Posted on 9 Jun By Visionarism

Interview w/ Leroy Niemel from Filling Pieces.

While in London, we sat down with Filling Pieces Brand manager Leroy Niemel, to discuss the brand’s latest apparel collection, as well as the future direction they want to take. Scroll down to read the full interview…

Where does the RTW (Ready-To-Wear) collection first stem from?

The Ready To Wear collection was based on the same theme as we had for footwear, from the collection called “Off The Grid”. It started all from exploration. Basically, it is a human desire to explore things they don’t know, and to do that, you had to gear up against the cold, the desert heat, and the jungle. It’s about letting people search for the unknown. And you can see that in the inspiration used in the colours featured in the collection, with different materials used in the outerwear. We wanted to incorporate the outdoor elements into the collection.

Will you be, or is there a plan to release an apparel collection with every shoe collection you launch?

For now, the drops are still separated. We’re going to have to see how that goes and based on how we grow, we will probably drop it together or separate.

Is this crossover a permanent move?

Yes. We have just started with the RTW, and we want to carry on developing it for the next few years. In 5 to 8 years, we would like it to grow it until it represents 40% of the business. We see a lot of potential in it. We would like the collections to be cohesive, so you can have the choice of having this outfit to go with this shoe, and be consistent.

We are used to seeing footwear brands collaborate with an apparel brand. Why didn’t you go down this route?

I think for us, we’ve always tried to do things in our own way and differently. We wouldn’t rule it out though.

With the success of the footwear and its unisex reach, do you have plans to do the same with RTW collection?

Definitely yes, if you take a look at some of the pieces, you can see that there is a crossover, especially with girls now wearing a lot of streetwear. Within our footwear line, we do have some styles that are only for women, but with our RTW we don’t. This might change…

Do you feel Guillaume’s architecture background has helped or played a part in the Filling Pieces brand?

100%. I know Guillaume very well. The way his studies influenced his vision on product and design has had a big impact on how the business has grown in terms of product and brand. The way architects work and how they look at products and functions had an influence on our collaboration with Barneys. The collection is called ‘Form follows function’.

We saw that the RTW collection was in Barneys NYC, how was it seeing the collection in such an iconic store?

Well, it was sick. Barneys is one of the most famous department stores in the world and for a small brand like us from Amsterdam, this stuff just doesn’t happen. It’s been 10 years, and it’s amazing to see the first RTW selection displayed in Barneys.

The Off The Grid collection is the latest from the footwear side, Please tell us more about it…

With the past few collections and going forward, you can see a connection. Off The Grid for us was a moment to reflect on where we want to go. The future? The past? There’s a clear path you see where we separate the collections between our signature styles like the mountain top and low top. These are easily recognisable Filling Pieces styles. It’s all about pushing our own boundaries every season.

We know that creatively, you like to push the boundaries. How do you find it trying to get a team together that shares that same passion?

It’s simple. We don’t always have the most experienced creatives; we find that experience can also limit your vision. So for example our head footwear designer right now, started with us straight from school. He’s from Copenhagen; and he started by sending images, sketches, then one day Guillaume invited him over to Amsterdam, and into the office for a few days. This was 2 and a half years ago, and now he’s our head of footwear design. He’s super talented and his skills are a very good addition to the team.

What can we expect to see from Filling pieces going forward?

A lot more… a lot more… We are really working hard on the RTW collection. Always innovating on the footwear side. Next year for the 10thyear anniversary, we have some very exciting projects and of course we are looking at the possibilities for opening our own retail stores. We are also looking to expand the head office space. The growth we are looking at is crazy and it’s incredible to even have this head office located where it is, right on the canal where the banks and lawyers were known to have their offices, for a young brand like Filling Pieces its amazing. Expect a lot more from us…

All images by Cassandre Flahaut (@cs.dr) for Visionarism.