When designer Tim Coppens showed off his Spring 2017 collection Tuesday in a runway show as part of New York Fashion Week: Men’s, you could pick out several different influences coming together: there were some samurai details and some performance-inspired fabrics. There were some sandals styled with socks—still not 100% sure who to credit for that look, but it’s become so common at Fashion Week, that I think we can all collectively share the blame. Aside from that, the Coppens show also included, most clearly, a thread of ‘90s-era skate style running through it all. But, Coppens is quick to point out he’s not just hopping on board the skate trend, like other designers or, say, Vogue have recently done.
“I hate saying that, but everybody is like, ‘Oh yeah, the skate culture, this and that!’ But, it’s what I grew up with,” Coppens told Complex backstage after his show. “I skated for 15, 16 years every day. If I look at how kids are now, and how they were back then, I think it’s very similar.” The vibe, as he calls it, is really what makes skate culture an enduring influence on designers, who are all looking to capture what it feels like to be a young, cool kid. “There are certain things that change,” Coppens continued, “but the general vibe is still very much the same. I think it’s much more about this age of the kid in the clothes.”
Coppens pointed to his new tracksuit as an example of a classic teen style that emanates that much-desired attitude. “When I was 14, I had a Tommy Hilfiger track pant,” he says. “Now, everybody is referring to that, and we’ve been doing it season after season. The thing for me that’s important is that the tracksuit evolved.” His color-blocked version looks similar to the style he might have worn back when he was a teen in Belgium on his way from the skate park to the club, but it’s been updated with technical details in a more luxurious fabric. “It’s a very beautiful jacket,” he adds. “I think that’s how I evolve it in my world, where I am right now.”
Coppens confirmed that he’ll likely always have a tracksuit in his own collection, but said not to look for too much ‘90s nostalgia or youthful reminiscing when he debuts his first collection for Under Armour in a few weeks. “For Under Armour, it’s more important what the clothes are about and how they function, how they work on a person,” he says. “With Under Armour, I just create this whole world: shoes, bags, men’s, women’s. It’s very important to have the right fit, materials and all that, but it’s less about the edginess of the inspiration.”
He adds that there may be some related silhouettes, but mostly, the vibes between Tim Coppens proper and Tim Coppens for Under Armour are “detached.”
“There’s a similarity there,” he concludes. “But, toned down for a broader audience—although there are pieces in there that are very special.”