Delikatessen

Delikatessen campain AW 14/15. Picture by Stanisław Boniecki - Bobrowiec

On a sunny day in Amsterdam, I hopped on the tram and stopped at Keizersgracht to visit the atelier and showroom of Andrzej Lisowski and Stephen Hartog: the founders of Delikatessen. Delikatessen is a brand in menswear, recognized by its distinctive and high quality fabrics. A brand for men with an eye for detail.

 

Kale

As Andrzej lets me in, I walk into a great hall with walls of marble. This is the showroom, Andrzej tells me. There are clothes racks full of men’s shirts from different collections. As we walk further, we come into the garden, where they have some kale (boerenkool, in Dutch) growing. The autumn/winter collection of 2014/2015 is for a big part inspired on kale. Or, as Andrzej tells me: “I never really get my inspiration for a collection out of something specific, but the kale is something that helps explain the look and feel of the collection. We really like the structure and the colour of the kale and that reflected on this collection”.

 

Fabrics, fabrics, fabrics

We walk upstairs and arrive into the workspace. There is a long table covered with papers and fabrics, on which their intern Gijs is working. Before we sit down to talk, Andrzej shows me some piles of fabric samples. There are a lot of them. Andrzej explains: “I have always had a great interest in fabrics and so I am always looking for the most original ones with high quality and comfort. It also means that it can take us very long to pick the right ones for a collection. Right now I have been looking at them for too long and I can’t look at them for a while!”

Kale and intern Gijs

 

The duo

I sit down with Andrzej in their classic chairs and Stephen walks in. Stephen is also an art historian and just came back from work, so he joins the interview. I ask them how they met and how they started Delikatessen. Andrzej: “I am originally from Poland and I had my own brand there. I sold it to a big company and signed a contract that said I would be working there for another three years. But then I met Stephen on an airport, we became a couple and I started traveling up and down to Holland.” “The first moment we met, I was already touching the textile of your shirt and asked you if you made that, remember? We share a passion for textiles.” Stephen adds. Andrzej: “I run the business on daily basis and Stephen is more of the curator.” Stephen: “Sometimes Andrzej tells me about his inspirations and then I tell him what it reminds me of. That could be an era in art history, a piece of art or some music for example. This process brings up new ideas.”

 

France

The designing process mainly happens in France, where Andrzej and Stephen have another home with a big garden. Andrzej loves gardening because it opens up his mind. This in combination with the peaceful scenery of France, helps him come up with good ideas. Andrzej: “I think inspiration has to come from the inside and not from the outside. Of course, when we are in Amsterdam, we get a lot of impulses and ideas, but then we go to France, we take a step back and we let it all come together in our minds.” Stephen: “And that’s how it works.” Andrzej: “But another important part of the creative work happens when we are in the factories in Poland. Because for me it is very important to feel the fabrics in my hands and it happens very often that I get new ideas when I see the samples. So the best ideas mostly come at the very last moment.”

Andrzej

 

Photography

Every collection eventually ends up in a photo shoot. Each year Stephen and Andrzej organise two main shoots of the collections and two shoots that are more like projects. Andrzej: “For one photo shoot we invited a Spanish choreographer, he works for the Dutch Royal Ballet and we followed him through Amsterdam to his favourite places. We did the same thing with a Finnish musician.” Stephen: “These projects are kind of the celebrations of the new collections. Everything comes together on those days and that is a great experience every time.” For the latest collection, Stephen and Andrzej went to an organic kale farmer in Poland. Coincidently, a few hundred meters from the field, there were a lot of old trees being burned. This caused a lot of smoke, which combined with the early sunrise has created a beautiful series of photos.

 

If you are looking for some original and great quality men’s clothes, definitely come check out Delikatessen at Puha! And to see all the creative photo shoots they do, take a look at their renewed website: www.delikatessen.jp 

 

Interview: Carmen Kloosterhuis