Tom Van Der Borght works in relative isolation, spending weeks putting together the most impressive and exquisitely handmade items, which feel closer to the realm of performance art and haute couture than mere commercial fashion. Escaping categories is something Van Der Borght does better than most, and his efforts finally paid off during the 35th edition of the Hyères Festival last year when he won the much-coveted Grand Jury and Public Prizes. His beautiful and poignant show there managed to move a masked and distanced audience, delivering a message of hope and pure poetry in a pandemic-ridden world. Turns out the designer’s positive outlook is as engaging as his clothes are, and we got the chance to catch up with the talented Belgian to discuss his vision of fashion, working with Spanish artist Blanca Li, and why he loved being the opening act of Berlin Fashion Week. Interview by Philippe Pourhashemi.