In this week’s spotlight story we speak with 21y/o fashion designer Roy Michael Treur. With no formal training in design and only a few months of do-it-yourself experience designing clothing and accessories under his belt, the Amsterdam based designer has already gained a cult-like following for his ultra sleek and minimalistic aesthetic. We caught up with Roy to talk about his work and journey to this point.
Give our community an introduction of yourself and what you do...
RMT: My name is Roy Michael Treur and for now, I’m mostly a designer. I’m actually still very new to the game since I started designing in November and never went to fashion school or anything. So I’m still in the learning process. I made some samples in November and one of my friends was pushing me to post my designs on TikTok because it is the best platform for organic reach when you don’t have a following already, so he told me he thought my designs would go viral, I was a bit skeptical at first because I had never used TikTok and I didn’t really know about the reach that you could have. But then in December I finally decided to post my first video about a puffer vest and it went viral, so I started posting more designs and started posting them on Instagram as well and it all kinda took off from there. Now I’m working towards my first drop that will be coming in April if everything will go according to plan.
When did you initially become interested in fashion
RMT: I started buying my own clothes instead of my parents when I was 13 and after that, I slowly started to get into fashion. I really got into fashion when I was like 16 or maybe 17, at that moment I just wanted to differentiate myself through the way I dressed. It was also at that age that I started thinking about being a designer and having my own clothing line someday.
Recently, you shared a TikTok which highlighted the inspirations behind some of your designs, many of these sources are so brilliant and unconventional (ex. A jacket inspired by tires) Could you share more about the sources of your inspiration?
RMT: I try to get my inspiration from my surroundings, random things, objects and shapes. Or I will just start brainstorming about things that I have never seen in fashion but that could be really cool or functional. Because I really strive to create unique, functional and wearable designs. My goal is to combine fashion and functionality. I try not to look at other designers that much because I want to differentiate myself and I feel like if I look at other designers for inspiration I wouldn’t really differentiate myself, so that’s why I try to look at my surroundings, to find shapes, colours or textures to use for my designs.
Designs by: Roy Michael Treur
Tell us about your process when fabricating a piece?
RMT:Well, there are actually three ways that lead to how I come to a design. Most of the time an idea comes naturally to me when I’m not really thinking about it too hard, I actually get most of my ideas while I’m driving. But sometimes I will just start brainstorming to create a design that is a solution to something I struggle with personally in fashion like for example the backpack vest, I thought of that because I couldn’t wear a backpack over my puffer vest and I wanted to create a solution. The third way how I come to a design is when I’m at a fabric store and I see a fabric that I really like, often I can quickly see what kind of item the fabric would look good on. Then I will start brainstorming to fine-tune the idea and how it would be possible to create such a thing. After that, I would create a mock-up of the design in illustrator. Then I would meet up with my pattern maker and show her the design and what measurements I would like to use for the fit of the item, and then she would create the pattern in Gerber (a computer program). That takes her a few days to a week so during that time I will go to fabric stores to pick fabrics and materials for the item, and when everything is done I will go to my atelier with the design, the materials and the pattern and tell them how I want the item and they will sew it for me because I can’t sew. I work very closely with my pattern maker and my atelier, I would actually call them my mentors. I never went to fashion school or anything like that so they always help me out by teaching me the things I don’t know about producing an item or just general things in the fashion industry. I'm actually very lucky that I met them and that they actually want to help me by mentoring me.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
RMT:I’m on the road a lot, driving from fabric store to fabric store, to atelier, to fabric store, etc, etc. I’m just driving from place to place a lot, I try to meet up with other creatives as much as I can, often I’m creating content with my friends for Instagram or Tiktok and of course, I would be designing on my laptop
What are some of your design influences? - designers, trends, time periods, places. Past or present.
RMT:I would say Kanye and Ola Alabi (Cold Laundry) are a bit of an influence on the vibe and the minimalism of some of my items but I try not to look too much at other designers but more at my surroundings while designing. So most influence comes from random things that I have seen somewhere or from uniforms like UPS for example. I also like futurism a lot so some of my designs are influenced by a futuristic type of vibe, besides that, I’m really into coziness and puffiness. So the words I would use to describe the influence for my designs would be minimalistic, functional, puffy, cozy and futuristic.
Media by: Roy Michael Treur
What is your favourite part of the design process?
RMT:That’s really an easy question for me, I actually create all my designs to wear them myself because I want to wear clothes I really like 100%. I just happen to sell them too because at the end of the day I have to make some money to make a living right. So my favourite part is when I pick up my samples so I can wear them.
What's the biggest lesson you've learned so far as a creator?
RMT: Never trust fabric stores and manufacturers etc. Fabric stores often lie about the quality of their fabrics. Manufacturers often custom their prices to how much knowledge and money the consumer seems to have. Of course not all are like that, but most of them are from my experience.
For example, I was searching for a certain fabric for a long time, then I finally found it but the store only had like 30 meters left and that is really not a lot if you want to create items to sell. Normally you will buy 2 meters at first to create a sample and test the quality etc. Then when you approve you will buy the rest. But in this case, I was kind of desperate because I had searched for the fabric for so long and I was afraid someone else might buy it. So the store told me it was good quality and they never got any complaints about the fabric, so I believed them and bought it all. Turned out the quality was horrible after washing it 2 times, so the fabric was completely useless and I still have those 30 meters lying in my apartment today.
Another example of negotiating with the manufacturers, I made a deal with a manufacturer for a reasonable price for pants for the production, I had a rather complicated design. But I knew how to negotiate with the manufacturer because my mentors had taught me how to approach them and about the prices etc. Then someone I know went to the same manufacturer with a plain design for pants and they charged this person way more because this person didn’t really have the knowledge and they could tell so they increased the price. I also heard from one of my mentors that there was a professional football player who started a clothing brand that came to her some time ago and all ateliers charged him extraordinarily high prices because they knew he had a lot of money. So those are some things to watch out for when you’re starting a clothing line.
What can we expect from you next?
RMT:Right now I’m planning the shoot for my first drop and the production for the first drop is ongoing, the drop will be in April if everything will go according to plan. Besides, the second drop is also already being worked on. I’m working on a new brand with 2 others which we will announce soon and I’m planning a fashion show but I will have to see when that would be realistic for me. Might not be soon.