"Numbered by" is a creative concept by Laurens Boks (1992) that pushes the boundaries between art and fashion. The basis is a work of art and for this he is always looking for artists who live and work in Belgium ("it must remain manageable") and whom he selects - based on gut feeling - to create unique and wearable sweatshirts in limited editions. Boks operates as follows: after a studio visit during which he and the artist view the artist’s oeuvre together, the artist creates a new square work of art which is then digitized and - enlarged - printed on cotton. Twenty panels are then cut from this to serve as the front panels of the sweatshirts.
I especially want to bring art closer to fashion and vice versa. I do this in close collaboration with the artists and which is why I always speak in the "we" form.
Untitled, 2020, Catharina Dhaen.
Due to his activities in the Antwerp art world, he knows it like the back of his hand and, again in a creative way, takes advantage of it. Among other things, by not only selling the sweatshirts via the website but also by promoting and selling them through local partnerships. Boks prefers to infiltrate existing structures such as galleries and museums (such as Museum Hof van Busleyden and soon the SMAK) where he does not offer the garments as 'merchandise' - after all, we are talking about art here - but as part of a special, temporary project instead. During the Borger Nocturnes he will also open his own pop-up gallery (in collaboration with "Hook", a lunch bar in Borgerhout). To emphasize that each sweater is unique, he hand-embroidered the artist's numbering and signature on the back of the sweatshirts, which are 95 percent cotton and 5 percent elastane. Each sweatshirt is unisex and comes in medium and large (20 copies per size). The similarity with the art world is that he first launches each new sweater at a physical event and only adds it to the webshop afterwards.
Everyone who buys a sweater from a collection is, as it were, part of one large work of art. During launches we invite people to show them how the collaboration came about and to get to know the artist. This often encourages dialogue and in this way art and fashion merge with each other.
Denie Put, First Touch, 2020.
Laurens' true passion lies in translating something beautiful into something graphic. He likes nothing better than to challenge an artist like Tom Volkaert, who normally mainly makes three-dimensional work, to think in a completely different way, indeed more graphically. The same applies to artists such as Catharina Dhaen, Leo Luccioni, Sergio De Beukelaer, Jan & Randoald, Denie Put and Shirley Villavicencio Pizango, whose sweaters all emphasize the characteristic of their art in a way that is unusual for them but recognizable to the public.
"Why would you hang art on the wall if you can wear it too?" wonders journalist Catherine Kosters and she’s right about that.
Tom Volkaert, Collage for Bumbered Ny, 2020.