Paris Fashion Week AW19 – an interview with Afterhomework

A male dressed in ruched beige sweatpants and khaki sweatshirt with cord details is tugging open his shoe to wear.

It is in an abandoned factory extended over several floors that genderless models took the new AW19 Afterhomework collection to the catwalk, all coming along with some rap music – yes, once again!

Paris born and based designers, Pierre Kaczmarek & Elena Mottola are the two superstars and lovers behind the new erratic brand – Afterhomework was born in 2014 when Pierre was only 15 years old and still only a high school student. He started creating the brand alongside his studies and thus after school, hence the namesake ‘Afterhomework’. Elena joined him a year later and they’ve maintained their strong duo ever since.

Afterhomework is already reputed for their super strong hypnotic visuals combined with Elena’s styling signature – full of layers and knots.

A girl sitting backwards towards the camera wears a light blue silk shirt with open back tied with a thin rope, and a girl getting dressed in the background wearing khaki trousers.

Still super young, the duo brings a different and experimental energy to the Parisian scene. Radical yet visionary, the duo’s motto is ‘What is done, is done’ – there is no need for imitation – only for creation of innovative and pioneering design. They started the brand, not knowing where they were going, with no specific purpose or inspiration other than being influenced by their direct surroundings. Going against the grain of standards and morals, the Afterhomework duo has an alternative creating process and way of building a collection – ‘ it is what we are doing that teaches us what we are after and what we are looking for and not the other way round, as it is supposed to be’. Inspired by the direct social phenomenons of the street, urban cultures and rap music have a very important influence in their work – intertwining/ merging streetwear elements to classical shapes, made with technical high-fashion know-how and expertise. Somewhere unforced and unexpected is their goal and Afterhomeworks final destination!

Girls lined up for rehearsal, Asian girl leads the line with a short haircut and a bright red coat

What is it like to work with your lover?

It is difficult but we manage to it better over time and we’ve learned how to separate work from intimacy. Our brand is a constant dialogue so it is also useful to be together – we can share ideas and designs every time.

Does your ‘work/love’ relation has taught you things that you were ignoring about yourself? Do you think that your relationship has an impact on your brand, whether positive or negative?

I think that we got closer through the brand and it made us understand better the creative aspect of one and another, in sharing daily ideas. I think it is mostly positive but conflicts can also be deeper because there is the sentimental aspect on top of it.

Urban culture seems to be the common thread to all of your collections so far – can you speak through your inspirations and explain where they come from?

We are inspired by our surroundings – our friends, our city and by the current culture of our generation.

A girl poses backstage in a dark room with sun shining through window, her hair is dark with a single bleached strand and is wearing a green jacket.

Rap and street culture is really important for the youth so it also has a big influence on our work. We could easily try to find an artist or movement to work on but most of the time we take what is currently happening around us – music, social media, tv or radio.

Music and especially French rap had a big influence on your previous collection – what’s new about this AW19 one?

The show location was the new thing this season and because it was already quite strong, we did not want to add too much on top of it. French rap is definitely something we wanted to keep as it reflects quite well our influences.

We can tell that A.I has an impact on your visuals – hypnotizing yet futuristic – they lead us to question ourselves about the meaning of it. Who’s working on the art direction? 

It is not something that fascinates us more than it is something that we saw a lot around us. We want to try and question it because near future intrigues us as much as it inspires us. We both work on the art direction.

A girl backstage is getting her make-up fixed, hood over head and tight around face with closed eyes wearing fuchsia eyeshadow.

Elena is known to be a designer but also a stylist – her way of layering/looping is her own signature. What do you want to say through your styling and visuals?

Yes, she takes the code of the brand for her styling but sometimes we also use some of her work as an inspiration. Her instagram is definitely a laboratory for Afterhomework – we try and experiment some sort of design and styling.

What’s the next step for Afterhomework and for yourselves? 

We take every season as a new step but for now, we need to focus on the commercial aspect of it – it is a really important part that we need to work on for the development of Afterhomework.

All clothes Afterhomework AW19. All images © Hugo Lecrux