4 YOUNG & PROMISING BELGIAN FASHION BRANDS
It has been a rough couple of years for small local businesses, and some of them deserve some praise for their outstanding creations. Besides supporting local artists, it’s also highly beneficial for the environment to abstain from buying clothes that were produced on the other side of the globe. On top of that, as ‘tis the season to buy presents, you might want to add some of these local creations to your holiday wish list.
Here’s to four selfmade and ambitious local fashion brands!
Article by Hanne Vansteelandt.
Malika already knew from a very young age that she wanted to become a fashion designer and create her own clothing brand. In February 2021, she realized her ambitions and founded the fashion brand M C K DESIGNS, where sporty meets elegant. The M C K signature look is without a doubt combining a top piece with a bottom piece in the same colour, creating a minimalist, monochromatic outfit.
One thing Malika values highly is that everyone should be able to wear her designs. Since she makes everything by hand, she is capable of creating high-quality pieces in custom sizes. On top of that, fabric waste is avoided as much as possible, considering she only starts creating when an order has been placed. In the beginning, she also shot and edited the pictures for each new piece herself, but recently she started working with photographer Robbe De Wael.
M C K DESIGNS grew mostly through social media and the brand continues to grow every day. Malika would love to expand her brand and reach new customers beyond the borders of Belgium, which requires a lot of dedication and effort. Luckily, Malika is very determined to reach her goals, and we can’t wait to see what her next steps will be.
The foundation of Amber Feijen and Bogenna Ivana’s brand, oyu studio, is a network of thinkers and artists who connect through their creations. The studio works together with creatives of all kinds and gives them the opportunity to create unique silk canvases. These artworks are sold in limited amounts on the oyu studio webstore and can be worn by everyone. No matter who you are and how you identify yourself, oyu celebrates the distinctiveness of people and the differences that define them.
The square canvases are a perfect medium for artists and creators to express themselves. A plain outfit can be lifted to a whole other level by adding one of oyu’s 90x90 artworks. Moreover, it is important to Amber and Bogenna to not only connect with other creators through oyu, but also to give their customers the chance to express themselves through the art printed on the canvases.
oyu studio is now launching its third collection, which is in collaboration with Tom Hancocks, Daniil Lavrovski, Cassius Verbond, Emarpez, Esther Noben, Ramy Moharam Fouad, Mills Boogie and Emilia Brys. The pictures for this collection will be shot by Ashley Röttjers. This is only the start of oyu and Amber and Bogenna are excited to discover where the studio and the future collaborations will take them.
Besides being a fashion designer, Célénie is also a storyteller and an art director. Thanks to her wide range of skills in both the fashion and art industry, she is able to create something that goes deeper than merely appealing clothing pieces. Célénie views fashion as a powerful tool, as a creative universe that is influenced by the past, the present, and the future. According to Célénie, fashion has the ability to tell stories and to change one’s view of the world.
Working together with Célénie is just as much about the process as it is about the result. Prior to designing a fashion item, Célénie always conducts some research. Asking questions and connecting with clients is her favourite step in the designing process. She tries to dig below the surface to reveal someone’s deepest feelings and to translate these feelings into a design. Based on her findings, Célénie creates clothing items that truly represent who the client is. After designing custom-tailored clothing pieces, she loves to shoot a short movie with her client as the main character wearing the outfit she designed.
One of Célénie’s main goals in everything she does is to normalize sensitivity and vulnerability. Not only does she attempt to open a conversation about certain thoughts and desires through the fashion items she creates, but also through short videos with small messages that she posts online. Through these videos, she is able to connect and interact with her audience, which she finds immensely valuable.
Wabi-sabi, this is the philosophy Itsaree Phuklang, the owner of NKM, lives and creates by. The essence of this Japanese way of living means finding beauty in the imperfection of things. The constant pressure of having to pursue society’s beauty standards is not only exhausting, but it’s also neither challenging nor exciting. Instead of striving for perfection, Itsaree creates unique, chaotic, and colourful designs, which she then prints on silk scarves.
Itsaree creates her designs by combining the observation of ordinary life and her own imagination. Instead of sketching the idea first and then creating a final version, she immediately starts to apply ink on a canvas. If the drawing happens to not turn out how she imagined it, she just continues to work with what she has. This is an example of how Itsaree implements the wabi-sabi philosophy in her work. In this way, the result is often surprising and different from what she first expected. And above all, it’s very important for Itsaree to enjoy the process. If you do something that makes you happy, it always works out.
NKM scarves are printed by small local Thai entrepreneurs, since Itsaree is of Thai origin herself, and she really wants to support local Thai businesses. The scarves are very versatile and can be worn in various ways. Obviously, they can be worn the way people usually wear scarves, however, they can also be used as an accessory, by tying them around your handbag for example, or, if you prefer a bolder look, the scarves can even be worn as a top.
What are you waiting for?
Other than these four brilliant fashion brands, there are a whole lot of other local fashion designers you can purchase your newest looks from. Look for them, check them out, and give local brands a chance. How much cooler is it to wear an outfit that was designed by a talented designer who lives around the corner than by your go-to ordinary fast fashion brand? Exactly, way cooler.