December 23 2017
Founded in December 2014, the South-Korean brand ADER (short for “Aesthetic Drawing people togethER) has since gathered a huge following of loyal devotees from all over the world.
Working together as a collective, the ADER crew is composed of people, with and without a background in fashion, who share a common vision of contemporary fashion. At ADER, every piece breaks away from the concept of gender and its proportions are revisited to create something that is unique, easy and fun.
“Easy” and “fun” are indeed two words that are essential to the ADER DNA. But the brand goes beyond that and appears as a spot-on response to youth culture and the current Instagram generation who loves their oversized and colourful pieces that are instantly identifiable.
Despite having a following of more than 500,000 people on Instagram, the ADER team usually shies away from the press and remains very elusive. In this rare interview, we talk about gender, social media and what inspires their work.
Words by Matthieu da Rocha
Hi guys! Could you tell me more about how you work together as a collective?
Every day, we get together to discuss new ideas. Every member is free to talk about everything from design to sales and customer service. It is like a giant brainstorming with no limits as we do not to put limits on our creativity. When it comes to our main collection: we want to tell a story. Everyone talks about their inspiration and we try to link it to a common concept.
With half a million followers on Instagram, you have gathered a huge following online. Do you create your collection with those young followers in mind?
We don’t design a collection wondering how it will look on Instagram. Although it is a powerful tool and has been something important to establish our brand. The perfect person to wear our clothes is someone who likes to see, feel and experience creative content. Our range of customers is quite wide, from teenagers to people in their 30’s, with even a few in their 60’s! Interestingly enough, middle-aged people usually don’t buy our products but they observe our archives closely. They can be our customer anytime they want.
All your clothes are genderless, what motivated this decision?
We observed an evolution of the approach to the concept of gender. People would look for a specific cut, a specific silhouette, a colour, or a material instead of just focusing on a binary gender classification. We want people to think objectively instead of being stuck in gender stereotypes. We have a plan to refine and subdivide our designs by colour, material and pattern in accordance with our DNA.
What has been the general response to your take on gender in South Korea?
At first, people were reluctant as the vision of gender in South Korea is still very traditional. But as time went by, we could see that things were changing and now many South Koreans fully support us.
Do you feel like you have managed to challenge gender roles in your country?
Maybe not. We refrain from talking about concepts like “challenging gender roles” as we are not sociologists but things are slowly changing.
“We want people to think objectively instead of being stuck in gender stereotypes”
Photos via ADER ERROR
What is the inspiration behind your Spring/Summer 2018 collection that you are launching exclusively at TOM GREYHOUND?
We have always been fascinated with the 90’s, so we travelled back in time to 1993. Following our motto (“But Near Missed Things”), we focused on what was around us when we started working on the collection. In that case, it was a mattress. It is something you use in your daily life but we wanted to make it special, so we used it in our lookbook as well as in our campaign.
Have you ever considered communicating with your audience through an offline media?
Yes of course. There is a space-time limitation with offline platforms, that does not exist with online platforms. Yet, it was important for us to introduce people to the ADER world. This is what we do with our flagship store in Seoul where we pre-launched the “ADER Inventory”. This collection carries stickers, notebooks and other goodies that create the world of ADER. We are also interested in developing a book or a magazine.
What do you have in the works for 2018?
We are planning to introduce new exciting projects related to space, art and culture all over the world.