10 minutes with The Vanguard: ioannes

May 25, 2020

After the SS20 launch of the Vanguard program, we sat down with the emerging designers behind the latest brands to launch on NET-A-PORTER.

The Vanguard program, now in its fourth season, was set up to formalise NET-A-PORTER’s long-term expertise as an incubator and accelerator for budding fashion talent. Each season, the NET-A-PORTER buyers scout and select international nascent design talent to take part in a coveted mentorship program, aimed at supporting designers in developing and sustaining their businesses.

Amongst this season’s new Vanguard brands is ioannes, founded by Johannes Boehl Cronau, with ambitions to create ageless pieces which reflect an expansive vision of contemporary femininity. Born in rural central Germany in 1989, Johannes was raised in an artistic household, and, from a young age, he set his sights on the creative industries. After studying fashion design in Paris and pursuing further training in Antwerp, Johannes relocated to London to undertake the first ioannes collection at Palais de Tokyo. Currently residing in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, we spoke to Johannes about the inspiration behind his sophisticated yet quirky pieces, his experience on The Vanguard program and his hopes for the future.

Did you always know you wanted to be a fashion designer?

Before anything, I always wanted to be a creator. It was always clear to me that I wanted to live a creative life, but I wasn’t sure to what extent or in which field exactly. I experimented with theatre, considered architecture and fine art but somehow ended up signing up for the fashion course after my foundation studies in Paris.

Can you tell us about the name ioannes – what is the inspiration behind this?

In renaissance Italy and later in northern Europe artists signed their work in the Latinised version of their names. I think to give themselves a more universal and academic spirit. For example, the Italian painter Giovanni Bellini signed most of his works as Ioannes Bellinvs – I always loved this abstraction and its sense of unity across borders. I sometimes think current fashion no longer has a memory and the name ioannes somehow embeds me in a long history of ideas and creativity. The strict lower-case use of the brand name comes from the Bauhaus idea to promote a non-hierarchical language that would appeal to everyone.

What was it like finding out you were selected as a NET-A-PORTER Vanguard brand partner?

It is the biggest thing that happened for the brand and me so far. I felt like I was battling so much before being seen or even noticed as a serious brand. Net-A-Porter gives me the opportunity and support to be introduced to a global audience of customers which is incredibly exciting.

What has been the highlight so far?

The shoot for the Vanguard campaign was a lot of fun, the team was so sweet, and it is nice to for once be the one who is groomed and pampered. But the real great moment was seeing all the garments once they went online and receiving the feedback from customers around the globe who purchased and loved the pieces.

What are you most excited about for the future?

To use this opportunity and refine our internal structure to grow sustainably and steadily. I want to have more time for actual designing, research and crafting the broader vision of the brand again.

If you could pass one piece of advice onto an emerging designer, what would it be?

As a designer, in general, you should have a very clear aesthetic vision, mindset, view on the world, on art etc… But if you want to have your own brand, you need a strong partner who can provide you with a solid foundation to build your vision. That counts for production, finance, PR and sales. There are so many exceptional talents, but running a business is very difficult if the choices you make are influenced by the increasing need to entertain an audience.