Marius Op ’t Eynde, the Dutch-rooted Antwerp designer behind budding brand MariusPetrus, knows his way around the grindstone. After graduating from the Arnhem fashion academy ArtEZ (alums include Viktor & Rolf and Iris van Herpen), he landed a spot interning at the fabled Alexander McQueen menswear department as well as an internship with master Raf Simons. (Okay, slay me with this CV why don’t you.)
In 2012 he founded MariusPetrus and Dazed dubbed him a ‘menswear sensation’. After recently relocating to London, where he’s carefully plotting a (sustainable) future of growth for his namesake brand, Marius has just completely reshaped his online presence and is pumped and primed for what’s next.
What brought on the big move from Antwerp?
“It was a variety of reasons coming together at once; I wanted to live with my English girlfriend, focus more on my own projects and the new, exciting opportunities the big city brings.”
Your collections are known for their standout thematic prints and high-tech fabrics. What inspired this new black and white AW16 digital ‘check’?
“The AW16 collection was inspired by the luxury sportswear worn by hooligans in the early 80s, the clash of working class styles with high-end designer wear. The prints also reflect that, as one is an abstract variation on a snake print design and the other is a digital ‘check’ – which of course refers to the classic Burberry plaid.”
Did you personally take the photographs featured on the collection’s jumpers?
“Yes, the images seen on the long-sleeves are mine. I always use in-house artwork and imagery for everything that I create because I believe it adds to the identity and vision of the brand. This of course doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be open to collaborate with the right partner at the right time, as this could bring a different angle to the MariusPetrus aesthetic.”
Why is focusing on European and sustainable important to you? What’s your advice for other growing brands to incorporate sustainability in their production?
“I’ve always felt the drive to create the best possible product – and for me this goes beyond just working with high quality fabrics. There is such a great heritage and knowledge in Europe that is on the verge of disappearing in a lot of countries as the large brands are producing further and further away – it’s almost impossible to produce in Belgium nowadays. So if I can work in an easy, positive and responsible way fairly close to home, that is of course a winning situation for everybody – including the environment, as the EU has stricter rules than most other countries. My advice would be to educate yourself – ask around, read online – there are little things most brands can implement, which might not make a huge difference at first but if we all do it together it will make an impact. It involves all aspects of the business and there are a lot of companies that create responsible products without even talking about it – for them it’s just ‘normal’.”
Truth! What big lessons did you pick up working at McQueen and Raf Simons?
“It’s difficult to point out a specific subject. I think it opened my eyes to a certain mindset and way of designing and definitely made the brands very ‘real’, in the sense that you would never expect such amazing work to be done by such a small team. At McQueen I really picked up a thing or two about working with prints and luxury fabrics, at Raf it was fascinating to see how he works and how the collection comes to life.”
Who would you like to see wearing MariusPetrus? Who has been inspiring you?
“That’s a very difficult question, I don’t think I have a specific person in mind – as in I wouldn’t want to limit myself. I believe my best friend Lars, who has modeled for most of the collection shoots, is a good example of the young, good looking creative type I’d like to see in my designs. One of the most fulfilling moments for me is when you get an image from the other side of the world of someone looking great in one of your pieces.”
The MariusPetrus online store was just fully updated. What are you hyped for in the coming year and what’s next for the brand?
“Yes, we’ve just re-launched our web store, which is now stocked with great ‘made in Portugal’ pieces. Being in London provides new opportunities and challenges. We’re restructuring the brand at the moment, investigating new options for distribution and our business model since the fashion industry is at a time of serious change – which is challenging yet very exciting. I’ve also been nominated for the Global Denim Awards, which will take place on October 26th in Amsterdam. That’s something I’m very much looking forward to.”
I see some great judges in that awards panel, like the Art Comes First team. Congrats and good luck, Marius!
All images: AW16 collection courtesy of MariusPetrus