Monday 19th July

| BY Paul Toner

10 Picks of Paris: Meet Botter’s Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh

After the global Covid-19 outbreak forced all menswear shows to be cancelled early last summer, a rescheduled and fully digitalised Paris Fashion Week Men’s, July 2020, was to be the guinea pig of what is now considered the new normal in our industry. Five days of solely URL fashions – where the kitchen table became the new front row and ticket-less shows democratised the catwalk – showcased the city’s menswear talent to an entirely new audience. Digital fashion week meant these designers were now operating on a global stage. The possibilities were limitless.

We’ve picked the Paris menswear designers who have taken virtual fashion in their stride, who have defied convention and used this state of flux to tear out pages from the rulebook and completely rewrite it. Each has made navigating this strange, on-screen fashion world we now reside in all that more exciting. Long live these digital shapeshifters.

When this Dutch couple and design duo aren’t holding down the fort as artistic directors of Nina Ricci, they’re concocting whimsical menswear with their label Botter. Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh founded the brand in 2017, after graduating from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, respectively, and a year later bagged the Grand Prize at the Festival d’Hyères, as well as an LVMH Prize nomination.

“Botter is really our soul. We translate our heritage, what we know from growing up, our feelings,” says Botter, who used the label’s vibrant first collections – insulated with exaggerated volumes and upcycled fabrics – to comment on the growing pollution in the Caribbean, where both designers have roots. 

Although Botter and Herrebrugh navigate their world with avant-garde takes on classic menswear tropes, they aren’t set on offering flashy escapism through Botter. “[The brand] is experiencing what is happening around the world,” Herrebrugh says. “It’s a reflection of what’s happening in society and being a voice for people who can’t speak for themselves.” 

Nowhere was this clearer than during the brand’s spot on the inaugural digital Paris Fashion Week Men’s, when the pair shared their thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement. “We are standing against racism, ignorance and a lack of empathy,” Lisi says. “We will overcome with our family, where nobody is left behind. A family we choose and that chooses us.” 

Tell us about your SS21 collection. 

Rushemy Botter: “The most challenging thing was the logistics. We really wanted to make a collection from emptying our stocks.”

Lisi Herrebrugh: “We really wanted to create a seasonless collection – collectables, pieces that you can wear three seasons later. We wanted to create a collection that you can really curate to your wardrobe and add our pieces to it.” 

What does home mean to you? 

LH: “Home is where our family and friends are.”

RB: “To be honest, over the past four years, I’ve learnt to feel at home in many places. I think us always being together also feels like being home.” 

What’s your take on digital fashion weeks? 

LH: “We loved the old-school mentality of experiencing it all physically – that’s how we were taught! For this collection, doing it in a digital way was a challenge, but it was really nice to include people who wouldn’t see a show normally. Digital doesn’t exclude anyone. Everybody could see it, even our neighbours!” 

RB: “It ended up being really good, because we were working with limited things and really making the most of it. That’s where we’re strongest.” 

Portrait by Pierrick Rocher. Taken from Issue 53 of 10 Men – NO PLACE, LIKE, HOME – order your copy here.