Julian Zigerli was born and raised in Switzerland and attended the Berlin University of the Arts. After graduating in 2010, he returned to his roots in Zurich to launch his eponymous label. Julian Zigerli stands for practical, smart and technically first class pieces with a sporty touch. Love, colour, humour and positivity are core to the brand’s ethos. The distinctive feature of this label is the way it unites extrovert prints and striking colours with comfort and wearability. Celebrated within the world of design since his debuts, Julian Zigerli has presented his collections around the globe, in cities such as Berlin, London, Milan, New York, Paris and Seoul. Ever since, he has been enjoying success both locally and internationally as well as being granted with multiple fashion awards.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Hello! I’m Julian Zigerli: A menswear designer based in Zürich, born and raised as a half Italian. And I have recently just turned 31! I studied at the Berlin University of the Arts, and after graduation I have returned back to Zürich to launch my own menswear line, Julian Zigerli. The brand is now four years old and we have recently launched a unisex diffusion line “All Time Favorite” back in January. We have shown three times in Milan Fashion Week, and it has been going well for us since. But of course there is always room for improvement.
Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? I go through all the newspaper websites daily but most visited websites will probably be Tumblr and Facebook for me, ha-ha! During the show seasons, I also check out style.com.
How has living in Zürich affected your work? It has definitely inspired me in a positive way being surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of Switzerland. It’s just so clean and pure. Upon returning to Zürich after my studies, I was uncertain whether I would stay here permanently. But I ended up really loving here! My first ever collection was very much inspired by my serene surroundings and I believe my feeling towards the city has not changed ever since.
Switzerland is also renowned for their advance technology in fabrics. It really helps being in close reach to all the fantastic Swiss fabric mills. It constantly inspires me with new ideas for my collections.
What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Right now it would definitely be my recent trip to Japan. I had the great pleasure to travel around with my Japanese friend and explore various cities like Okinawa, Kyoto, Osaka and Fujiyama.
For me, Japan has always been a place packed with visual excitement and surprises, from incredible garment designs, to a funny pocket detail with a tongue sticking out. Throughout the stay, I have taken so many amazing photographs and intricate garment details. I am now packed with inspiration for my upcoming collection.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? Currently, we are putting some final touches to a project for Absolute Vodka in Germany. There is also a really exciting collaboration coming up this summer, which I am not supposed to say much about yet. But it will involve a new capsule collection for a renowned brand so Hush Hush! Do keep an eye out for it this summer.
And we’ve just released our Spring-Summer 15 Campaign video, a playful short film featuring Daniel Pitout from the Canadian Punk band Eating Out. An absolute must-see!
If you were a drink what drink would you be? Vodka and Red Bull, because I am always full of energy.
What designers are you interested in right now? It changes from season to season, but I tend to look at a lot of young designers that are less known in general. In addition, I do adore Prada as well as Loewe when JW Anderson joined, but this really depends on the season.
What past trends in fashion should never come back? I think we are at a time where individuality is very much embraced by the society, trends are not as important as before any more. However, if I had to pick one I would say the non-breathable polyester fabric that was popular in the 70s. It really looked awfully uncomfortable and I can’t imagine how bad it would smell! Unlike the polyester that I used for the collection is always really functional, breathable, and specifically tailored for the purpose of sportswear.
Tell us about your work process and how it develops. During my initial research process, I usually refer to my substantial library of pictures and images. Being a very visual person myself, I am constantly collecting pictures and detail of fabrics and interesting things I see around me. Once I have collated them all, I would use them to form a basis towards my research.
After finalizing all the designs on paper, I usually move onto developing the prints, fabrics and colour palette simultaneously. This can ensure that the above three elements evolve seamlessly to compliment with each design.
In terms of the print process, I usually use two different methods of prints: the placement print (only printed on certain areas of the garment) and the all-over print.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? Effortless designs that bring a big smile on people’s faces.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be? Ha-Ha, this is impossible to narrow down! But right now, I would say my flat. I have recently moved into a new apartment three months ago on the 22nd floor with a spectacular view overlooking the mountain and lakes. Sadly I’m never home enough to enjoy this due to my busy schedule, hence why I would appreciate every opportunity I get to spend time at home.
What were you like in high school? I was quite small and weedy actually, but always playful and very sociable. High school ended when I was 16, and after that I went to London on my own to start an internship for two months. It certainly felt like the world was my oyster back then.
Favorite article of clothing? I love my grey mesh Nike sweatpants, they’re just so comfortable!
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Luckily, there is no negative reaction so far. And the best reaction: it would definitely be the invitation by Giorgio Armani to show in Milan. I was quite shocked but it was certainly a huge career step for me. And I later found out that I was the first Swiss menswear designer to show in Milan. After three years of hard work prior to his invitation, it did feel good to have that type of recognition. It was an incredible experience!