We interviewed Guillaume Phiibert, founder and creative director of Filling Pieces following the launch of its capsule collection with Zalando.
Just a month ago, Filling Pieces & Zalando teamed up on a collaborative capsule that was a step closer to achieving the goal of Guillaume Philibert’s brand: to bridge the gap between cultures and communities. Inclusive and genderless, ‘You are invited’ is, in the designer’s words, “a collection that anyone can wear, regardless of how they identify themselves”. We wanted to talk to him about the launch, inclusivity in the fashion world and his brand Filling Pieces.
Highxtar (H) – In what way are you committed to inclusivity and diversity?
Guillaume Philibert (G.P) – I am committed to our brand and company. I am the son of immigrants of Surinamese descent, so growing up this was a big issue. Being around such different people in my youth, going to a Dutch school with a lot of white people, while being raised by Surinamese parents… This shaped me in a more open way about people and different cultures. This has carried over into the roots of the company and the brand. However, it is in that constant learning curve that we are able to express this concept from the design and marketing angles, to really celebrate and amplify it through everything we do, rather than capitalize on it.
(H) – What is the most special piece of the collection?
(G.P) – The most special piece is this gender and size inclusive corset, which shows a low cut style, but still offers a total look and feel. Although there are many garments that I love because they reflect the DNA of our brand. They are suitable for all genders and sizes, and also appeal to everyone.
(H) –Don’t you think that making inclusive and genderless clothing is a double-edged sword? I mean, it could be normalized but we still perceive it as a milestone.
(G.P) – I agree, it should be the norm, but it is a work in progress that we are happy to be a small part of. We’d like to see positive change in the world and society, so hopefully we won’t have to bring it up. But for now, there is a lot of work to be done. We must work together to create a better and more inclusive space.
(H) – Filling Pieces was born as the first footwear brand to bridge the gap between streetwear and high fashion. Have you updated the mission/goal over the years?
(G.P) – Yes, one of the first, I would say (we’d like to stay humble), but our mission hasn’t changed. The deepest roots of high-end fashion and streetwear were originated for different people. Our mission is to bring them closer together. Therefore, create a positive space where we can learn from each other and discover we have a lot in common.
(H) –Filling Pieces started as a shoe brand and then you started making clothes. When was the turning point?
(G.P) – The turning point was the moment when we felt that our design language was perfectly developed and could be translated to different categories. Also, since clothing has more visibility, we felt it was another tool to make a positive impact.
(H) –Youth, creativity and inclusiveness are three of the most defining aspects of the brand’s identity. What is it about these characteristics that inspire Filling Pieces?
(G.P) – I believe that diversity unites us as human beings, defines a person’s beliefs and values, which is nice because we can all learn from each other. I believe that everyone has something to contribute that we can learn from. Looking at different cultures, people and disciplines (related to art) gives us a lot of inspiration as a brand.
(H) –How does inclusivity in fashion affect you? Have you had any bad experiences in your life that have made you think more about it?
(G.P) – I grew up in a small town of white people, where I looked different, talked different and had a different upbringing, and it wasn’t always easy. However, I was raised to always turn negative experiences into something positive. That’s what I’d like to achieve with Filling Pieces. That way, next generation will be able to walk on paths that have already been paved. They will have references, as much as possible, they won’t have to face the same challenges.
(H) –You are a young team at Filling Pieces, how important is it to have young minds on a day-to-day or workday basis?
(G.P) – Very important, youth is the future and most of the time they have fresh ideas and points of view that should not be lost sight of. In my opinion, the combination of experienced and new ideas is the key to success.
(H) – What’s next for Filling Pieces?
(G.P) – Expanding the brand on a larger scale with our current experience and stock to reach more people and generate maximum positive impact.
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