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PEOPLEText: Jeremy Tai

You were by a tailor, when was this?

That was ten years ago when I was 17. I quit school and had a chance through a friend to do a tailor apprenticeship. I took the offer right away and was there for 1 and a half years before I quit and decided I wanted to study fashion design, but that didn’t work out.

It wasn’t your thing?

Yeah, there was too much theory.

You were a lot further than the other students, correct?

Yeah, from my handwork skills, but also from ideas I wanted to go in a different direction. It’s an advantage when you come from a different background, when you do not come from the same background as all of the others, and you can develop your own style. When you work for yourself instead of working with a hundred people together with the same influences and the same teachers, that’s why I left and started a bit with screen printing and wood working, everything in traditional handwork. I didn’t do too much with clothing, there was a few years break where I did not have any desire to do clothing. I was also quite young, when you’re 20 it’s hard to decide exactly what you would like to do. I was more into skating, smoking, and partying. One has to be quite disciplined to make clothing and want to achieve something. It’s a very difficult business, like all businesses. You have to really be into your work and not be doing it just as a hobby.

What was the key to get you back into making clothing?

I was busy with free art in some form and at sometime I became interested in clothing. Plus it’s easier to make money with making clothing than it is with art because everyone needs clothing.

Do you have any influences?

When I was 16, when I first realized I liked fashion, I saw a Gaultier fashion show on television, about 10 or 15 years ago Gaultier was really militant oriented. I was impressed because I thought that’s also a way with fashion. I was also really fascinated with Gaultier as a person. Later came Comme des Garçons because a friend that I lived with had a lot of money, this was about ten years ago. Every year he bought some Comme des Garçons and therefore I could always see the pieces and that was also a totally different thing in fashion, and was also a big influence.

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