lazoschmidl makes glittery clothing for carefree party boys
The menswear brand's colorful garments make a glamorous social statement.
Photography Alexandre Chagnon
Lazoschmidl’s sheer pink lurex pants, striped pastel knit bodysuits, and purple lurex shirts embroidered with sequined rainbows stick out even amongst the other flamboyant offerings at Opening Ceremony. The Swedish-German menswear brand, founded in 2014 by Josef Lazo and Andreas Schmidl, has a penchant for creating colorful, delicate, sexy clothing that subverts gender norms.
Lazo and Schmidl, who started their brand creating made-to-measure garments and selling on Tictail.com, were hesitant to mass-produce their clothing. They turned down requests from multiple retailers before partnering with Opening Ceremony last year. But Carol Lim and Humberto Leon’s multifaceted shopping environment, which sells its own pink glittery men’s Vans and loves to push social boundaries, is the perfect fit for Lazoschmidl’s daring clothing. And for Lazoschmidl’s target demographic: carefree party boys in New York and LA.
“We have a strong following in the New York club scene,” Schmidl tells i-D over the phone from his home in Germany. “They’ve have no barriers. They don’t even know what conventions are or what gender is anymore.”
Lazoschmidl gave i-D a sneak peek of the spring/summer 19 collection, titled “Playdate,” before it hits the runways at Stockholm Fashion Week on August 28. The theme is “a little bit about the state between reality and fantasy,” Schmidl says.
“Playdate” contains cultural references to 60s pop art and bohemian novelists. Blouses are covered in kooky abstract prints inspired by modern artists like David Hockney and Henry Matisse. Shorts with Hockney-esque floral outlines, a knit lurex sweater vest with a dotted print, and metallic sequined top that Bowie would have loved are few standout pieces.
Roald Dahl and Franz Kafka were also huge influences. The writers are evoked through whimsical prints and a color palette of dull yellow, beige, and pastel purple. The hues have definite echoes of Dahl classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.
But the real story behind Lazoschmidl’s clothing is more than an artistic narrative — it’s a social statement about sexual expression.
“There’s no such thing as sexual revolution because everyone is suppressed. It’s still a dream,” Schmidl says. He explains that the Lazoschmidl motto is not about a political change, a sexual act, or even a revealing garment -- it’s about adapting a new outlook. “It’s never the message of sexuality; it’s more of the message of sexiness for yourself,” Schmidl continues, referencing a pair of assless leather chaps he made.
The designers maintain a sexy cohesion in each collection by consistently using lurex — a synthetic metallic-threaded yarn normally used for chiffon or knit garments. Schmidl and and Lazo have always been intrigued by lurex’s ease, sex appeal, and physical lightness.
“It has this delicacy or fragility behind it,” Schmidl says. “You need to be careful about it and it has a sensuality about it.”
Prone to damage, lurex is always an unconventional fabric choice for designers. It easily snags on sharp objects and is nearly impossible to wear jewelry with. No matter the quality, it’s hard to keep lurex in tip-top shape. Similar to Missoni’s lurex dresses and Isabel Marant’s lurex blouses, Lazoschmidl’s lurex pieces are well-made, but not intended for everyday wear.
“It’s maybe not the T-shirt you want to wear eight hours a day,” Schmidl clarifies, noting that he will sport a pink Lazoschmidl lurex shirt on special occasions or when going to clubs. The designers are usually found in black jeans and T-shirts, and consider Lazoschmidl an opportunity to create their own colorful, effervescent fantasy world.
“We’re both minimalists, but we both want to express something,” Schmidl says. The designs are a delicacy for the designers; comparable to a secret pleasure or a forbidden fruit. “I think sometimes it’s good to have some kind of distance to it.”
Lazo and Schmidl have found a niche in creating clothing that celebrates individuality and sexuality. The brand appeals to modern-day men — and women — who love to party.
“It’s menswear, but we know that girls like it,” Schmidl says. “We also think that a boy is allowed to maybe steal from his girlfriend’s wardrobe.” Female celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Iggy Azalea have purchased Lazoschmidl garments. And Miley Cyrus ordered the entire spring collection.
While dressing celebrities and selling at Opening Ceremony stores are impressive milestones for any young brand, the designers remain enthusiastic and grounded. Working from Germany and Sweden and mostly communicating via WhatsApp, they don’t see their customers in person. Most Lazoschmidl fans live in the U.S., and Lazo and Schmidl only travel stateside once or twice a year.
“We always focus on the actual thing that we’re doing, and we have to trust that people like it,” Schmidl explains. “We’re also very self-conscious and always questioning ourselves.”
At the end of the day, Lazo and Schmidl would argue that their brand’s social message is more important than its commercial success. They feel that men need to understand that it’s okay to be sexy, and to dress in a way that shows this.
“I think it’s still a lot of work to do to tell men how they can be sexy,” Schmidl says. “Are you free? Are you happy? Are you expressing yourself?”