Raised in the suburbs of Paris, artist Seba Stolarczyk founded his label HOUSE OF BASE in 2013. Initially creating everything from one-off garments to full-blown collections, more recently, he’s been investing his time into a music project, which he says parallels his fashion activities. We had a catch up with Seba to discuss his SS22 collection and the ups and downs of being an artist in Berlin.
Œ: How would you describe your fashion approach?
Seba: My approach towards fashion stays pretty much grounded in youth culture. I like to reference and pay tribute to subcultures, times and aesthetics that made our generations. For a long time, HOUSE OF BASE has been an open canvas for experimentations, which grew through various mediums and non-conformist ways. It started with the idea of representing a different kind of youth – daring, unique and fierce, from all backgrounds, shapes, sizes and identities. It was for me very important from the start to create a space where those people could empower and liberate themselves by wearing crazy garments – co-existing together in this mix between real life and the music videos we grew up with.
Œ: Can you explain your creative process overall?
Seba: It all begins with the intention to oversize reality – to take an everyday silhouette and emphasise it into a statement look. Themes and directions change from collection to collection, even though the core of inspiration subsists – tainted with street styles, rooted in the suburbs of Paris where I grew up or in the cosmopolitan landscape of Berlin I observe every day.
Research through pictures, material, textures and details helps me conceptualise the connections I find between different worlds and cultures. Just like it happens in social circles or neighbourhoods, where people mix and co-exist, I like to bring that eclectic spirit into my collections.
Œ: What are your main influences/inspirations while creating?
Seba: Pop culture
Œ: How is it to evolve in the Berlin fashion scene? Can you identify any advantages or disadvantages?
Seba: Berlin is a place where I can find time and space to expand ideas. It feels great to focus and develop a project, contrary to Paris where the fashion scene is pretty much overwhelming. Concerning the fashion scene here, I do feel a bit like an outsider and still don’t know what’s waiting for me…
Œ: For your SS22 collection, you designed versatile and playful clothes. Could you explain the goal of this project?
Seba: With that project, I just wanted to reconnect with the roots of HOUSE OF BASE, go back to streetwear and try to bring something fun and different to the table. I just wanted every piece to make a statement, to feel cool and comfortable – a sort of post-pandemic celebration or something. Developing this collection was very organic and spontaneous and references many states of daily life. I wanted to keep that over the dreamy attitude mixed with some practical and neat details. It’s loose, catchy and the garments have lots of pockets to carry your whole life, just in case the end of the world strikes.
Œ: Aside from designing, you are also exploring the audiovisual sphere. Could you talk a bit about your skills and projects in this area?
Seba: I have been into music and videos for as far as I can remember, I have always been into writing and performing. As a child, I just wanted to be one of the spice girls, which I failed… However, this pandemic got me thinking like I had to put things out and be proud of them. Which I have done and this project has allowed me to collaborate with talented friends to bring that parallel universe to life.
So far, I’ve been able to release a few videos and songs. Alongside an EP titled RIP Daddy, a collection of tracks diving through experiences, love stories and fantasies, which dropped in June this year. It’s very interesting to create outside fashion, to create for yourself and not with anyone else in mind, also to keep things digital and interact under some sort of persona is very fun. I am very excited to present that project live at the Club Visage event in Paris on the 19th of February, feel free to come!
Œ: How did you manage to stay creative while facing this pandemic?
Seba: This pandemic allowed me to self reflect a lot, to take time and to push my creativity to another level. I tried my best every day and the voice within always reminded me that if I wasn’t doing it no one will, so I just had to do it and hopefully inspire someone to do so at the same time. That thought pushes me to keep going, thinking it might help, me or anybody else.
Œ: What is your opinion on the actual state of fashion? And on the state of our society overall?
Seba: This society has proven to me that no matter how hard you work things can still not work out. So I’m a bit pessimistic about where our world is going and how blinded we are regarding the leaders. The only hope I feel is when I create and escape for a while.
Regarding fashion, I feel the sense of hype replaced the state of art and to see how fast we consume images or products really gives the vibe of where we are at. The fashion scene is rooted in elitism and wealthy kids. And that’s kinda hard to digest at times.
That’s why I feel it is very important to switch off at times, especially young creatives, we need that time to stay true to our intentions. Be kinder to yourself. Take time and space. Fashion can be done with so many other purposes, it can be done to help people close to you. It’s not only about touching the whole world or being super popular or dressing Kylie Jenner. That is the dream we sell but deep down, think about all of that.
I sort of realised that my ultimate goal would be to expand my project and one day, to be able to transfer my knowledge and skills to people who can’t afford an education. Fuck being successful or being seen when you can just be helpful and useful with your art within your community. Sometimes the biggest achievements are not what it seems to be or what social media make us believe it is.
Fashion – House of Base
Photographer – Bernado Martins
Artistic Direction – Seba Stolarczyk, Bernado Martens and Aoife Adoleakue
Stylist – Aoife Adoleakue
Hair & Makeup – Nikolas Paroutis
Assistants – Daniii, Nomi Sladko and Lucian Prieto-Sanchez
Model – Ingrid
Location – Mojo Studios