Everything feels possible and open again, and it has created this huge surge of energy that was missing from fashion for a while. What’s really interesting to me is that people seem to buy clothes again now, after all the talk of crisis and the negativity of the last few years, and that seems to coincide with the surge in interest in new and smaller brands.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Alternatively, what is new and interesting about today’s fashion world?

LUTZ HUELLE — What I like most is how democratic it has become. We had a surge in popularity a few seasons ago simply because people were suddenly able to see my work on Instagram and react to it. Today, everything is out there for people to see, and that creates possibilities that really weren’t there before.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How has Paris changed since you established your company there? Has it opened up in terms of fashion?

LUTZ HUELLE — Paris is actually an incredible place to be at the moment. It has opened up immensely — with people being able to travel so easily, and the way we are all connected with the rest of the world through social media — but without losing its very specific sense of being “Parisian.” What I also like about Paris, or France in general, is that there is an openness to dialogue and discussion, and that there is a social conscience. We are living in complicated times. A lot of how we used to see the world doesn’t make sense, and we cannot apply the old rules anymore. France is actually dealing with how the world is changing. It’s funny for me because I never thought I would say this one day, but there is honestly no place right now where I would rather be. Viva Paris!

OLIVIER ZAHM — You never give up, and you continue to fight for your independent label, while a lot of independent designers cannot do so because of financial difficulties. How do you survive without losing your artistic integrity?

LUTZ HUELLE — I always just did what I felt was right for us. That obviously doesn’t mean that I didn’t make mistakes along the way, but I always tried to be as honest as possible. I’m extremely lucky in that I’m surrounded by an amazing group of people whom I love dearly, and that I have a very faithful clientele that stayed with me when things were less easy. In hindsight, I have never taken my situation for granted, something that maybe has kept me on my toes all these years. But to be honest with you,
Olivier, it’s also clear to me that in order to grow, I can not stay independent forever. So this is something I’m evaluating now.

OLIVIER ZAHM — How do you define the woman you like to dress?

LUTZ HUELLE — She’s open to the world, and completely at ease with who she is — physically, sexually, and intellectually.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Would you say that your fashion has a political message?

LUTZ HUELLE — Everything I do is about being open and nonjudgmental about how people are and which kind of life they live. That in itself might be a political message today.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Your friend, the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, has photographed you since the early ’90s. How would you describe your artistic relationship?

LUTZ HUELLE — He’s simply my best friend.

OLIVIER ZAHM — Are you confident in the future of fashion as a form of art, or do you think it will become increasingly commercial, based on copies, vintage, streetwear, and sportswear, without real innovation?

LUTZ HUELLE — I’m incredibly confident. As long as we exist, there will always be people who will push forward, through innovation and with passion and curiosity.

END

[Table of contents]

Purple 76 Index issue 29

Table of contents

Purple Index 76

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