When you hear the name Victorinox, you might associate it immediately with the Swiss Army Knife. But the Swiss brand has much more to offer, from travel luggage to watches to perfume and clothes.
I was recently invited to their hometown Ibach, Switzerland to visit the factory and to explore their newest project:
Christopher Raeburn for Victorinox – REMADE IN SWITZERLAND.
At the entrance a colourful and dramatic installation welcomed me presenting the capsule collection that the young UK designer has created for Victorinox for F/W 2011, consisting of eight items for both genders, each to be produced in a hand-numbered limited edition of 100 pieces.
“The project is a fantastic opportunity to align the innovation and individuality of my brand with the heritage and quality of Victorinox.”
- Christopher Raeburn.
Christopher Raeburn with me
From Parachute Poncho to Runway Couture
Raeburn has been known for his pioneering work taking old military surplus and transforming it into beautiful clothes since he launched in 2008 his label utilizing decommissioned military stocks of uniform and parachute fabrics to create functional and intelligent garments. Raeburn’s namesake designs are proudly REMADE IN ENGLAND in his small East London production facility.
For the project with Victorinox, he did the same. By taking apart the existing garments from local military surplus stores, he found inspiration and ideas to create new ones, re-imagining unexpected uses for the old and challenging the concept of what is considered new. Everything is proudly produced (“remade”) in Switzerland.
A rare find was a box of horseshoe nails that became the symbol of the project for Raeburn. He challenged Victorinox to recast that nail into scales for an Original Swiss Army Knife to complement the project. The nail also inspired a print used for linings and other graphic treatments.
For the project, Victorinox is working with local seamstresses and tailors. Corinne Kaiser, who is heading the team with Camilla from England, explained the process and the difficulties they experienced with some of the fabrics.
OFFICER’S PARKA constructed from surplus Swiss military sleeping bag outers, 2 front chest
pockets featuring reused original military Riri zips.
CAPTAIN’S COAT constructed from re-appropriated Swiss wool coats dating back up to 60 years and lined with over-dyed surplus Swiss military cotton bed sheets.
HORSESHOE NAIL KNIFE crafted from surplus military horseshoe nails melted down and recast as knife scales, packaged in reclaimed original coated paper box that held the nails.
PARACHUTE HOODIE constructed from 2 colours of surplus Swiss military air-brake
parachutes, tape from original parachutes and jersey cuffs from military balaclavas.
RECRUIT’S CAP constructed from offcuts of surplus Swiss military wool jackets and over-dyed cotton bed sheets, side panels can flip down to cover ears or fold up.
DUFFLE BACKPACK constructed from surplus heavy canvas Swiss tarpaulin with integrated
SENTRY’S SCARF constructed from surplus Swiss military blankets and over-dyed surplus Swiss military cotton bed sheets.
COCOON BLOUSON constructed from surplus Swiss military sleeping bags, reinforced with waterproof sleeping bag outer, can be roll packed like original sleeping bag.
The collaboration will be available throughout Victorinox flagships and most high-end shops worldwide. Check out the stop-motion preview below, it is pretty cool. Prices will range between CHF 700 – 2000 depending on the piece.
Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht, Courtesy of Victorinox