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Earlier this week, Migos' Offset stepped out in a monochrome ’fit that saw him crowned Paris Fashion Week's Drip King before things had even kicked off. (At least until Lucien Clarke turned up.) The look comprised a Louis Vuitton mink coat, Balenciaga turtleneck, piles of Eliantte ice, and pants designed by a label people have barely heard of: GUNTHER.
Crafted using a heavy wool fabric and boasting thick rope detailing around the waist, GUNTHER's crisp, oversized pants were the outfit's clear highlight. In an instant, the Parisian label was plucked out of obscurity and thrown into the limelight, right as the entire fashion world was descending on the French capital.
GUNTHER is the brainchild of Parsons School of Design alumnus Naomi Gunther, who had no clue that six months after graduating and returning home to launch her own menswear label, she'd be championed by the Migos man and have her work styled alongside that of Virgil Abloh.
We got in touch with the 23-year-old designer to discuss everything from Offset co-signs and admiring A$AP Rocky's style to what her brand stands for and what we can expect from her upcoming collection. Read on below.
How would you describe GUNTHER? Do you have a signature aesthetic?
GUNTHER is the meeting of old know-how and modern aesthetics, an authentic Parisian landscape, and a creative frenzy imported directly from New York.
The label builds a menswear wardrobe from revisited and modernized classics under an urban influence. Some pieces are grafted with street motifs, and [produced using] sophisticated, high-quality materials, delivering elegant streetwear with oversized cuts and original designs.
Can you tell us how the Offset hookup came about?
Interested by GUNTHER's first pieces, Offset's styling team contacted us a few days before he arrived in Paris [and asked us] to prepare outfits for him for Paris Fashion Week.
Among the pieces we offered them, our pants caught Offset's attention. The thick fabric, the faded effect, the almost industrial texture, and the thick rope at the waist had an effect on him and then on the press. These pants [were] designed as one of the very first GUNTHER prototypes. For us, they're an elegant and original streetwear model: street by its shape, elegant, refined, and original by its design.
Did you expect him to wear your designs?
We actually discovered Offset was wearing the pants on social media at the same time as everyone else. It was a surprise even for us. Then all the press blew up and we started to see the name of the brand everywhere.
Do you always play with heavy fabrics, textures, and rope detailing, or are these pants an exception?
Yes, I always play on textures. I take a lot of inspiration from Paris, my hometown. Everything inspires me: the streets, the sidewalks, the urban landscape, all typical of Paris. I try to do the same in my garments — mixing materials and creating prints out of pictures that I take every day.
Who are your main influences?
I'm inspired by art in general, mostly by surrealism, which reinterprets reality and creates its own world. It challenges language, communication, vision, and perception, which I tend to recreate with my design process. A visual artist who inspires me a lot is Jean-Michel Basquiat for his authenticity and uniqueness. He's very raw in his process and explores his identity through art.
As a designer, I'm really inspired by [Martin] Margiela. He has such huge creativity and knows how to make a statement out of anything. His creativity goes beyond clothing. A celebrity that dresses amazingly would be A$AP Rocky. Regarding the French touch, I love Vincent Cassel’s attitude.
You mentioned that you work with the community and aim for a sustainable production process. Can you tell us a little more about that?
The knitted pieces in my collection are all hand-made by Parisian retirees, women who live alone, sometimes just doing knitwear as a passion or for a living. Made in France, the brand also puts the environment at the center of its concerns. The use of bio or natural raw materials like wool, but also recycled or unsold materials and a small scale production to avoid waste, is the approach — one that wants to be as eco-responsible as possible.
What can we expect from your new collection?
The new collection is the continuity of what GUNTHER stands for. We are working with street motifs, heavy textures, rope details, fine materials and cuts, and original designs. This collection will explore Paris as a main source of inspiration.
When is your online store launching?
The online store should be out late February.