Tim Van Steenbergen

1st September 2014 Belgian designer Tim Van Steenbergen discusses with Eyestylist his collaboration with avant-garde eyewear brand theo and his fashion inspiration.

How did the collaboration develop between your label and theo eyewear? “I met Mik, the son of theo’s big boss Wim Somers in 2008 at a fashion show, in a well-known concept store in Moscow called Cara & Co, where both theo glasses and my clothes are sold. Once back in Antwerp, the first appointment was quickly arranged.”

What do you find the most interesting about creating eyewear – and the most frustrating – if anything! “I find it very interesting how you can reach a wider audience with eyewear, and that audience is willing to step out of its comfort zone. It’s apparently easier to choose a more extreme pair of glasses than it is to wear an eye-catching outfit. For me, eyewear is also a way to complete a silhouette. I can create a total look. The most frustrating yet fascinating – is how a garment never has a fixed form, while with designer eyewear, the form of the frame never changes. The disadvantage is that afterwards you can’t change it any more to make it fit. You see, it works in both ways.”

Regal Eyewear - Tim Van Steenbergen for theo
Regal Eyewear – Tim Van Steenbergen for theo

What is your favourite material in which to design clothing – and eyewear? “I tend to use classic materials like horn or tortoise, but it becomes interesting when combining these materials. Then you create something exciting. In my clothing line, I do the same. I use different kinds of classic textiles to create interesting forms.”

Autumn/Winter 2014/15 Fashion Design by Tim Van Steenbergen

You have created other accessories in addition to eyewear – bags, shoes, and jewellery. Are there other items you would like to design? “I don’t like to tie myself down to one discipline. After all, you can translate ideas into so many things. It’s just a matter of interpretation. The message is most important!”

Do you have any favourite inspirations? “To live, to love, to travel…I find inspiration in a mix of things. I’m like a sponge. I absorb everything I see. And then I let it seep through in my designs.”

Magic and Mystery - Shadows by Tim Van Steenbergen for theo
Magic and Mystery – Shadows by Tim Van Steenbergen for theo

You have designed for the Opera – is there a particular opera for which you would like to design the costumes? “Madame Butterfly! I would love to create the costumes for this romantic opera that makes everybody cry! Pure emotion! For the moment, my next sunglass collection together with theo eyewear is ready to be launched later this month at SILMO. So keep an eye out for them!” www.timvansteenbergen.com www.theo.be JG