Antonin Tron takes home the ANDAM first collection prize this year with his nascent brand Atlein. After years spent learning the fashion ropes at Balenciaga the designer has finally set out on his own in hopes of becoming the next Rick Owens or Dries van Noten.
It’s always a good sign when a collection makes you do a double take. That is what happened the first time I saw the impressive debut collection from Antonin Tron. And I am not the only one who has spotting the talented young Frenchman and his brand called Atlein. Tron was just awarded the ANDAM first collection prize, scooping a grant of 90,000€ to develop his label. American Vogue has an exclusive deal in place to be the first to publish a print article on the brand in its July issue. And Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter and Ikram will all be carrying his line next season.
It’s quite an auspicious start for a brand that is named after a made up place that the designer conjured up in his head. “I didn’t want it to be named after me. I wanted the brand to be a place, a destination, that people could come to and make their own,” explained Tron about his brand’s moniker.
So what sort of clothing will women be wearing if they visit Atlein? Jersey.
Atlein collection automne-hiver 2016
The entire collection is crafted exclusively from the fabric and Tron has found a way to make the material into sporty yet sensual pieces that have a core essence of femininity thanks to the inherent movement he has given his garments. And his choice to only create pieces out of jersey was very much an intentional one. “I like to work with a lot of restrictions, because you have to be very essential. You can’t fuss around. You have to focus on one thing and make it the best,” he said.
The designer, who name check the work of Jeam Muir as an inspiration for his collection, is also an avid outdoorsman. He spends his free time surfing but also likes to box and has done a bit of endurance horseback riding in the past. This connection to the physical plane can really be felt in Tron’s body of work. The structure of the pieces and how they conform to the body translate a tactile sensuality that immediately engages with those who wear it.
« I like to work with a lot of restrictions, because you have to be very essential. You can’t fuss around. You have to focus on one thing and make it the best. »
The oldest of three brothers, Tron did not dream of being a designer from a very young age but became fascinated by the creative medium towards the tail end of his scholastic life. He earned a degree at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp Belgium and then went on to work with some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. He also worked at Balenciaga long enough to have learned the fashion ropes from Nicolas Ghesquière, Alexander Wang and Demna Gvasalia (who he still freelances for).
“With Nicolas it was all about creativity. I learned that research is so important. You have to push something really far and then take it and make it into something new. With Alexander it was all about being efficient in the way you work and now with Demna, who I know from school, it’s just wonderful to support him,” said Tron.
Atlein collection automne-hiver 2016
The label, which is completely self-financed, might be a current fashion darling but Tron isn’t interested in being a flash in the pan or trying to please everyone. He wants to emulate the career trajectory of designers like Rick Owens and Dries Van Noten, who have been able to remain independent and who have honed their talents in one specific area of fashion. But it’s not just their fashion success that Tron admires. It’s also how they have been able to maintain a clear work/life balance that appeals to him.
“I want to establish something that will last for a long time and that will stick to the values that I believe in like authenticity and a sense of quality,” said Tron. “It’s ok if everybody doesn’t like my brand. There are so many brands out there, the fashion system is so diverse, there is something for everyone. But that is also why when you do one thing you really need to do it well,” he added.
This slow and steady approach should serve Tron well. He looks to be approaching his new found success with the same clear eyed determination and commitment that has served him so well in the past with his love of sports. And when he says that the best piece of advice he ever got was “don’t follow any advice,” you know instantly that this is a designer who is made from steely stuff indeed.
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