Gerrit Jacob is undeniably seizing his moment and running with it. After recently being crowned winner of Highsnobiety’s BERLIN, BERLIN prize, the 29-year-old German designer is wasting no time in showcasing his eponymous label’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection.
Fresh off the back of a debut release earlier this year, the designer – who completed an MA at Central Saint Martins back in 2019, shortly before a two-year stint working for Gucci – has enjoyed a successful first year at the helm, garnering plaudits from the likes of Rosalía, Dua Lipa and Burna Boy along the way.
Describing his brand in a sentence as “Crazy, sexy, cool,” Jacob’s work has become renowned for its colorful and vibrant airbrush effects, as well as the unique way he manages to embrace and find beauty in tackiness.
“The brand is mostly centred around explorations of notions of class-based tastes, German kitsch, and the more awkward aspects of coming-of-age,” Jacobs tells Highsnobiety.
“Having always been a bit of a drawing nerd, my illustrations often play a big part too, the most important medium being airbrushing,” he continues. “In my hometown of Hamburg the tri-annual fun fair is a big event that dates back to the 11th century, and its bright colors and airbrushed stalls inspire my work until this day.”
“To me the aesthetics of funfairs are often derided as kitsch or low-class, but I see them as an admirable visual art, whose colors and motifs are deeply entrenched in its history.”
While a lot of Jacob's work points towards German working class history, his SS23 collection – titled “Raised by Wolves” – draws particular inspiration from American visual artist Jim Goldberg and his documentation of the same name, which looks at homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco throughout the eighties and nineties.
“Raised by Wolves is one of my favorite pieces of art of any discipline,” Jacobs explains. “It’s a harrowing account of homelessness and youth utilizing a multitude of media, spanning photography, handwritten notes and collage.
“Not only that, but the term is derogatory referring to people acting without manners, a charge hurled at me many times,” he confessed. “I was interested in reclaiming that socially inept notion of roughness while combining it with a distinctively kitsch German working-class aesthetic.”
While this might only be Jacobs’ second collection, the signature airbrushed styles have extended beyond solely leather this time around, having been realised in lustrous Japanese satin, denim, and jersey for SS23, too.
There’s also particular attention paid to sustainability this season, with jackets made entirely from deadstock leather, while denim and jersey pieces are cotton & GOTS certified.
“A lot of time and research has gone into finding the best fabric printers available for each of the fabrics used,” says Jacobs.
“Beause color is absolutely essential in my storytelling, I think it’s important to only work with the best. There's a fine line to the work I do, which means it could quickly end up on the wrong side of things!”