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  • Words by Mr Stuart Brumfitt

Belgian designer Mr Tim Coppens, 36, moved to New York six years ago, designing for Ralph Lauren before deciding to set up his own luxury sportswear brand in 2011. "It was a hobby... with a plan!" he says. Now he works with a small team in his bright little studio and produces the clothes in New York and Italy.

Mr Coppens' latest spring/ summer line was influenced by racing car photos from the 1970s, images of Formula One drivers flying past Hermès boutiques on the streets of Monaco. "They were all very 'whatever' about whether they got out of the car alive, or not. And then they'd smoke a cigarette!" he says, admiring the devil-may-care masculinity of the era. His collection of bombers, sweatpants and blazers includes prominent zippers, panelling and go-faster stripes to reflect that time and pursuit.

While there are always seasonal inspirations, Mr Coppens returns again and again to certain interests when designing. "It's things that I experienced in my youth, when I wanted to come to New York. There was the Kids movie and Ari Marcopoulos' photobook Out And About featuring skaters hanging around. It's part of the brand's DNA. Yes, there's lots of construction and tailoring, but that whole vibe is always going to be there. I wouldn't put a picture of a guy on a skateboard on a T-shirt though." Click on the gallery, above, to discover some pictures of what is currently inspiring Mr Coppens.