Few years ago South African designer Stiaan Louw and French photographic duo Exterface started their singular collaboration. Enriching their artistry, pushing the boundaries of male iconography, they come up with iconic looks and stories that inspire an ever-growing community. The overwhelming response and their successful artistic partnership has naturally led them to build the EXSL project.
For how long have the three of you worked together and how did the idea of EXSL come about?
Stiaan Louw first approached us something like 5 years ago. We felt extremely honored because of his tremendous talent as a designer. And also because he was very nicely offering us to create pieces for future shoots. Like we would talk about a concept together, share references, and then… We would get all his magical creations in a box! Christmas realness. So we did that on several shoots that got a lot of attention over the internet.
The idea of EXSL came out a year and a half ago. We felt a growing demand on each side for the looks and the atmosphere of those shoots we’ve collaborating on with. Stiaan was of course very successful in South Africa, showed several collections for fashion week there, he was also working a lot for the advertising and the movie industries, but he didn’t have a platform of his own, to sell and show his work worldwide! So we all came to the idea that we could combine our creative forces and create something together.
What is the best the thing about working together? The most difficult thing?
The best thing about working together is our absolute chemistry for everything. We are always very much aligned in everything that we want to do or that we are feeling for the brand. And that’s also an emulation, back and forth, evolving together and getting inspired by each other’s work. The most difficult thing, or the most difficult thing must be that we are not physically together. Thank God for the internet obviously, because that’s how it all started you know. Communication is a very important thing, well in everything, but running a business is something else. Like you want to protect the fun aspect of this beautiful project, and at the same time you need to be able to handle challenging situations. Again, it’s a learning experience for Stiaan and us, and we can’t be happier about how everything is going so far. We feel stronger together.
Could you describe your manifesto?
Our thing is to elevate sexy clothing for men. We definitely want it to be fun and sexy, but still remaining high-end and beautiful. It’s a matter of taste, of experience, of fabrics too. Like we want it to be as exciting and pretty in picture than it is once you have your piece in your hands. The real life fantasy!
What is the most important thing that shoppers should know about EXSL?
Our shoppers should know, and know if they already ordered at EXSL, is that we put a lot of care in our products. They are all made with love by hands, in our studio in Cape Town, South Africa. EXSL is all about finding who you are and about expressing your inner fantasies. It’s a very intimate relationship, very rewarding too and most of all, it’s a lifestyle.
Where do you draw inspiration for your collections?
Japanese erotic art, motorsport, car compressions, tropical and floral elements… We are also very soon introducing our very first print! We are very excited about this!
How do you choose your models for your upcoming shoots. If someone would like to be shot, can he apply somewhere?
Social media is the perfect platform for casting honestly! We appreciate inspiring and trusting guys, with a nice personality and a big sense of freedom and sensuality. Very much love when men reach out to us for shoots, this is always a very promising start for great things!
Models can reach out through social media, either on Stiaan’s account (@stiaanlouw) or ours (@exterface) for Instagram, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your favorite material in 2018 is…?
Leather. We are also pretty obsessed with satin lately and mesh.
You say on your website that you, “bring fantasy to reality.” What kinds fantasies do you have left that you want to turn into reality in 2018?
We want to share fantasies celebrating more diverse body types and model and always showing that EXSL can be for anyone (even though our models are at times aspirational). We also want to continue exploring masculine and feminine ideas in various ways and that all can be fantasized about. It is also important to evolve the idea of kink to icorporate a wider variety of fantasies beyond the typical black leather looks. You can be a twink in masculine EXSL or a leather daddy in satin. Fuck the rules with EXSL!!!
Find Exterface: www.ex-sl.com www.instagram.com/exterface www.instagram.com/stiaanlouw