Stefan Kartchev seamlessly connects matters that at first glance seem polar opposites. Whether it is digital versus physical, historical versus future fictions or traditional crafts versus the most groundbreaking of technologies: in the universe of Stefan Kartchev they subvert and unite to strengthen each other. Stefan’s interest in activewear is strongly present in his work, always challenging innovative industrial applications in a playful manner to expand the creative notions of his many collaborators. Warping silhouettes and morphing prints indicate a journey through time. One in which technology enhances and extends the human body and its capabilities. One in which references to folklore or even car design can be surprisingly grounding. One in which production processes and tools become integral parts of a finished piece. Stefan is currently working with lace makers and hat makers to explore hybrid sculptural accessories, expanding his personal alphabet rather than thinking about sellable products, all the while keeping the maker's fingerprint present in the end result – whatever that will be. This way of working goes against the usual pace of fashion and allows a more fluid position as a designer. For example, Stefan is creating costumes, objects and movements for a performance set to premiere in La Balsamine theatre in April 2023.
Stefan Kartchev holds a masters degree in fashion design from the Antwerp Academy. Already with his bachelors collection and even more so with his final masters presentation, he showed himself as a designer that is able to push techniques and aesthetics out of their comfort zone and into a variety of disciplines and contexts. Haute couture, ready to wear, shoes, accessories, print, scenography – Stefan consistently strikes a chord that appeals to a wide range of collaborators and clients from different corners of the world. He has designed for Rombaut, Jean-Paul Gaultier x Y-Project and Prada. Through collaborations with artists his work has been on show at Bozar (Brussels), La Quadriennale d’Arte di Roma and in the Metaverse. Stefan was also invited as a guest professor by ASP Academy in Łodź (Poland). From his creative base in Brussels, he continuously furthers his research in textiles and fashion by prototyping together with industrial and artisanal producers in Belgium and in his native country Bulgaria.