With a name like Devon Halfnight LeFlufy — not a made-up moniker — this is one designer who is destined to stand out.
LeFlufy, who was recently short-listed for the LVMH Prize, admits he has a love-hate relationship with his name. “Halfnight is my mother’s maiden name and LeFlufy is from my father,” he said. “Sometimes I love that name and other times not.”
That said, he’s all about eclectic mixtures. Born in Vancouver and based in Antwerp, Belgium, his inspirations come from Los Angeles subcultures.
“My fascination with Americanism was instilled at a very early age,” said LeFlufy, who turns 31 next week. “Vancouver is a very serene place. I loved living there as a kid, my identity was shaped by being a skateboard hoodlum and somehow this stays with me, in my references and in my mentality.
“For me, America has been the center of art and popular culture for the last 70 years: the music, the TV and the clothes. So it’s even funnier, when you think about it, that I live and work from a tiny European port town.”
He said his aim is to create a world built from surprising but familiar references, “using unexpected material combinations, evoking a sense of nostalgia and desire for the future. The result is always an exploration of multiple worlds.”
LeFlufy is fascinated with science-fiction writer William Gibson’s idea of the “mirror” world. “It’s the idea of things feeling uncannily familiar, but at the same time, completely foreign. To give an example, if you are from New York City and you are in London, the coins look like coins, feel like coins, you know how to use them, but the weight, shape and feeling are off. The coins are familiar, yet foreign.”
Art is another interest and inspiration. “My wife is a gallerist, most of my family works in one form of art or another, both fine and applied. Beyond this, music is a huge source of inspiration.”
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, LeFlufy earned his B.A. and M.A. in fashion design, and was awarded the International Jury Prize for his M.A. collection. He was also a nominee for the H&M Design Award in 2014.
As an M.A. student, LeFlufy caught the eye of the Opening Ceremony team and collaborated on a capsule collection for the store. They asked him to create a collection as part of their “OC loves Belgium” series.
His success so far comes partly from his student digs.
“While I was in school, there was this old apartment in the dirtiest part of Antwerp, and an air of folklore surrounded it. Every student that moves into the space becomes a namesake designer,” LeFlufy said. “I lived and worked from that space, following Bernhard Willhelm, Haider Ackermann and Peter Pilotto, to name a few.”
LeFlufy showed his spring and fall collections in New York as part of Made Fashion Week. His Paris showroom opened for the fall 2014 season following his collaboration with Opening Ceremony. The brand is stocked at stores including Opening Ceremony, Wild Style and Cement. Price points include graphic T-shirts for $69 to $102 and overcoats for $1,074 to $2,175.
LeFlufy said to expect great things for future collections. “I think men’s wear is having a renaissance and I hope to be a part of that.”