A Chat with Colette's Latest Collaborator, Typographer Pieter Ceizer

Font geeks will be fascinated by the work of Pieter Ceizer.
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Font geeks will be fascinated by the work of Pieter Ceizer.
On the wall at Colette.

On the wall at Colette.

Words on clothes are always a thing, but right now they're a very big thing. From Cynthia Rowley's Fall 2013 "New York Fuckin' City" t-shirt, to Maison Kitsune's "Parisienne" sweatshirts and hats, to the countless iterations of the Céline logo—"Céline Dion", "Féline", and “Céline Up the Bitches" are just a few of our favorites—there's a saying to fit every style and temperament.

And for those of us who are semi-font geeks—I say semi because I know what I like, but I don't know that much—it's fun to wear tees with great typefaces. One typographer I admire is the Amsterdam-based Pieter Ceizer, who sells t-shirts, skateboards and prints on his website that are lettered with his unique typefaces, which form un-ironic sayings such as, "The Time for Hesitation is Through".

Indeed, it is! Now through August 31, Ceizer's latest work is on display at Colette. If you're in Paris, stop by. If not, read our conversation, and visit Colette.fr and StudioCeizer.com to buy something.

Fashionista: How did you get into font design? I got into drawing letters and typography stuff when I was 11—I saw graffiti writers in Amsterdam at my local skate spot making impressive stuff. Plus, I could never draw illustrations and portraits well, so letters was a good way out.

A sweatshirt Ceizer designed for Paris streetwear brand EN's.

A sweatshirt Ceizer designed for Paris streetwear brand EN's.

At what point did you start putting your designs onto clothes and skateboards? At first I started to draw on old jeans. Then I made all of my friends a pair of jeans with letters all over. Everybody loved the designs, but nobody actually dared to wear them—I guess it was a little to crazy. But people were into the t-shirts. My first deck designs were for a skate shop in Holland called Rollin.

How did the Colette collaboration come about? Colette sold my previous brand, PL Clothing, so that's how they know my work. Last year, they gave me the chance to make their first T-shirt of the Month. It sold out in about 24 hours. I showed Sarah [Lerfel, owner of Colette] some more drawings and designs and together we came up with a few concepts.

Who are some of your favorite typographers? Most of the time I'm inspired by typography on the streets. Like today, I saw one of the coolest neon letters in the northwest of Paris that just said "Club Coiffure". I'm crazy about vintage type design from the early 1900s, French vintage soap packaging, stuff like that. The creators of these things are unknown most of the time. I also like a letter-painter named Leo Beukeboom, who used to do do all letters on cafes and bars in Amsterdam, some of which still exist.

Ceizer's prints on display at Colette.

Ceizer's prints on display at Colette.