HOME CORE: Q&A with Alexandre Guarneri
Having a conversation with Alexandre Guarneri, the owner and visionary behind the Paris/Berlin based Home Core is an exhilarating and cerebral experience. Somewhere in the middle of the chat, you might wonder whether you’re still talking about fashion or have veered fully into the realm of theoretical philosophy. In Alexandre’s world, the lines between fashion and life are blurred to the point of non-existence, and his designs are his way of transmitting his unique observations to the world around him. Yes, the clothes he makes are very impressive and extremely covetable, but there is so much more at play here.
“Everybody has the same thing inside – a skeleton. That can be a link to everybody’s pure nature.”
How did you come up with name Home Core?
The brand started in 1992 within the Hip-Hop culture. I wanted to have a name that would mean something powerful at home. At the time, everything cool was coming from the USA, so I wanted to say that we could also do something strong in France. I still love the name and with the evolution of the brand into its new dimension, it still works. HOME is the place where one’s affection and comfort is centered; CORE is the central most essential part of something, it provides strength and balance.
What’s the brand philosophy – and who is the Home Core customer?
`In the early Hip-Hop years of the brand we wanted to show we belonged to that culture because it was the culture of positivity and freedom. Once it was sold out by the capitalistic system and was no longer meaning what we loved, we decided to move away from it and invent our own meaning. Growing up in the suburbs, I thought that all Paris denizens were rich and weak. When I moved to Paris, I realized that it was not the case and also noticed that people from Paris thought that all people in the suburbs were violent and stupid. There were lots of prejudices on both sides, and of course clothing played a major role in categorizing people.
So I decided the new aim of the brand would be to bring people together. My first piece to materialize the new direction of Home Core was a suit jacket in sweatshirt fabric. I used the iconic jacket of the rich guy and made it in the iconic fabric of the street guy. The label inside this jacket said: Home Core, be in harmony with oneself and the world around. I put this sentence in all clothes from then on.
What influences your designs – music, art, life itself?
It’s mostly everyday life – what you need to wear to be comfortable and feel easy every day. Then there is also this quest for a better world, somebody once told me: “Yes your sentence on the label is nice – be in harmony with yourself and the world around – but how do you DO it really?” That was a very challenging question. Again I decided I would use the clothing as media …first I had to find the “oneself” that can apply to everybody. After thinking long about it I found out that no matter the age, the color, the sex, the wealth, everybody has the same thing inside – a skeleton. To me, that can be a link to everybody’s pure nature. This is certain in the moment regardless of any social link to their life. From there, we could build a new way of communicating in three steps: Relaxing: first we decide to concentrate on this thing we have inside and breathe in until we feel relaxed. Second is dialogue: from that state we start exchanging ideas and actions. Once we have discussed and agreed on something, then we start doing it. Since that is not necessarily what everybody expects from a clothing brand, I decided to put details inspired from that theme directly on the clothing.
For example, you can find a red stitching on the spine of my knits meant to remind each one that their center is there and nowhere else. Also on the pants, I put a leather string that makes you feel your gravity center when you tie it. There are also hidden colored buttons on the fly in random color sequences. The idea is to use interesting details that will take you away from your thoughts for a moment and bring you in the NOW. From 2010 onwards, I starting using an inside label that reads: “aujourd’hui j’ai envie de dire je t’aime” (Today I want to say I love you).
You have shops in both Paris and Berlin – what city do you spend most of your time and why?
I spend more time in Paris because my children are there.
Your clothes are very wearable, but with a definite cool edge – how do you maintain the balance of wearable clothes but not boring clothes?
It’s the essence of the brand, to be wearable and basic, but to have interesting details that make them unique. It’s the essence of those details that make the clothing not boring. They are not just details for details sake – they come from a deeper interest about us being together in society in a playful and interesting way.
Do you also make women’s wear under the Home Core brand?
Yes, we have been making a women’s line since 2012.
What do you think your loyal customers love the most about your brand?
It’s our coherence from the beginning.
How do you think men’s style in Paris and Berlin is different from men’s style in NYC?
I would say that nowadays with the internet, it’s the same everywhere.
Are there any particular items coming out in your Spring and Fall 2014 collections that you are very excited about?
For the spring, I love the coral camo print and for the winter I love the knits.
What are some of your favorite music artists to listen to that you feel capture the vibe and energy of Home Core?
I listen mostly to classic music so I could not really tell. What I can say is that I like classic music because it does not bring commercial images to my mind.
What does Happiness mean to you in your everyday life?
It means everything. I’m happiest when everybody around me is happy too.
For more information, visit www.homecore.com