This Canadian Designer Combines Video Games with Traditional Tailoring
The references may be subtle but if you look closely at Andrew Szewczyk’s work, you’ll spot some hidden gems.
“I think the best way to use inspiration is to bury it,” says Toronto-based designer Andrew Szewczyk. “I use a lot of skateboarding and video game references [in my work], but they aren’t obvious.” And indeed, they aren’t. Take a quick scroll through Szewczyk’s Instagram page, where he’s posted images of his Fall 2022 collection, and words like “tailoring” and “sculptural” will immediately come to mind. But that’s intentional. “I concentrate on the shape and line first, and then I add the inspiration afterwards.” Admitting his process is a little backwards, a closer look reveals that certain pockets are inspired by broken skateboards, and the shoulders were designed to evoke images of video game-esque armour. Whatever his approach, it’s clearly been working for Szewczyk.
Four years after launching his namesake label in 2018, the designer has become a rising star in the Canadian fashion scene. “I’ve been building stuff my whole life, and one day when I was working a retail job, it just clicked that I could have a career where I can create things on a daily basis and incorporate my hobbies into it.” Since then, the George Brown College grad has become a bit obsessive with his craft and has bought every book on sewing and tailoring that he can get his hands on and even took an additional pattern drafting course focused on Italian techniques. However, he’ll always be a skater boy through and through. “Skateboarding is doing the same thing repeatedly and failing one thousand times. And then, eventually, you get how it works. The same is true with sewing, so I want to learn everything I can from the inside out.”
Below, FASHION chatted with Andrew Szewczyk about his style, why he loves the colour black and everything that currently brings him joy.
How would you describe the style of your brand in three words?
Shoulders, shape and anxiety.
What is something about your brand that would surprise people?
For those who work in fashion, it’s probably no surprise…I’m just one person developing and creating the collections. I collaborate with lovely friends on the visuals, but for the moment, I am the sole person taking care of everything clothes.
How do you come up with the names of your collections?
Most of them come from song titles because I play music in my studio, so it’s always on in the background. My Spring 2022 collection, ‘All These Too, I Love,’ is a slight variation of a William Basinski song. But I’ve also referenced video games for my Fall 2022 collection ‘Scrappers,’ and then Fall 2021 ‘Backbone’ was a collection about my youth and skateboarding.
Is there a reason why you use so much black?
I love old black and white editorials because there’s a real emphasis on shape. And in terms of inspiration, I start with the silhouette and add the details afterwards. So [the black] is about mirroring that and seeing the form of the garment from far away.
What’s one piece that is especially meaningful to you from your Fall 2022 collection, and why?
Going into the photo shoot for the collection, I knew the cropped blazer with the metallic stud buttons would look cool, but I didn’t expect it to have as big of a visual impact as it did. The look encapsulated everything I love about making clothes and embodied what I strive to achieve as a designer.
What’s your top tip for wearing a suit?
Don’t be afraid to wear a suit in your everyday life; just wear whatever you want.
Favourite and least favourite trend this season?
Trying to adhere and keep up with trends can be exhausting, so I don’t necessarily follow them. But I love suits and seeing people’s different interpretations of them.
How would you describe Toronto’s style?
I mean, Toronto’s so big, so it’s a bit of a mishmash, but there’s definitely something happening style-wise in the city; it’s just too hard to describe. Some really cool people are documenting Toronto’s style on Instagram, like 416fits.
What are you watching or reading right now?
I’m rewatching Mindhunter because I love the colour palette of that show. And then most of the books I’m reading are pattern drafting or sewing technique books, which aren’t very exciting [laughs].