From the extravagant black suit to the elegant black dress
What is avant-garde in fashion? To define the term, we must first know where it comes from, namely from the French and there from the military context.
Avant-garde refers to the unit that goes ahead of a troop in combat. Those who are at the very front are the avant-garde. They are the fearless and the brave, those who cross borders and take risks.
In fashion, it's similar. Avant-garde represents designers and wearers who are daring, think unconventionally, act radically, and love to express themselves creatively and artistically. These are those who provoke with joy and often surprise themselves in the process. They stand against the norm, let themselves be guided by visions, and don't confine themselves to gender categories.
They love to shape themselves, appreciate the concept of deconstruction, and enjoy experimenting. They prefer to ask questions rather than provide answers.
The same goes for their clothing. It's important to them to be individual. Unique. Occasionally, even radical.
Where is avant-garde in fashion?
Avant-garde fashion is found in many cultures, but some stand out. There are the Japanese with labels and designers like Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto, the "godfather of black avant-garde," and Issey Miyake.
Then there are the Belgians with Walter van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, and Marina Yee. A group of Flemish designers, also known as the Antwerp Six. The new Belgian wave.
In the Netherlands, there is Iris Van Herpen, whose creations offer "both organic and futuristic sculptural effects with striking visual impact."
England has Gareth Pugh. The London fashion designer plays with volume and shape and works with lacquer, leather, and plastic. For some, his creations are performance art.
In the US, Rick Owens surprises and shocks with fashion that is described as dark and moody. He himself is considered the prince of darkness, which says it all.
Hussein Chalayan, the British fashion designer of Turkish-Cypriot origin, is another avant-gardist in fashion. For his final project, he buried clothes in the ground and presented them dirty some days later to make the process of rotting visible. And then there are a few others that one comes across when one has fallen in love with the topic.
Eigensinnig wien has been part of it for ten years now. Here you will find all black outfits for men.
How are eigensinnig's avant-garde clothes?
Our fashion cannot be grasped, it is always a bit elusive and defies an exact description with words. However, we can still approach it, and we will now try to do so.
In the beginning was the idea.
Above all, we are inspired by philosophy, art, culture, and music. Therefore, the eigensinnig creations bear the names of great thinkers, philosophers, artists, and musicians. We design them in our own studio above the showroom.
They are personal designs by Toni Woldrich, the eigensinnig head from the beginning. They are manufactured in a small, owner-managed factory in Slovenia. They are rare pieces.
The eigensinnig garments are created in an experimental processes. We give priority to the process over the product because we know that one has to engage with it. And that this engagement can lead to unexpected results, with which we sometimes even surprise ourselves.
We create and discard, we deconstruct and reassemble. This is the eternal cycle of creation.
We work with various styles and often allow ourselves to be influenced by other cultures. We are particularly fond of Japanese design. In Japan, work is carried out with such care and precision that it's a delight.
The Wabi-Sabi concept, which originates from Japan, is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for us: "Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry." (Leonard Koren)
Visionary, unconventional, and provocative are values and words that guide us. Courageous, creative, and experimental are others. We never stand still. We are always one step ahead of the Zeitgeist and prefer to think two steps ahead.
For us, there isn't just one 'Eigensinn' (i.e. ‘obstinacy’). Every person has unique elements that they can express accordingly.
We value the unique, unconventional presentation of collections in our fashion store in Vienna. We see our showroom as a fashion gallery. There, every garment hangs individually from the ceiling of the high vault. Each piece, a kind of artwork.
Our vision is to make the most distinctive qualities of people visible. This is what Eigensinnig has stood for for more than a decade. Our expertise in avant-garde fashion from Austria is well developed.
That's why we have been awarded several times, including the "Men's Fashion Austria" Award 2022 from Shopping Guide Austria. We manufacture wearable avant-garde clothes made in Austria for many different occasions and also in plus size. Tailor-made products in our own tailoring are also possible with us.
“Style knows no age.” – Iris Apfel
"Style also knows no body shape." - eigensinnig wien
What if not black in avant-garde fashion?
Much has been said about black in fashion, some of it is pure poetry. The famous Japanese avant-garde fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto composed a kind of love letter to the darkest of all colors: "Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy - but mysterious... Black can swallow light or make things look sharp. But above all, black says: I don't bother you - don't bother me!" His fellow countryman, designer Tatsuro Horikawa from Tokyo, associates black with "pure tranquility and spiritual power."
Black doesn't bang, it's quiet. It draws attention to the silhouette, the details, the fabric. It leaves room for interpretation and personal thoughts. It blurs gender boundaries, plays with the senses.
Those who wear black can charge the worn garment with their own energy. This makes it as individual as nothing else.
It is pure understatement. It is sophisticated, brave, timeless. What else should be the color of the avant-garde, if not black?
Read our article "Black women's fashion for independent characters" here .
Black in the History of Fashion
Black has always been in fashion and probably always will be. In the past, black was a symbol of wealth and power.
In ancient times, fabrics were dyed black with gall nuts. They contained oak gall extract with a high tanning content, which allowed the darkest of all colors to be produced in slow handiwork. This type of dyeing was elaborate and expensive.
Those who wore black said: I can afford it. It was a statement.
Also in the 15th and 16th centuries, black clothing had symbolic power. The bourgeoisie distinguished themselves from the Landsknechte by dressing in black. The Landsknechte were mercenaries whose clothing was patched together from looted clothes and was therefore colorful. Anyone wearing black was certainly not a simple Landsknecht.
In the 19th century, the Englishman George Bryan Brummell came into play. He is considered the first dandy, a bon vivant and style icon. Allegedly, he needed five hours a day to dress.
He supposedly polished his boots with champagne. It sounds decadent, and it probably is. Nevertheless, he favored understatement in fashion. And he loved to wear black suits.
After the first World War, a black wardrobe was a sign of mourning. Women whose husbands had fallen wore black to illustrate their widow status.
By doing so, they also simultaneously stated that they were once married and therefore sexually experienced. That alone was enough to associate black with a sinful lifestyle. Thus, the term "femme fatale" was established.
And then, of course, there is Coco Chanel, whose "Little Black Dress" revolutionized the fashion world in 1926. A slim cut, elegant, black dress that became a symbol for a new and modern, simultaneously androgynous and glamorous type of woman. Among others, it was embodied by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," who combined the little black dress with a large hat, pearl earrings, and a cigarette holder.
"This simple dress will become a kind of uniform for all women of taste," Coco Chanel prophesied at the time. She should be proven right.
Black, black, black is my favorite color
Not only Audrey Hepburn is considered an icon for fashion in black. Think of Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck sweater by Issey Miyake, of which he owned several copies. There probably isn't an iPhone presentation he didn't conduct in his uniform.
There is hardly a photo where he is not wearing black. If it wasn't his favorite piece by Issey Miyake, it was a black shirt or T-shirt. All black, all the time.
Johnny Cash even dedicated a song to the non-color. In "Man in Black" he explains his penchant for black clothing: "I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town, I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, But is there because he's a victim of the times.” His black is one of protest, one that he dedicated to the poor and the prisoners, the outsiders of society.“
Andy Warhol, the founder of pop art, is another man in black. He draped himself in black to reflect his status as an avant-garde artist. His art was often colorful, the opposite. But there is also a Marilyn in black and gray from him.
Speaking of art: In 2016, the Indian-British artist Anish Kapoor "bought" the blackest black in the world, or rather the exclusive artistic rights to this Vantablack. It is a black that is mainly used in a military context, from which the term avant-garde also originates. The color is so dark that it makes it impossible to recognize contours and makes objects appear two-dimensional.
A meter-deep hole then appears like a surface that one believes one can enter. Anish Kapoor presented such a hole in an exhibition.
And a visitor fell into it. Black absorbs light, and it leads to illusions. In this case, one can interpret black in the Goethean sense as the non-color of darkness, which the eye perceives as a lack.
In 2018, black played a pivotal role at the Golden Globes. The stars wrapped themselves in black to draw attention to the sexual harassment of women in the film industry following the #MeToo campaign. Angelina Jolie, Emma Stone, Kim Basinger, and countless others participated, including men. Here too, black served as a symbol of protest.
Read our essay "Black - A tribute to the darkest of all colors" here.
Why do architects wear black?
This question was also posed by Cordula Rau, herself an architect and the author of the book "Why do architects wear black?" One answer is not to distract from the work. Another, to avoid making a mistake.
A third reason is, simply, because that's the way it is. There are many answers, but none are absolute. This non-absolute probably applies to other professions as well, such as artists, creatives, or intellectuals. They refrain from wearing colorful clothing.
Much like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir did in the smoky Parisian establishments of the 1930s. For musicians, on the other hand, it is sometimes a commitment to darkness, just think of death metal. And then there are the managers, executives, and people in the finance industry, for whom black, plain clothing likely represents a kind of uniform.
Although, who knows for sure? Black always remains somewhat of a mystery. It cannot be measured or explained.
Discover black menswear here .
And what does black mean for 'eigensinnig'?
"Black is poetry without words." - eigensinnig wien
Our eigensinnig clothing is primarily black because we like how black stays in the background and gives precedence to the design, the shape, the fabric, and the wearers. After you, please!
It is black because black is timeless and does not reflect the zeitgeist. The zeitgeist is nothing but tomorrow's past. And we are those who always look forward. One step forward, please!
Black is a statement for us. Even if you don't reveal much about yourself, you do at least that. It says that you don't want to show off, and yet you do just that.
Black is sometimes mysterious. It hints at the shadows hidden within us, and brings them out from the subconscious. Step forward, please!
We like that black is universal, that it suits everyone and yet dresses everyone differently. Black knows no season and fits all occasions. It always dresses everyone, everywhere. Black always works.
Black is simple and restrained, it is subtle and often an expression of minimalism. Then it asks: where is the essence?
But black is also noble and extravagant. The epitome of elegance. What else?
It stands for self-confidence, calmness, and serenity, but it can also be an expression of rebellion and protest. Then it says, in a certain tone: No.
Black can therefore create boundaries, offer protection.
When is black? Black has no time. Time is not a category for black, it is timeless. It is eternity.
Discover women's fashion in black here .