Can you describe what you do?
We both run CXL STILL, a small fashion label that deliberately works under the radar. We follow our own pace. Our offices are in the neighbourhood behind the central station in Borgerhout. We don’t really have a specific routine when it comes to CXL STILL, since we both work full time for another fashion brand, but we meet up once a week to discuss our projects and strategies. We actually walk around in the city and head to bars to brainstorm, meaning that we are heavily influenced by the city around us. We work with two nice ladies who do our patterns and with a small company in Portugal who produce our collections (or WAVES as we call them). We don’t really feel close to a particular scene, but we have a lot of close and likeminded friends who all have highly creative jobs in fashion and arts.
How do you perceive Antwerp?
First of all, Antwerp is our home. It’s a melting pot of creativity and different cultures where we belong. Despite it being a relatively small city, you can find everything you need here, from fashion to new music to amazing food, we have it all.
What would you say is Antwerp’s main appeal for creatives and gives the city its edge?
The big community of creatives is already a big motivation for other creatives to come to Antwerp. And because the city already has a rich history in fashion and art, it tends to attract likeminded people. But nothing is too corporate or in your face, so there is a good balance between “underground” and “established”, giving Antwerp a certain edge.
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 has shaped us both in many ways. For Tom, it was studying at the Royal Academy where he followed the fashion course. This gave him a push in his career in fashion and now works as a designer and art director for a big fashion brand. Barbara moved to Antwerp to work as a business analyst and to escape her hometown, and ended up in the same company as Tom. That’s how CXL STILL was born.
On a personal level, what would you like to see more of in the city?
In our opinion, Antwerp would flourish even more if there’d be more open-mindedness. We could push the city’s multicultural vibe even further.
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?
Grab some food in the amazing places Antwerp has to offer, like Carrotterie 2000, Ko’ozi, Camino, Ni Shifu… and we could go on. Having a picnic on Linkeroever when the weather is right and enjoy the view. Go to Marta for some good honest food shopping, and go out in Club Vaag or Bagger. We think that the view from Linkeroever is a great way to show people what Antwerp is all about: the view of the harbour, the city centre and the MAS all give a good overview of the eclecticism of the city.cxlstill.com Photography Joke De Wilde