Interview with Band of Outsiders' Angelo Van Mol
XHIBITION x Band of Outsiders
Angelo Van Mol is a Belgian born designer who graduated from the Royal Academy of Antwerp in 2010. Angelo won numerous awards during and shortly after his studies. He was invited to showcase his work in cities such as Lagos, Berlin and Amsterdam.
In 2012, Angelo was hired by the menswear brand Oswald Boateng and began his career on Savile Row. During his role as Menswear Design Manager, Angelo acquired invaluable knowledge in tailoring that still highly influences his designs today.
In 2016, Angelo was named Creative Director of Band of Outsiders and has been leading the new London-based studio since.
With Band of Outsiders debuting at Xhibition in Spring 2019, along with a special BOO x Xhibition capsule collection, we took the opportunity to do a Q&A with Angelo.
X: Both you and Daniel, the other half of Band of Outsiders, have pretty serious, extensive and impressive training under your belts, as well as a handful of other creative projects outside of BOO. Let’s be honest, you have quite a bit on your plates---how do you juggle it all without sacrificing key brand elements? Both for Band of Outsiders & your eponymous label.
AVM: I have great teams supporting me which is key especially when working on different projects simultaneously.
It’s all about focus so the projects don’t feed on each other in a negative way.
If managed well they can even be beneficial to each other.
You received a Master’s from the Royal College of Fine Arts Antwerp, amongst some of the most influential, road-paving avant-garde designers to date (Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester & Walter Van Beirendonck, just to name a few)-- if you had to pick the most important learning that has allowed your career to catapult to where it is today, what would it be?
My bachelor year under Walter Van Beirendock was undoubtedly the most important one.
Walter had a way of questioning everything.
That way of thinking continuously pushed me outside my comfort zone and anything I thought I knew about fashion.
He taught me to see the difference between simple design and the idea for a design.
This lead me to understand the conceptual process of creating garments with an idea behind it.
Growing up in Belgium, now living and designing in London, I imagine there are aspects of home that you miss. Is there something you wish you could bring with you that you can’t find in London?
Belgium and London are so very different.
It’s really hard to compare them.
What I loved most about Belgium is the easy way of life.
Time moves considerably slower and you definitely have a better quality of life.
As a creative, I feel that Belgian culture forces you to be the purest form of yourself. It is hard to find a similar place with such freedom of creativity and expression.
Fashion out of Antwerp is entirely conceptual and consists of clear, narrow vision and design elements that are meant to stand on their own, have you found it difficult to adapt to the already established Band of Outsiders aesthetic?
I have always liked the aesthetic of Band of Outsiders in the past.
But what felt new and visionary 10 years ago is now something that one can find in global high street stores.
The biggest challenge was to offer something the consumer wants today while being true to the DNA of Band of Outsiders.
You took Band of Outsiders out of the brands home term and overseas to London. I know how important the idea of fostering communities and collaboration is to you both---any hints you can give us into future BOO collaborations?
I can reveal one collaboration that we have secured for SS20 and that we are extremely excited about.
We are working on a capsule with shoe brand AGE official from South Korea.
What’s your go-to 5am snack?
If I am still out and about at that time I’ll literally eat anything.
My best bet would probably be a greasy double-decker burger though.