The Fashion Law - How old are you and you are you from?
I'm 22 years old and I come from the Netherlands, born in Utrecht (the city in the centre of the country).
The Fashion Law - Tell me a bit about your background in fashion.
I graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts inFashion Design from the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem in the Netherlands. I did an internship internship atMantero Seta SpA in Como, Italy, in which I focused on painting and print-designing on textiles for clients in the high-luxury fashion industry, such as Prada, Chanel and Gucci. Before that I had an internship at Peter Pilotto in London, working as an assistant designer in the studio.
Since then, I have been designing for Vlisco Netherlands B.V., as well as designing on my own. I did an exposition together with Henriette Tilanus (the winner of the Lichting G-Star Award 2013) at WinterSALON/14 in Amsterdam. I also showed during Paris Fashion Week last October as a participant of the collective, The Much, Much, which I co-founded.
The Fashion Law - Tell me a bit about your brand.
I think my brand is the result of a combination of contrasting aspects into a new exciting idea. My work balances on the narrow border of high and low cultures. Every new design is a living painting, carefully built up as a collage. The women I design for have curiosity for the world. They are explorers in heart and soul; always searching for the perfect balance between aestheticism and imperfection.
The Fashion Law - How do you think your brand is different from others?
I think I'm part of a new generation of fashion designers who are more working with the materials they're surrounded with. Things we find can inspire us. I always start a collection with the materials and textiles I develop. The ones you didn't expect to develop are the most interesting ones. As a designer I want to create my own world, my imagination, and I build the whole collection almost as a living painting: like a painter uses his paint, I use my fabrics to build up a collection.
The Fashion Law - Why is being a finalist for the Hyeres prize important to you?
My teachers at the academy always taught me to participate in international fashion competitions, not only for winning, but especially to increase my network and knowledge of applications and potential job interviews. Hyeres is a very famous contest in this industry. Although I did not expect anything out of participating, I just wanted to show them my work. While I was building up a new exhibition in Amsterdam, I received a phonecall from France that I'm one of the ten nominees, and I couldn't believe it!
With this collection I just did what I love the most of anything in the world, and to hear that other people appreciate it too is the biggest compliment one can receive. Now that I'm selected, I realize the impact this could have for the rest of my career... I read an article at style.com from Tina Isaac. She wrote the following: ''For a budding designer, just being in the Hyères fashion and photography festival, is a win. [...] For a young designer, that is the big takeaway at Hyères: You may or may not score a place in the sun, but you’ve definitely moved onto the radar."
This description says everything about being a finalist of Hyeres: it's a enormous chance of getting to know the right people who can get you further in this industry where thousands of fashion students a year graduate. I look forward to my stay at Villa Noailles and to meet the other participants. It's going to be fun.
The Fashion Law - What are you obsessed with right now?
Amsterdam! I just moved here and compared to Arnhem, this place is booming. My neighbourhood is the Jordaan: living there feels like living in a village within the city. The people here are totally themselves. Bohemien, street, chic, artists, or everything at the same time. My house is from 1667 and this place is extraordinary. It feels like living in a museum, surrounded by handpainted tiles of Delftware.
Of course I would like to go back to Italy after a while (since my internship at Como I fell in love with this country, the people and the food. This summer I'm gonna learn to speak Italian and get my suitcase for Milan. My dream is to work for a big fashion company in this city), but this will be after the launch of my new collection in July 2014 (with the award I received by winning the Frans Molenaar Couture Award last summer).