Julian Zigerli: the feel-good factor.

AuteurMawson, Emily
Fonction Business: made in switzerland

If ever there were a befitting scene in which to meet an internationally up-and-coming men's wear designer, an airport is surely it. And on a clear, frosty day in January, that is exactly where I meet Swiss Julian Zigerli. He is between trips to fashion weeks in Paris, where he flew in from the previous day, and New York, his destination after our interview.

In the two short years since he launched his label Julian Zigerli straight out of design school, the 28-year-old has produced five collections. They feature innovative fabrics, outlandish prints and quirky designs such as jacket-rucksack hybrids. They have not only seen him show at fashion weeks across the world, but have also seen him win the Swiss Federal Design Award 2012. And that is not to mention that he has already amassed 12 stockists in Europe and Asia. "Julian Zigerli belongs to a new generation of designers who don't see a problem with being Swiss," says textile designer and Swiss Federal Design Award judge Christoph Hefti. "He is not concerned by boundaries, geographically or creatively. He doesn't follow fashion rules and combines constructed design ideas with nonchalance."

So when a boyish chap dressed in a sweater and jeans approaches me in a cafe in Departures at Zurich Airport, he is not at all what I am expecting. The sweater is the antonym of the psychedelic-printed shirt he is sporting in the portrait I have seen; the shaggy blonde locks from the same photo too have been shorn off. The boy-band good looks and smile are there, though--the smile that has a touch of playful innocence.

Father and son

"My Dad's just getting us some coffees," he says, sitting down. Is this the father - the inspiration behind Zigerli's spring/summer 2013 collection 'My Daddy Was A Military Pilot'? Yes, that's him. I'm keen to learn more. Of course, a young Zigerli boasted in the playground about his father's job in the way that children do, but the exciting profession had never seemed relevant to his designs: "He has photos around his office, of Mirage planes and stuff, that have been there forever--but this one day, I walked in and I realised they were the perfect inspiration for my new collection."

Teaming up with German artist Fabian Fobbe to create textile prints that would represent a pilot's experience in the cockpit and the speed of an air craft, Zigerli conceived a collection where water and clouds meet Tom Cruise and Top Gun (1986), and where objects distorted by heat meet the...

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