Duran Lantink: Don’t ask me who I am and don’t expect me to remain the same.
Don’t ask me who I am and don’t expect me to remain the same.
My Jan Jansen sandals fall through the loft hatch onto the floor. A thick blue sole with rounded ridges, a pink metallic wrapover strap with Velcro and a green metallic strap over the foot, close to the leg. Yes, I like sturdy shoes and these sandals made me about 5 cm taller and that’s why I wore them. For a while. Afterwards, they languished in a dark loft. Forgotten. Now, in the clear light of day, they look better than ever, with that extra dust and those bygone times. I give them to fashion designer Duran Lantink who loves to recycle fashion items.
In the hands of Duran, they underwent a transformation that I had not expected: he stuck them into the soles of two cut-off Nike Air Max sneakers, using three small tubes of superglue. The back became higher. Walking pleasantly – no, that was no longer possible, but you got something in return: the Jan Jansen flavour, fused together with the contemporary Nike.
This is how I came to see Duran on Facebook, sitting in the front row, wearing ‘my’ sandals, they walked by on the catwalk on long, slim, bright red glossy legs and with an extra piece of string around them as if the superglue might give way, on a screen-print on which the shoes were recorded by the sun itself into a radiant universe.
being yourself = leaving yourself
Duran Lantink is studying at the Sandberg Instituut: Fashion Matters
But why does fashion matter?
Why does fashion matter, I ask Duran.
I have a lemon that lookes like an octopus, long fingers growing on or out of it. An outlandish lemon. But yet: it is not everyday, but it is just a lemon – these grow too. A rare, strange and beautiful specimen that I keep with me until it shrivels. As you don’t come across an octopus lemon like this every day, you might find it gruesome, weird, scary, but its being is a yellow lemon. People come in all colours, heights, with and without arms and legs, with and without hair, rare or more average.
’Since I’ve been studying at the Sandberg, I’ve started to observe the behaviour around me more closely,’ says Duran. ‘People are sometimes so transparent, they say what they think you want them to say, or in a work situation it becomes apparent that there’s a hierarchy, which means that there are certain things you may not say or do. But we are free and each others’ equals. I am not more important than someone else and vice versa. Mark Rutter is not more important (but perhaps more normal).
As luxury chains the big fashion labels are comparable with H&M. At a party, I recognise a dress as the dress that was recently in the Van Ravenstein window display, I see the Dries van Noten tops, the Marni look. It is beautiful, attractive but nevertheless a mass product. A ‘normal’ but on a luxury scale.
‘Don’t ask me who I am and don’t expect me to remain the same.’ We can’t get away from the fact, it is, perhaps by accident, a quote by Michel Foucault. He states that we people have become work machines and he places The creative unexpected self versus the functioned disciplined self. He goes on to present a flexible self, because your self is not a fixed entity. A Syrian who comes to the Netherlands does not remain the same man as in his country of birth. An adolescent who leaves the parental home changes. I have become a different person since I stored away my seventies Jan Jansen sandals.
The normal, about which so much is said: the finger that points to a tiny little circle, that’s the way we do that here, that’s how we are. This way, then. Not differently. Normal, what is normal? In my favourite book, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson tells of her adoption by a Pentecostal couple. She writes about her mother: ‘She adopted me because she wanted a friend. A girl is supposed to grow up and be a missionary. Instead she falls in love with a woman. Disaster.’ Winterson then explains to her mother: ‘When I am with her I am happy. Just happy.’ Her mother’s reply: ‘Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?’ But there is a way out: in her parents’ house there were six books. After having read them all Winterson understood there was something else she could do. ‘Fuck it’, she thought, ‘I can write my own.’
Duran: ‘For me, fashion means that everything is possible, that you can look the way you want. That it makes you bigger, strong and powerful, just as I went to school in a dress. That’s it. Disidentifying.’
Blessed are the sissies
If, then, we have to clothe ourselves,
except that we were already there
then preferably simple by means of clothing.
Or some other fate and you say: look
‘The Sandberg allowed me to think more freely, not immediately cutting and making things with needle and thread, but space to think and fantasize. Using the sale-pieces from farfetch.com, the sale Walhalla of the expensive brands, I presented a lookbook in which I combined the clothing from the sale to form new imaginary creations. I see myself as a virtual design studio that makes new unique items from the purchases on far-fetch.com. The pdf file goes to the client in New York or Rio de Janeiro and a local atelier unpicks them and remodels them into a unique piece of clothing, following my design. In this way, I bring the high fashion cast-offs back to the highest regions again but now as a really unique one-off piece.’
‘Don’t ask me who I am and don’t expect me to remain the same’.
‘The Sandberg pushed me to being less lazy and more daring. What I undertake has a firmer basis, before that it was purely intuition. Now I take the time and leisure to produce quality. The message is concealed in the seams and inside the clothes. Allah, Buddha, Zeus – the world is for everyone.
(‘OK, later on I discovered that a Masters also has a theoretical side, and in my enthusiasm I overlooked it, my research takes place more in images than in words. But there are restrictions, a certain number of words, reflecting textually on your own work.)
My wedding dress is/was a dress with a print of a green coloured cosmos by Peter Pilotto. The marriage lasted half a year, and it was time to link a symbol to it. I asked Duran to alter it. The dress was too tight, so I hoped for a big pair of scissors that would make everything a bit looser, a new dress that would waft around me.
1 A magazine curated by Giambattista Valli