Philip, please could you introduce yourself and your brand.
I am Philip Rudjeanski: designer, craftsman and denim dude. In 2011, I founded BALAGANS as a platform for experimental denim projects, to create independently and inspire others.
Stitch by stitch, the Balagans clan has grown with other creatives who I’ve met through my passion for denim. We develop, sew and wash all of our denim designs in a backyard atelier in Hanover, Germany. By experimenting with premium denim, 3-D pattern making, washing and finishing techniques, we seek to learn new things by respecting the jeans culture and creating new impulses through our own rule-breaking design approach.
What does denim couture mean to you and how is that reflected in your brand?
Definitely the way in which the garments were crafted. I would say a traditional tailor creates garments which stand for perfection. For us, it is very important that we are always questioning the traditional craftsmanship and denim culture with every design we create.
Just imagine a tailor throws his broken scissors away; we collect and repair these in our own way and create our own craftsmanship. We constantly seek to produce unique creations in an experimental way, based on our values which tell an authentic story - our story.
Last year you had a great collaboration with Dr Martens, what was the most rewarding aspect?
I am very much honoured that we had the chance to cooperate with THE cult shoe brand and it’s definitely a huge milestone for Balagans. I really appreciate their full trust and the 100% creative freedom we had. It was so much fun to customise their 1461 model to create the «Prinz Herri».
As a backyard atelier, what are the perks to working from your backyard?
We are located in the Nordstadt, pretty close to the city centre of Hanover. It’s full of little cafés, restaurants, students and creatives. We really enjoy the atmosphere and the people around here. As soon as you enter the backyard you’ll get a factory spirit: smoky chimneys, brick walls, noisy transporters and coloured containers.
Our atelier is like a prototype, we change it almost every week depending on our mood. It looks like a creative chaos. I’m definitely messy and love to collect things and souvenirs from everywhere. We can be loud and work all night long, that was exactly what I was looking for.
The street is of great influence to your work, what stories does the latest collection have to tell?
There is no specific story. Every garment expresses a different question, idea, experiment or experience. Our design process is always very intuitive. Through questioning the jeans traditions we’re very much into finding new silhouettes and design details. We have an open door for everyone who wants to share their vision or visualise their ideas. The past months a lot of youngsters came by to learn the craftsmanship, therefore they automatically were a part of the making process. Their enthusiasm and free-spirited approach inspired us a lot during the design process. So I dedicated this collection to this younger generation that is creating their own little world – full of curiosity, energy and rebellion.
“The Festival Shirt! We constructed the Festival Shirt through 3-D draping to enforce a minimum waste technique. The shirt has a unisex, oversized fit with piped inside-out seams. Crafted from a jacquard woven premium cotton with an indigo dyed aztec pattern.”
In your opinion, what is the most iconic denim look? Who styled it best?
An iconic look to me is how you express your personality through your denim garments; how you wear, appreciate and care for them. I love to see how garments are customised by time with personal details to keep them alive. Like with patches of your daddy’s favourite rock band, holes from your adventures, granny’s embroidery and your handmade repair stitches.
A new year is upon us, could you tell us about any upcoming exciting projects planned for 2017?
As the jeans washing process and our experiments are always a surprise, we’re also very much excited about where our adventures will push us.