woensdag 14 mei 2014

AVADEM by Anouk van der Meij

Anouk van der Meij is a 24 years old Dutch designer based in Utrecht. She founded her own fashion label, AVADEM, in September 2012. Her label stands for more comfort and spirituality in the (fashion) world. With loose fits and lots of layers, her goal is to make people wearing AVADEM feel happier in their own skin. Her collection will be presented during the Fashion Show Programme.

Hello Anouk! What inspires you in general? 
Spirituality, nature and our society.

What place or city do you find inspiring? 
Anywhere surrounded by nature and my studio are places where I find most inspiration. I haven’t found a truly inspiring city yet, because most cities are too crowded for me. I need the quiet to think, reload and get inspired.

What is it like to be a young designer in your city/country? 
Challenging, but I guess it’s the case in any city.

Would you agree if we claimed that you are obsessed with oversized clothing? Why? Why not? 
Haha, “obsessed” makes it seem like it’s a bad thing. I have to agree I love the look of oversized and loose fit pieces a lot. It has this nonchalance and toughness to it. But it’s not an obsession, more a lifestyle. AVADEM is all about combining fashion with comfort. I try to achieve this with oversized pieces and lots of layers to give some breathing space to the body.

Your label AVADEM debuted last year at the FASHIONCLASH Festival. How was the experience for you? Has anything changed for this year?
I absolutely loved the atmosphere! Everything was organized so well and the people were kind and helpful. It was a great first experience for a fashion show and I look back at it with joy and pride. A lot has changed in a year, I’ve become more certain about AVADEM and its direction. This time I will be launching a collection again on FASHIONCLASH. A new collection with different ideas, but keeping the AVADEM feel.

What attracts you about the FASHIONCLASH platform? 
It’s international and the people backstage are kind. There’s no “fashion-bitching”, just fun.

What inspired you for the “EARTH Collection”? 
Nowadays it seems to me like a lot of people aren’t “grounded”, not really living but stuck in routines and sailing along with our fast society. I know that feeling and I wanted to make a collection that takes us back to earth, because it’s so important to be grounded and be in your life with two feet on the ground.

What is the concept behind your latest collection? 
To make this collection about earth and grounding, it had to be ecological and natural. I couldn’t make a collection about earth while it’s polluting its source of inspiration. So the fabric is either ecological cotton or dyed with natural colors. Some pieces are dyed in coffee or other natural pigments. This was, and still is, quite the challenge though. Next to that, I got inspired by roots, the way they reach into the earth’s crust.

Describe you collection/creation in three words. 
Earthly, edgy and organic.

Did you always want to work in the field of fashion? 
No. I’ve always been creative, but there was always a part of me that liked the medical world too. I decided to choose for my creativity and go to the arts academy, I’ve never looked back since and I don’t regret anything. Until this day, I’m loving my creative freedom with AVADEM and don’t see myself doing anything not-fashion related.

Anouk van der Meij on the right
Can you remember the first piece you designed? 
The first thing I remember was a turquoise cardigan that had never seen a sewing machine. It was something I had made before I went to the academy and I didn’t know how to sew. So I found my way and used strings to make armholes.

Do you have a muse? If yes, who is it and why? 
I always have an idea of a man and/or woman in my mind who would wear my items when designing, but it’s an idea of a person, not an actual person.

What kind of feeling do you want to transfer with your latest collection/creation? 
Being in a calm yet strong place, feeling connected. With your boots still dirty from a walk through the forest. As if you’ve just breathed in a gulp of fresh air and are ready take on anything life throws at you.

What is on your playlist when you are working? 
There’s this Youtube channel called ‘Majestic’, where the best mixes are uploaded.

Who is your favorite fashion designer? 
Tough one, I don’t have just one, I have many! Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackermann and Ilaria Nistri are a few I adore.

What is the latest thing you bought for yourself? 
New sewing needles and a couple of dvd’s of movies I’ve already seen. Sounds strange, but I like to pop in a dvd while sewing. This way, I have a sense of time and I don’t feel lonely or get distracted by the movie, it’s just a pleasant sound on the background.

What is your favorite fairy tale and why? 
I’m a sucker for too-good-to-be-true endings and the feeling that anything is possible, so probably Cinderella. Very corny.

What made you smile today? 
My boyfriend surprised me today, with 2 tickets to the Efteling!

If your life were a song what would the title be? 
"Follow and Trust Your Intuition". I wonder what that song would sound like.

What is your definition of style? 
Feeling good about yourself and the way you look.

What has been the greatest experience in your career so far? 
After the launch of the AVADEM webshop, being able to sell my clothing in real shops. My first "offline" selling point was Puha Store in Utrecht, but in the course of this year I will try to expose AVADEM in more shops. Next to that, being given the opportunity to launch my new collection at FASHIONCLASH again this year! I’m so excited.

What can we expect from you in the future?
International breakthrough of AVADEM, some selling points abroad and more collections are just some of the things on my wish list.

Photography: Jasper van Gheluwe
AVADEM's website: www.avadem.com

picture by Peter Stigter

picture by Peter Stigter

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