Interview: Steven Passaro, A Young Talent To Follow Closely

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Interview: Steven Passaro, A Young Talent To Follow Closely

Steven Passaro has been nominated for prestigious awards in the very closed fashion world, as in the LVMH Prize, and is a young designer to follow closely.

ased in Paris under his eponymous brandsince 2019, he offers a different approach to fashion. His wardrobe is mostly male, while incorporating more feminine codes. There follow collections inspired by tailoring, but breaking traditional codes, playing on genres and cuts.

In addition to a wardrobe with a strong visual identity, notably based on asymmetry, overlays and folds – already iconic – this one is truly committed from an ecological point of view.

By using new technologies, through the use of 3D prototypes, it significantly reduces the use of raw materials and miles of tissue that would otherwise be wasted. He developed a concept called the Act of Growtharound the principle of the evolution of a garment. A piece with a unique origin, which the customer is invited to evolve as the seasons go by. Enough to keep its iconic piece, while remaining in the trend and without producing a 100% new garment.

He mixes innovation and eco-responsibility – wouldn’t that be the key to making ecology more attractive and glamorous?

Forefront, responsible and modern, focused on new technologies, Steven Passaro has all the cards to become a future icon of fashion.

Icon-Icon decided to meet with him to learn more.

meeting with Steven Passaro

To start and recontextualize for our readers, could you review your background and the concept behind your brand?

I have a somewhat atypical background. I first studied space design at the Duperré school in Paris. During my internships, I developed a love for fashion and creation around textiles. I did my third-year internship at BTS at Dior, which opened the doors to this environment and allowed me to have the opportunity to look at the details of the clothes, to see how they were created.

I then dropped out of space design, for a master’s degree in men’s fashion in London.

When I returned to Paris in 2020, I launched my brand there.

My desire was to redefine the way fashion is created and consumed, but also to express a new vision of the delicacy and sensitivity I can have in order to share it.

A wardrobe that takes traditional masculine codes but that brings modernity, with a little more sensuality and sensitivity, more «femininity», playing with the codes of gender.

We can describe your wardrobe as gender fluid, do you think that today, there is always a meaning in distinguishing male and female collections?

Actually not because— If most people need to be reassured and to have references when they buy clothes, the new generations are in a different perspective: there is an item that I like and no matter where it supposed to belong.

However, there is still a question of body morphology that is undeniable.

I see it, for example, with women who try my clothe for men and tell me that it suits them super well, so it’s quite fun to play with that.

I worked with Miss Fame [editor’s note:a famous Drag Queen] and I thought it was great because we made a jacket originally for men but with a feminine side when she wears it, as Miss Fame So we worked on a piece that was more «fit», more feminine that she also wore as a male «him» and not as her persona, I think it’s great to play as much as possible on the genres.

steven passaro- ss22

When you create your collections, what are your primary inspirations?

It’s a very intuitive, very personal process. The first research that really inspired me was around the question of the “self”. I am thinking in particular of Gilles Deleuze’s «Philosophy of the Fold» which sees the self as a composition of folds, of several facets, of several personalities or emotions and the way in which a universe is constructed around this question. There would finally be things that reveal themselves and hide, the fold becomes the interface: one inside, the other outside.

With each collection, we will take a particular facet and continue to dig into this story. So, we started around a more fluid set of folds so with more freedom where the one coming inside of you becomes an introspection, then a resilience that is built in relation to that.

Therefore, there’s more exteriorization, and sometimes—I’m talking about me and my hypersensitivity—these collections talk about emotions one doesn’t want to feel. As a human being, we have a capacity to feel emotions one at a time, so if we block one, they’re all blocked. As a result, we’re not really living.

steven passaro- ss22

How is this hypersensitivity reflects itself in your work?

This translates in different ways, what is positive today is that I am at a point in my life when this hypersensitivity has become a strenght and not a burden. Being always empathetic, hyper connected to everything, faced with a lot of information, takes time to digest, which can be exhausting. What could be more beautiful than transcending that and using it… The delicacy of having collections that bring back very soft, delicate things, with a very strong construction… so I play with and compose.

We notice a great place for tailoring in your collections, can you explain to us what you like so much and where this attraction comes from?

I fell in love with tailoring. I think it comes from my love of construction, since having worked on space and architecture. There is truly an architecture of the body when you make tailoring vis-Ă -vis the tailor.

When I did my internship at Dior, I always saw this Dior man expertise and I thought, “I want to understand how it’s done, all the layers you put inside, the interlining.” I remember buying a jacket for private sale, which I completely opened to understand how it was made and then I thought I wanted to learn how to do that.

I did pretty well. The funny thing is that I was watching a lot of YouTube videos, documentaries, and today, one of the people in those documentaries has become one of my mentors and a great friend. This is truly a great reward and recognition from the community.

steven passaro- ss22

You create your 3D models before launching your prototypes, how did you come up with this idea?

I didn’t want to create a brand just to create a brand. I had this personal and selfish desire to express myself in the clothing. But I wanted us to ask for the right questions. At the time, what shocked me was the number of canvases and prototypes that came out before making the final product.

It’s something very personal and related to my environmental sensitivity. Overconsumption and overproduction are issues that have been in my head for almost a decade now, and I was wondering how to deal with that when everything is being manufactured on the other side of the world.

Made in France is not really made in France, just like made in Italy. I came across these new technologies in London, and I thought, I’m going to go back to Paris, get in there and figure things out.

So, i am kind of self-taught on the software part.

When we know the ecological disaster that is coming, to launch a brand without any interest in this aspect seems absurd.

PCould you go back to the “Act of Growth” project that you developed?

To be completely honest with you, I’m currently putting everything under perspective. I feel like people are not quite ready. This is a big project, very difficult to implement in the face of the fast-fashion industries that produce thousands of references a day.

We are facing a psychological gap in terms of consumption. People found this project very interesting, so I am going to keep it aside. I think we will be able to develop it more when we have more visibility and “faithful” clients.

Originally, the objective was to create a garment that has an evolution that can be proposed after a certain time, which allows to have this feeling of novelty, while keeping its original product. Transform it visually and at a more attractive cost rather than buying it again. That’s what I do: I buy a piece, which I love, but after a while I get a little tired of it. But in the end, if I had to buy something, it would be something similar since I know my style.

COAT ACT OF GROWTH

Indeed, the renewal of trends is extremely fast, and we find ourselves in a system of perpetual overconsumption.

I would very much like to see this project come to fruition, if only through the relational aspect with our clients that affects me, that they come to see us again, that we work with them, even when we make custom-made special parts. I think it’s very important to have that close relationship, especially since when i made people try them on I was told “ I do feel good in your clothes, it’s comfortable, it’s not tight and yet I’m super elegant, there’s movement inside!” So I think, “I did my job”. It’s something that’s still there, but it’s kind of on a break right now.

You use new technologies for prototypes, 3D models, have you ever considered developing something around NFT?

For the last collection, we released five silhouettes that are really digital, since we work with a collaborator who creates fitingtechnologies in augmented reality. They take our 3D and re-map them to the real 2D photos, which allows us to have a lookbook or «Instagram photo» rendering, without having to spend a penny on product.

I wanted these clothes to be in NFT, except that we arrived slightly late on the subject but we are really developing it.

I would like that on our e-shop, when we buy the physical part we have the digital twin which allows to authenticate the product and therefore to have his twin in the metaverse, on a blockchain so that there can be traceability and authentication later with content dedicated to that.

Do you think this is a concept of the future?

I think right now we’re in a “buzz phase”, going all the way around, with billions of dollars being invested all over the place.

We had a first metaverse fashion week a few weeks ago, and I think we all agree that it was a total flop, if not a reversal. An experience in a video game when we have already spent two years in lockdown. We want to go out, to see, to touch matter and to carry things. I think the concept will adjust but the idea would be to meet a need and not to create the demand or the need.

What would be the iconic item in your home, Steven Passaro?

There are two things that have been following me since the beginning: we have this famous trench coat that was originally designed for the Act of Growth collection. The shape is very beautiful, I like to keep it and transform it every season.

There is also this pleated panty skirt that has been much requested and that comes back regularly since it is a piece that is part of the first research, I would say that it is the look a little iconic.

steven passaro- ss22

At Icon-Icon, we are particularly interested in icons, what would be your absolute one?

There are personal items that I particularly appreciate.

Last year, I found a McQueen jacket in a thrift store that I paid five euros for. A piece that is part of the first jackets that McQueen had put out on the market, I love it!

But there’s one piece I’ve been fantasizing about for a very long time that I’ve never been able to find, and that’s a Dris Van Nottenshirt, which is quite long with a chest strap, a strap, and an embroidery. I’m obssesed with this collection and this item in particular. I would love to own one, it’s like my iconic item.

To finish what are your future projects, what future would you like to give to your label?

It’s funny because I often wonder about that right now.

I love what I do, what I have built with the team with whom we have an incredible synergy because our projects are quite innovative. Today, we are dealing with something quite new, sometimes we run into obstacles because people are afraid of technology and speed.

But where I see that it is very interesting and innovative, is that I would like to continue this story, for example with the mesh we have a system that allows to make prototypes in 3D with coding… and we just have to send the program to the industrial knitter.

When it comes to image communication, development, we are rethinking a 360 communication on the different channels: Tiktok and Instagram especially, because I find that today we have too much image, but no sense at all, I want to have more meaning, of emotion in everything we do about it.

Finally, I would like to parade a lot to have this scenographic dimension in terms of means. We have participated in all the Andam competitions, LVMH awards and I would of course like at some point to have one of these come to me.

What affects me the most is that this vision develops and is shared, which is the most important.

interview made by SĂ©bastion Girard, presiden of Icon-Icon.

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