If, for a moment, we can dust off that well-worn adage that clothes make the man, then the designer Sebastiaan Pieter is always smart and never shabby. 'I like a certain formality in clothes,' he says. His approach is to consider both function and form in equal measure. 'I do think it is important to dress up, but that doesn't mean you have to look like you're going to an opera when you might just be going to work.'
A graduate of London College of Fashion's bespoke tailoring BA, Pieter set up his own label in 2013. Prior to this he interned at Jil Sander under Raf Simons and spent time at the venerable men's magazine Fantastic Man. Both encouraged his focus on clothes that reflect the needs of an active 21st century guy. For spring/summer 2016, this translates into pyjama-soft tracksuits, tailored reversible jackets and jumpsuits with curious two-way zips. Pieter's is a uniform that is sportif and sharp.
This is his fourth collection and his first with NewGen sponsorship. The label, with support from the British Fashion Council and Topman, has gone from being something that people could discover themselves to an altogether more public, more proficient, more powerful brand. 'You can't be the secret thing for a very long time because you want people to know about what you're doing. After all, you need people to buy it,' Pieter says. With that in mind, the designer continued his previous experiments with moving image, collaborating with photographer Devin Blair on a short film that places the collection into a more authentic context than the bombast of a presentation at London Collections Men. 'I think sometimes in that environment, the clothes feel very fashion. Everything is just read as some sort of fashion statement which of course serves a purpose,' he says, 'but the video grounds it. It suggests something that is a bit more real.'
For all of the label's subtle, seductive themes – garments pierced together with metal rings made in collaboration with jeweller Husam El Odeh, unexpected parts of the body revealed through cuts and slices – Pieter's overarching objective is remarkably chaste. 'I would just love to design for a guy who works in a bank,' he says. 'From spring/summer, I could put together an outfit that wouldn't invite too much shock if a guy wore it in an office tomorrow. People would just think, "oh, that's a nice suit" and move on!'