Kevin Azzopardi Is Bringing Conceptualism Back to Menswear

You might not guess it from the following eight words, but Oslo-based Australian men’s designer Kevin Azzopardi is something of a purist, some might say control freak. No fan of the current means of production, he isn’t comfortable with the idea of sending designs off to a factory and getting the finished product some time later, as if by magic — someone else’s magic.

He recently completed a trilogy of collections that explored the manufacturing process and the notion of creative control. He had his men’s pieces sent back from the factory in an unfinished state, which he and his team then completed. In so doing, Azzopardi reassumes responsibility and authorship of his garments.

For spring 2013, Azzopardi skipped the runways and tradeshows, instead meeting with buyers personally in their retail space. But rather than present the collection awkwardly from a suitcase, Azzopardi collaborated with Norwegian furniture designer Mads H Pålsrud on what he calls a Mobile Sales Unit, a wooden contraption wrapped in latex that folds out into a mini-stand. “A moment of pop-up bliss,” he says.

Here it is in a film made with Icelandic artist Erna Einarsdóttir…

For fall 2013, Azzopardi made another radical departure. Rather than design a collection of garments, he focused on shoes — only shoes. He created exactly two laces-heavy styles, a high-top and a regular low-top, made by the same manufacturers who produce sneakers for Lanvin and Balenciaga. Who says conceptualism is dead?