Meet Anne-Marleen Cornelissen (28), the second of my friends that I am interviewing for my “Great minds think alike” column. If you haven’t read the first edition. Go be ashamed or read it here. The idea of the column it to reveal the secrets of my friends’ careers and get some insider tips on how to become as successful as they are After all, great minds think alike…
Anne-Marleen is one of my most energetic and creative friends, always up for adventures and never afraid to express herself. With her motto “Less is more, but sometimes less is boring” she has the right attitude for an ubercool fashion chick.
Have you always been this creative and energetic? Yes, I guess so. When I was little girl I used to do crafts and make drawings. My mom always called me a little entrepreneur because I would have all these little projects. I would like to make bracelets, set a trend and then sell them to friends during Queens day. So yes, looking back it is true that I have always been focussing on turning my ideas into actual things. So what did you wanted to be when you grew up? she laughs – When I was little I always wanted to be a zookeeper for monkeys. I adore monkeys. I think in practically all my childhood pictures I am carrying around my stuffed monkey. I used to take him everywhere. People even called me Anne-Aap (read: Anne-Monkey). I also always used to play dress-up and where a thousand bracelets. That last hasn’t changed very much by the way. But it wasn’t until later that I got officially passionate about fashion and that I realised I wanted to do something in the fashion industry. So that became my focus point during my studies. My high school, Rudolf Steinerschool, allowed me to develop my creativity. During my college degree at the Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam, the Dutch creative college for media, design & technology I further focussed on fashion.
What was your first encounter with the real fashion industry? Dutch fashion stylist Isis Vaandrager came to our school to tell about her work. I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do. So, I got determined to do an internship with her. I went through a lot of trouble to get her phone number – at that time there were no social media yet, so no hashtags to get in contact with people. After talking to her I convinced her to invite me for an one-day internship. I worked my ass off an proved her that I would be the perfect intern. She never worked with an intern, but she decided to give me a chance. I interned with her for a year and this was when I met Marlies Dekkers for the first time. I assisted Isis during one of the campaigns Isis did for her brand marlies|dekkers. (read: Anne-Marleen and I became friends while working for Marlies Dekkers). So how did you end up as the fashion stylist for marlies|dekkers? During the fashion shoot with Isis, Marlies saw me at work. She invited me for an interview at her office and I met with her several times when she offered me the opportunity to do my graduation internship with her. She offered me my internship as a trial-period for a fixed contract after my graduation. At time I was planning to go to Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) after my studies, but I decided to take my chances and I started working for Marlies. My idea was that I could always go back to school. I never did of course and ended up working 6,5 years at marlies|dekkers. I know you did a million different things at marlies|dekkers, but what were you favourite projects? My favourite things were the international fashion shows, like Lunapark and Victorian Vampire Night , and events. I really like the bigger projects where you had to brainstorm ideas, come up with a theme and a full concept. Turning the concept into something tangible with fashion styling and a show/event as a result really was my favourite thing. I think in general my strengths lie in full concept development.
So now you are working as a freelance Fashion Stylist, Concept Developer and Brand Marketeer. How do you find your clients? Over the years I built a broad network within the fashion industry. Next to this I am being supported by agency Eric Elenbaas. So I have been able to find some great clients. What have been your favourite clients so far? I really love working with the brand Catwalk Junkie and Kultivate. I have styled their first fashion shoot and was involved in creating the concept and thinking about their brand marketing strategy. Furthermore, I liked doing the Sacha campaign as well. What are the advantages of being a freelancer? In my opinion the biggest advantages are your freedom and the fact that you get to work with different clients/brands. I also like it that I am my own boss and I get to make my own decisions and to divide my own time. As a freelancer I get do things myself And the disadvantages? Well the advantage of doing things yourself can also be seen as a disadvantage. Especially in the creative process it is nice to brainstorm with people in a team. So fun colleagues is a thing that I miss as a freelancer. In addition, the fact that the job can be insecure and that I have to do my own administration and taxes (with a little help from my dearest brothers in law) make me re-think the freelancer business sometimes. Thus not going to be a freelancer forever? Not necessarily no. Right now I really see it as a great opportunity for my personal and professional development. I have learned so much from this experience and I am really happy that I took this chance. But if there is a next challenge crossing my path I will definitely take it. Then what would your next challenge ideally look like? I would love to do something more related to branding and not just focus on fashion styling anymore. Ideally I would be part of a creative team that collaborates on innovative brand marketing strategies. In fashion? I love fashion, but I find it more important to work for a cool product. I would love to work for a product that sells an experience, like for a liquor company, and help bring that experience to life.
That sounds like something that would fit your perfectly! But for now do you have any cool projects in the pipeline? YES I DO! I am going to sell my jewellery together with Catwalk Junkie. It will be called Catwalk Junkie x FOH. There it is…You have the scoop! The project will be launched shortly at rockstarrevolution.com. So keep an eye out for it!! Cool! You are wearing some of your pieces right now. Where do you get your inspiration? I get my inspiration from a lot of things. I try to get across the summer festival, going to beach, feeling like a hippie theme. Basically I am inspired by all the things that I do and the people that I meet. Any recommendations for us? Of course. There is tons of cool people to follow on Instagram. But if you prefer to go actual shopping there is a cool stores to check out. In Rotterdam I always go to Louen and Objet Trouve – both the in the Pannekoekstraat. In Amsterdam I always go to Cottoncake. Besides the small boutiques I am also a big fan of Urban Outfitters – can’t wait until it opens in Amsterdam – and Forever 21. Well I guess we are all waiting for UO to open in Amsterdam. Do you have any other plans for this summer that we should tag-along on? I am going to Ibiza in September. A bit of a cliche, but must-do for summer. And secretly I am hoping for a trip to Buenos Aires in the fall. We’ll see what the future will bring! Could not agree with you more!
Inspired by Anne-Marleen’s story? Check out her work as a freelancer at annemarleen.com. Follow her on Instagram, like her on Facebook and let me know if you want to meet with her in person. I’ll hook you up with a great date.
Until next time!