Rena Jansen is currently in her final year of her Bachelor's of Design at the HKU in Utrecht. She strives to make clothes that are both wearable and conceptual at the same time. Her work is often bold and colorful, she loves to play with clothing archetypes and reshape them to create something new. Her newest collection, 'Y So Serious', uses overstock fabrics as well as leftover materials from a bouncy house, to support sustainability in fashion. The collection shows a critical analysis of her generation, known as millennials. Embodying the childhood nostalgia millennia's are known for, she expresses this while acknowledging that it is not a sustainable state.
Her collection will be presented at the Show program on Saturday the 16th of June at the SAM-decorfabriek. Get your tickets here.
What made you realize that you wanted to work in (fashion) design?
As a child I always knew I wanted to work in a creative field. At the age of 11 I started to experiment with my own appearance, and throughout my teenage years I changed my wardrobe a lot. I have explored multiple subcultures and identities, and through this I experienced how fashion influenced me as the wearer, how it could make me feel better and how it enabled me to express myself.
Why did you choose fashion?
Fashion turned out to be the medium in which I could best express myself. I remember when I went to the first all-fashion exhibition, I think I was 14 years old, and I saw this video-compilation of Hussein Chalayans performance-like shows. This opened my eyes to how fashion can be a form of art. It is the most intimate form of art and that always fascinated me ever since.
What would you say are your main achievements in your career?
Since I’m currently still doing my bachelor, my career has not really started yet. Being part of FASHIONCLASH 2018 is definitely my biggest achievement in fashion so far!
What are your sources of inspiration?
I get my inspiration from lots of different places. Most of my inspiration comes from youth rebellion, Japanese culture, surrealism, cult movies, consumerism and childhood nostalgia. I get most inspired when I’m strolling through a museum, when I’m watching some weird movie or when I’m deep into some fashionable person's Instagram page.
Why did you decide to participate in FASHIONCLASH 2018? What are your expectations?
To be honest, I am pretty proud of what I’ve made, and I just want to show it to the world. It would be such a waist to work on a collection for months for it to only be shown at your graduation show, and continue its life catching dust in storage. I want my collection to live and to be used for what it is meant for: To me worn.
What do you love most about (fashion) design? What are the biggest struggles faced by young designers?
I love how you can help people by dressing them in beautiful clothes that make them feel good about themselves. I love how you can enable people to express themselves. The biggest struggle to me is that images of every design that has ever been made can now be found on the internet, so during my design-process I am constantly exposed to ideas similar to mine on my Instagram-feed. To me that is very discouraging, it makes me feel like I’ll never be able to create something that hasn’t been done before. Many people tell me that it is impossible to create something that has never been done before, but I don’t believe that. I will always strive to create something new.
How would you define fashion?
Fashion is the most intimate form of art there is, because it’s the only form of art that is directly on the body; it is a form of art in which the wearer is just as important as the work itself. Fashion is a reflection of the world we live in today, it has the ability to visualize things we can’t put into words.
As a person who grew up dressing alternatively, it worries me that subcultures are disappearing. I can’t recall the last time I saw a high schooler who dressed goth, or skater, or whatever. It seems that in this age, where everything you do will permanently exist on the internet, kids are afraid to experiment with fashion. For me this experimenting taught me a lot, and it’s a shame that so many teenagers now are afraid to look different. Besides that, the environmental problem is of course a big issue. I believe we need a cultural change; we need people to start buying good quality clothes to wear for many years, and stop buying so many cheap, disposable clothes.
How do you think fashion contributes to society, can it contribute to a better world?
I believe fashion has the ability to visualize issues in today’s society. Through this, fashion can make people aware, and make the world change for the better. Besides that, fashion can make people more confident , which will make them better people as well. I believe fashion has a pretty big impact in the world, even though we can’t always directly see it.
What challenges do you face in the design process? What are your favorite parts of the process?
One big challenge is that I get too many ideas at once, so I tend to over design or I get too ambitious and try to do more than possible in the given timeframe. My favorite part is when a good idea hits you and you get so excited that you can’t wait till you can elaborate this idea. Also, seeing the final product that you have been working on for months is the best feeling in the world!
Describe your design process in one word.
How would you describe the concept behind your project (for FASHIONCLASH)?
My collection is based on the theory that my generation, also known as the millennials or generation Y, has more trouble growing up and functioning in the work field than past generations. They are labelled as being entitled, lazy, and childish. But at some point we all have to get a career, so what will happen when you put these child-at-hearts at an office desk? With this collection I wanted to make a visualization of this near future.
What inspired you?
My inspiration for this project came from an unexpected experience. Last summer I went to an event called “Hyper Japan” in London, and here I met a couple of British Harajuku-girls dressed in decora and fairy kei fashion. They were very cheerful and their outfits screamed ultimate happiness, but when I looked more closely, I noticed their arms were covered in self-inflicted scars. This contrast intrigued me, I started thinking about how it must be to feel so out of place in this world. Six months later, this experience evolved into this project in which I visualize the struggle of feeling out of place in the adult-world.
How would you describe your project in three words?
Eerie, nostalgic businesswear.
What projects are you involved in at the moment? What are your next steps?
Two weeks after FASHIONCLASH I have my graduation show so I hope to graduate with a good score. After that, I hope to compete in other fashion competitions with my collection. Then, I hope I can intern at some different companies and after that I would love to get a master's degree.
What are your thoughts regarding fashion and religion?
Fashion is a religion because it has the power to connect people. Fashion tells a story and is a reflection of our time. I believe fashion can give people comfort in who they are. I am not a spiritual person, but if I had a religion, it would be fashion for sure.
How does your day look like during the design process?
When I’m designing I usually work pretty chaotic. I do a bit of drawing here, make a quick pattern there, do some fabric sampling in between. And at the end of the day I feel like I achieved nothing because I’m left with many unfinished projects.
Who is your favorite artist?
I’m a big fan of David Lynch’s cinematic work. His movies/shows are almost hypnotic to me, I can never look away even though I have no clue what is happening. The way Lynch’s work makes me feel is very inspiring and I try to make people feel a similar way through my own work.
Who is your favorite designer?
Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons will always be my favorite, but I’m currently also a big fan of Mikio Sakabe, Alex Mullins, Walter van Beirendonk and Schueller de Waal.