Montreal fashion line draws inspiration from Bollywood

A young woman in a blue flared dress sprawled out on the floor with a bottle of Smirnoff in her hand. This is the image on display in Montreal-based clothing line Filthy Haanz’ latest editorial campaign. It emphasizes one of the line’s lead designer Wilber Tellez’ goal to create fashionable pieces for the young and free.

His styles target the young professional who leaves straight from work to hit up a party until 4 a.m. Filthy Haanz’ new spring/summer 2015 collection, Bollywood Graffiti, incorporates the radiant colours, loose silhouettes and graffiti stylings of the Indian, Bollywood culture for the young and sophisticated. Here, Tellez lends some insight into his journey to establishing himself in fashion.

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WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BECOME A FASHION DESIGNER? I started theatre when I was 14, I went to a special performing arts school, so I did costume design for a really long time. My particular interest in fashion is how clothes are made, and how you represent a design; I think that’s really interesting. All the runway samples I make, I’m in charge of making all the runways patterns and that’s really enjoyable for me. I’ve always been a hands-on person; it came naturally to me. It’s funny because when I was younger, before I started art school, someone had said to me, ‘You know you should be a fashion designer,’ and I was like, ‘Noo.’ I feel fashion design chose me; I didn’t choose it.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WORK WITH FILTHY HAANZ? I liked what they were going for, I wanted to bring something more to them. I did a lot of their bathing suits before and they no longer wanted to bring this sombre, shapeless kind of feel, so we were just a great fit. They liked what I was doing, I really liked their goals, and so I decided to go for it. Give birth to a new collection.

WHERE DO YOU SEE FILTHY HAANZ IN THE FUTURE? I would like for it to go bigger. Right now it’s in Canada and select boutiques online, I would like for it to have a broader reach within Latin America, Miami, L.A.; these are the markets that will be eating it up, so we will be expanding to the U.S. very soon. Design wise, I think I’m going to keep that juxtaposition of meshing two things together. Like last season it was Dirty Disco Glamour, and I took that night life scene and I mixed it in with dark colours, because I wanted to emphasize the party scene in the ’70s, but at 4 o’clock in the morning it’s a little dark, it’s a little over done. And this season it’s a little brighter with an essence of darkness glamour. Hopefully the proceeding seasons will keep doing that, I really like culture and history, so I like to fuse those things together.

DO YOU LIKE TO PUT SOME OF YOUR LATIN AMERICAN HERITAGE IN PIECES? I think with my work there is a running thread, I feel that it will always be in my work and you will always see what it is. I will just try to represent what I think the vision is, but it will always be my style; you will always see it there. I don’t think I can help whether it’s influenced or not, I think some of these pieces that I was designing I was like, “this is really fiesta right now,” it’s an unprocessed; you look at it and make sure everything works, things that don’t work you take them out.

“I try not to be too age specific, I feel that for both men and women they both need to feel good in an article of clothing, and you don’t have to be a certain age.”

BEING 26 YEARS OLD, DO YOU CATER TO YOUR OWN DEMOGRAPHIC? I’m catering to that age demographic, but I found that even with our last collection, I try not to be too age specific, I feel that for both men and women they both need to feel good in an article of clothing, and you don’t have to be a certain age. I’m thinking you like something and it fits you, and you look good in it, you can be any age. Nothing is too revealing and nothing is too young.

DO YOU FEEL YOUR DESIGNS WILL CHANGE AS YOU GET OLDER? I would hope so. I think with experience and with time, you try to explore different things and broader your horizon, so with time I hope the brand will continue to get better; I think the DNA of it is the consumer and the changing lifestyle.

Photos By. Fitzroy Facey