Juliëtte Heijnen Performance takes place Sunday June 14 at 14:00 and 18:00 (free entrance)
Q&A with designer Juliëtte Heijnen:
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a way of expressing myself. In fashion industry, you can be whoever you want. Fashion is a chameleon for me. It changes every day and I make my own rules in it.
How long have you been designing clothing?
That’s a good question! Doodling outfits is something I already started doing when I was a child. But the real designing started 5 years ago when I came to Rotterdam to study fashion.
How would you describe your work?
It’s simple but also unique because of the choices I make in the proportions of the garments. I like to enlarge pieces to see how it works in different materials.
Could you name some key materials that you use in your design?
It’s always unique. The designs themselves lead me to materials, or the other way around.
What is your most notable achievement up to now in relation to fashion?
My most notable achievement is my “VETTIG” sweater. It’s a unisex garment based on the idea of obesity. And it was selected for a project cooperated with Margreeth Oltshoorn. The sweater was presented in the store.
What made you step into the field of design?
Five years ago, I watched the first show of Viktor & Rolf shown on television. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to dress people with the clothing designed by me, though I didn’t know what it really meant at that moment. I keep working on with my dream to this day.
Who are your artistic influences or inspirations? Why?
I don’t know why, but I like to work with historical subjects and give it a modern twist. I would look around to find out what kind of art fits the subject and make a moodboard with the most interesting art I can find about the subject.
“Fashion is a chameleon for me.”
How do you balance between the function of the items and the appearance of them?
The only functional element in the items made by me is that you can move in them freely and that they make your skin feel comfortable. The appearance is the most important factor for me to consider in my design. It doesn’t have to be beautiful. Ugliness might also be an option for me. But it has to be an interesting piece that can draw everyone’s attention.
What does your collection (creative work) try to communicate? What is about?
The collection that I am going to present at FASHIONCLASH is about all kinds of gender. What I want to express through this collection is that it doesn’t matter if you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, or whatever kind of sexual. The important thing is that we are all searching for our soul mate in our lives. That is to say, everyone is on the same journey. Therefore, we must accept everyone and their uniqueness.
What do you strive for in your work?
An interesting image, where people can make the choice if it’s beautiful or ugly. I’m not an aesthetical person, but more a story person.
"Everyone is on the same journey. We must accept everyone and their uniqueness. "
It’s hard to say. Sometimes it takes a while before I know exactly what I want to say or to show to the public. And sometimes I have an idea in my mind for a long time and then I am always searching for the right moment to start this specific project. But usually before I start designing, I would always make a moodboard first and then do collage designs before I make the final ones.
Projects that people want to look at again and again. It is not necessarily to be beautiful, but it has to be interesting.
What are your views on gender categorization in fashion? As in differentiating between male/female collections, is this necessary?
I think it’s necessary to remain differentiation in the male/female collections, because in this way people can have the freedom to choose what kind of person they want to be. By that, I mean the products you buy have the implication of the specific gender you want to be, no matter it’s for male or female. That is what makes all of us an individual. You must feel free and comfortable when choosing what you want to buy and wear, without considering what other people would think of or react to it.
Do you believe the western binary gender system (male/female) will eventually disappear?
I think it won’t disappear. Because there are always people who will only buy products specifically for male or female. But I think this kind of separation will get less, in a really slow way.
What are your thoughts on the idea that unisex is the new androgynous in fashion?
In unisex fashion, you can clearly see that the line between feminine and masculine is getting thinner. But when I look at a unisex collection, I always get the feeling that it is becoming more masculine. So, the androgynous is not what I can see for the big public now. But I think it will happen in the future.
What was the most important thing your parents taught you, that you now bring into your work?
No matter what color, gender or sexuality that one might have, these are just appearances. We are the same people. “Never judge a book by its cover,” that’s what they say.
Are you a people's person or a loner?
I like people, but I have to have my own things. Sometimes I find it hard to share with others or to be surrounded by people all the time. So, I think I am more a loner.
Which item in your wardrobe really typifies you? Why?
The American Apparel Riding pants. Because it’s comfortable and if you chose the right color you can wear it in every occasion. So the comfortableness and practicality are what I like.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
I want to show people a positive or another angle of certain subjects, just like the one that I will present at FASHIONCLASH Festival this year.