Can you describe what you do? Where you are based, the neighbourhood you live in, your daily routine, the people you work with, the scene you feel the closest to.
We run Capara, a fashion label that creates two ready-to-wear collections per year. We handle everything except productions from our 300 square metre atelier in the city centre, near the central station. We live close by, in the Jewish neighbourhood of town. We love it there, we’re always fascinated by our daily surroundings. At Capara, we create everything from scratch. We love to work on shapes and new proportions, developing our own colours for our Italian fabrics. We love combining manufactured techniques with artisanal ones, because we feel this is our strength and our trademark. It’s a very intuitive way of working. We’re surrounded by people from many different industries, creative ones as well as technical ones. Each and every one of them influence and shape us as designers. All of these worlds are intrinsically interesting, as what you see in it depends on who you are.
How do you perceive Antwerp? In your view, what kind of city is it? Its people, its cultural landscape, its vibe? How does it compare to other, similarly-sized cities?
Antwerp feels like a very honest city. It’s not about beauty or pretending for things to be more than what they actually are, which is what we aim to express in our work. The city was, and still is, real and innovative, never failing to reinvent itself. Real creative people create everyday life here. Antwerp is rough, dark, beautiful and interesting all at once. The underground feeling still lives here. A lot of big cities are, in our view, wonderful on the outside, but mostly living by their past accomplishments and attract a less interesting crowd. New things can only be created in places like Antwerp. We’re hoping the city will never lose its honesty.
Seeing images of Martin Margiela’s show was a turning point in our lives, it was then we decided to come to Antwerp, to follow in his footsteps and eventually go work for him.
What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives? What gives the city its edge?
We can only speak on this matter on a personal level. A city is what you make of it and depends on what you see in things. Perception always varies. For us, coming here felt like how it must have felt for people immigrating to America in the early days. It felt like a place where everything is possible and the more personal you make things, the better they can be. We went away from the secure mindset and fixed standards. The people we met here were thinking the same way, and that’s truly amazing.
How would you say has Antwerp contributed to making you who you are today? What role has the city played in shaping your outlook and career?
Antwerp and its people, like The Antwerp Six and Martin Margiela in particular, are the reason we started working in fashion years ago, and are the reason we still do today. Seeing images of Martin Margiela’s show was a turning point in our lives, it was then we decided to come to Antwerp, to follow in his footsteps and eventually go work for him. He showed us that it was possible to dream and to follow your vision. Which is the scariest thing ever, but the most rewarding in the end. We’re grateful to have met him.
On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?
We’d love to see more sun in Antwerp, but unfortunately that request is out of our control.
To you, what is the best way to spend a weekend in Antwerp? If you had to take out-of-towners to one place that truly symbolises the city, what would it be?
A Martin Margiela exhibition about his time at Hermès is coming up at MoMu. A great opportunity to take the time to head to Antwerp. During your visit you should take the time to see the harbour area, Het Eilandje and Linkeroever.
A local legend, neighbourhood anecdote or urban myth?
Our first fashion job in Antwerp was at Dries Van Noten’s studio. He called us up himself one day, two weeks after we graduated, to offer us a job. We couldn’t believe it and thought a friend was playing a joke on us. We nearly hung up the phone, but fortunately the person on the other side of the line repeatedly assured us who he was. It became a running gag in the office afterwards.capara.be Photography Joke De Wilde