Spanning from New York to London, Berlin and Hong Kong, 20.21 is a global design collective set on creating engaging pieces with a signature style. Offering a range of sleekly-designed eyewear, the label blends design, art, fashion and more for a retro-futuristic effect. 20.21 currently offers seven gender-neutral styles, with each available in four colourways.
To hear more about the brand and to see what they have coming next, Schön! asked the label’s creative team a few questions.
Introduce us to 20.21. What inspired you to launch the brand?
We like to think of 20.21 as more than simply a designer brand; [it’s] a creative space where we can experiment where we strive to:
- Design and produce intemporal, innovative and youthful products that have the potential to become classic pieces.
- Create and cultivate a brand image that resonates with millennials and Gen Z, a brand where they can feel connected.
- Reflect high design standards. Eyewear is an interesting, yet challenging, category. As an accessory it’s relatively affordable and gives expression to individuality. As a product, it tells a story that addresses emotions and vulnerabilities while promoting a feeling of safety. So even though eyewear is budget friendly, we believe the design standards should be particularly high.
- Reduce creative and material waste. As a team we all have been lucky enough to work with many talented artists and designers in the fashion industry. Over the years, we have witnessed the rise and fall of many brands and trends, many not lasting longer than a season. It is heartbreaking to observe so much waste because of a belief that neither ideas nor product can hold their value. Our design principle is for our creations to hold value, not only from an aesthetic, but also from social and environmental perspectives.
There’s a retro-futurist aesthetic throughout the collection. What inspired this sense of “the future as seen from the past” and vice versa?
Past and future constantly and naturally overlap in any creative endeavour. Artists often look forward to the future by referencing the past. So yes, retro-futurism is where our inspiration comes from. From movies to literature to art and architecture, retro-futurism pioneers proclaimed how style and trends iterate over time.
When it came to our design process, we wanted to emulate the pioneers of retro-futurism — to observe and compare our past and future together. To look for things that conquer time, to promote our unique beliefs towards artistic and self-expression in the spirit of timelessness.
The collection was designed between New York, London, Berlin, and Hong Kong. How does each of those places influence the identity of the brand?
Each city has its own individuality, and each expresses it in its own way. All are observed, admired, and accepted differently. We decided our approach should reflect our cities: with openness, tolerance, and most importantly, a global view.
The campaign was photographed by Henrik Schneider and styled by Erik Raynal. What emotional energy were you looking to capture with this campaign, and how did Schneider and Raynal’s work help you do so?
Our collaboration with Henrik Schneider and Erik Raynal was invaluable. Both are very professional and talented creatives. Since this was the first campaign for 20.21, we wanted it to be cool, artistic and rebellious. To pioneer without being too futuristic, to be classic but not old. Henrik and Erik understood how to emote this “timeless” feeling.
You’ve said 20.21 is a “global design collective”. How does that differentiate 20.21 from other fashion labels?
20.21 is the creative result of a diverse, dynamic and organic environment. Our core members come not only from fashion professional backgrounds all over the world; they also have multidisciplinary backgrounds in technology, art, literature and history. This unique composition broadens our horizons, expands our collective capabilities, and also gives us our singularity.
What defines a 20.21 wearer?
YOUTH | CREATIVITY | ENERGY | SINGULARITY
What do you think is coming next for 20.21?
Keeping true to our pioneering spirit, we are exploring new synergies for our next collection (02). Expect the unexpected!