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After studying fashion design in Paris, Pia and Max moved to Brussels to fulfil their dream of building their own brand: Lyks. Committed to breaking the industry’s traditional codes, they stand for an ethical vision of what fashion should be in 2020. Non-gendered and handcrafted with upcycled materials, each of Lyks’s creation is unique and designed for souls rather than bodies. They explained their intentions to us as well as the reasons why they moved here in the intimate atmosphere of their studio.

When, where and how was Lyks born?

We first met when we were studying textile design in Paris. We quickly came to realise that school wasn’t meant for us and decided to try our luck in real life early on. For a year, we gathered and discussed many ideas with no particular project in mind. The idea of building a brand followed naturally as our universes collided and completed each other. In 2018, we announced the creation of Lyks with our first non-gendered collection.

In 2019, you decided to relocate your activity in Brussels. Why did you choose to move here?

We had visited Brussels a few times and loved it for many reasons. We were ready to take off, discover new things and it wasn’t going to happen in Paris. As a gay man (Max), Paris was not that safe for me. If you don’t earn millions and can afford a flat in the Marais, you are always at risk of getting into trouble. Brussels is far safer for LGBT+ people. Paris is also a symbol of the most traditional aspects of fashion and contemporary art. It isn’t easy to break codes there anymore. Brussels is a crossroads for people of different nations and cultures, fed with so many visions. The city is a true opportunity for artists to develop a new vision.

What is the vision you defend?

Lyks is the Creole word for both ‘luxury’ and ‘lux’ (the unit for luminance). This name was a way for us to challenge the way we consume clothing and redefine what ‘luxury’ truly means. To us, luxury means giving enough space for artists to experiment, value handcraft, ethical production, and uniqueness over standardisation and consumption. Furthermore, our pieces are all thought of as genderless. Lyks is a brand for everyone. Whether you’re a man or a woman, no matter what your skin colour is: if you like it, just wear it.

How do these ideas translate into your workflow and creations?

Each of our creations is unique. We never make the same clothing item twice. Besides, we work only with upcycled material and left-over fabrics from the industry. Depending on our stock and ideas, each year, we develop a collection of unique pieces that we can further develop. Everything is handcrafted by us: from the patterns to the sewing. As for the price tag, we try to strike a balance between making fashion more accessible and still valuing the craft. Anyway, we don’t necessarily spend much time or effort promoting the ethical, genderless and inclusive aspect of our brand. It seems so obvious. In 2020, building an exclusively masculine brand made in Bangladesh would only display the highest levels of ignorance towards the major issues of our times.

How would you define your aesthetics?

Lyks’s universe is the result of our mutual exchanges. Max is born and bred in Reunion, where he grew up surrounded by certain landscapes and many different cultures. Pia, on the other hand, is from the Parisian suburbs where classy fashion clashes with urban culture. We take inspiration from our backgrounds and experiences to create something that really reflects who we are. We try to merge all of these influences into our aesthetics without trying to set standards or a clear-cut definition of what Lyks should be. It is firstly about us expressing ourselves, experimenting with stuff and outlining an alternative vision to the world. Through time, we can say that a Lyks look is often based on a set of basics that you would like to wear every day with different accessories. Detailed pieces with more personality that allow you to change the way you look easily from one day to the next. The idea is to be able to reincarnate yourself at will.

Why is it so crucial to promote genderless clothing?

Genderless clothing is about freedom. It means allowing people to project themselves into clothes without worrying whether it is meant for a man or for a woman. Mostly, it’s about empowering yourself and crushing barriers. At the end of the day, it’s nothing but clothing. Anyone should wear what he wants to wear.