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Fashion October, 16 2009

Selectism Q&A | APC’s Jean Touitou

As a brand, APC needs little introduction. Simplicity rules in the paired down offerings, all of which are geared toward essential wardrobe needs. The man behind APC is Tunisian-born designer Jean Touitou. Like his garments, Jean’s thoughts about the garment industry are direct and to the point. With refreshing honesty, Touitou took time to answer a few of our questions about APC and the state of the field in general.

Read the interview after the jump.

SL: APC has developed quite a reputation for basics. What are, in your eyes, essential items in every man’s wardrobe?

JT: Good underwear (jersey trunks, black cotton socks, white tubular t-shirts), a few jeans, a few slim chinos in all materials, striped shirts, two jackets, one parka, one raincoat, knitted ties, desert boots in a few colors. And a good pedicure, especially in the winter.

SL: In designing simple, everyday items what are the core challenges?

JT: Fit, fit, fit.

SL: In previous interviews you’ve mentioned differing body types across the globe. Is that a concern?

JT: Huge everyday concern, almost no solutions… when you sell garments to the extremes of body type (Swedish people and Japanese people).

SL:How broad do you aim as far as appeal for the garments?

JT: Sometimes you make cruel choices, otherwise just about nothing gets done.

SL: You’ve also previously made mention of being bored by garments that are supremely simple. Perhaps not bored, but not particularly excited. Is there a way to give the basic garment some flare? Clearly, the average consumer doesn’t often pick out minute detail.

JT: Boredom comes from repetition. I tend not to repeat myself. I do not care if it doesn’t show that much. I just don’t want to get bored, so I changes things slightly. I try to send an invisible, but loud and clear message, through design. Even if I know that the average customer does not know the amount of energy spent to do something that looks simple, I do not care. I am not here to show how hard I work.

What’s boring is that the industry is falling apart. And, it’s a huge issue to find decent fabrics.

SL: Elaborate a bit on the difficulty in sourcing fabrics.

JT: Bad taste is everywhere, and that includes in fabric weavers.

SL: In America, certainly, there has been renewed interest in the historic mills.

JT: That renewed interest is only theoretical. All factories closed down. I know for a fact. I kept trying to buy chambray in the USA, and it’s not possible.

SL: Do you think it possible to turn trend and interest into new production?

JT: No.

SL: Do you see the fall continuing?

JT: Yes, sorry not my fault, but down it’s going!

SL: As a designer, what roll do you have in reviving elements within the industry that have suffered in recent times?

JT: Keep the factory going. We invested in a small weaving plant in France that does all our shirting fabric. Exclusively, of course.

SL: Where do you look for inspiration?

JT: Airport, while cooking, literature, real old people looks, real young people looks.

Highsnobiety