We visited Etienne and Remco, founders of the innovative and graphic menswear label Ontour, in the city where it all started: Eindhoven. Read our interview to learn more about their approach to design, the best hotspots in Eindhoven and their key tip for a successful collaboration.
Hi Remco and Etienne. Could you tell us how you guys met?
We both studied product design at The Design Academy in Eindhoven. We became friends because we both had the same mutual interests in street culture, design and music.
Did you start collaborating in school?
After our graduation, we first went and did our own thing. We both worked for some big clients, but the urge to create and have more creative freedom eventually resulted in Ontour. The name Ontour actually comes from us venturing out on a new journey and starting our own adventure.
Could you tell us more about Ontour?
Our tagline ‘all about the journey’ sums it up quite well. Ontour is about adventure, discovery and the learning process that you will experience along the way. This mentality is also reflected in our product. We find it important to continuously ask questions during the design process. “Is this really the only way to design a shirt?” “Could we implement a sportive detail into a classic design?” “Would we be able to add a zipper on a spot you would normally not expect a zipper to be?” We like to ask questions that force us to do things a bit different.
The Bombay Jacket has a surprisingly popping color on the inside lining. It really grabs your attention when trying on the jacket for the first time.
We like to experiment with different styles, colors and prints that you would normally not expect to see together. Combining two colors, such as beige and peach, is definitely a good example of that. It creates this extra layer of surprise and discovery that matches our aesthetic.
How did studying product design influence the way you look at fashion?
It has changed the way we approach design. If we take Dutch Design as an example, you always see returning elements such as functionality and minimalism. However, it is those small interesting quirks that makes Dutch Design stand out. We believe that we handle the same approach.
Would you say that Eindhoven has also influenced the way you approach design?
Creatives in Eindhoven tend to have this classic workers attitude. You know, this kind of ‘work hard, never give up’ mentality. We also believe that Lidewij Edelkoort has had a big impact on how The Design Academy approaches design nowadays. Thinking about meaning and functionality have become very important. This has definitely influenced the way we design at Ontour.
What is your favorite spot in Eindhoven?
We are very charmed by the Strijp-S and Strijp-R area. Het Ketelhuis and Radio Royaal are both places that contain many fond memories. Overall, it is a very inspiring place that does not feel forced or fake. All these initiatives are founded by individuals who have passion for what they do. It makes the area feel very authentic.
What is your favorite Ontour design?
There are many designs we like, but we are in particular fond of the designs that are just a bit different. We created this jacket that is called the Coast. It is a bit of a hybrid between a shirt and a sports jacket because of the way we used the material. It is made from a cotton-nylon blend, but has the silhouette of one of those vintage stadium jackets. We removed the collar which resulted in an interesting mix of references. You can wear it both inside and outside.
Did you ever had a strong disagreement on a design? How did you solve it?
It is important to trust and to respect each others opinion. We definitely have our weekly discussions, but we also believe that these are healthy. And sometimes you also have to be able to compromise and say: “I trust you, let’s try it!”
Hutspot and Ontour have been working together for quite some time now. What is your best memory of our time together?
We love to see how both brands are growing and evolving. We have been part of Hutspot since the beginning and both brands have experienced many interesting developments. We share a strong connection and we developed a relationship that is more than just a professional one.
What is next for Ontour?
We would like to communicate our brand atmosphere in many different ways. We are not really interested in making our collections bigger, but are in stead looking for ways to extend the collection with other types of products. Oh, and a woman’s line. That would be cool!