Fi fa fashion

Last week I attended the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam. I saw several amazing shows. However, the people attending the events were even more impressive. The one even more fashionable than the other. So you can imagine my surprised look when I got voted “Look of the day” this morning at Amayzine. A Dutch fashion & lifestyle website. I think that, especially compared to the others, my basic tom-boy look isn’t really that impressive. But I find it soooo cool to be spotted anyway. Check out the full article on their website. Oh by the way, fashion guru and best friend Anne-Marleen was spotted the day before.

Who says you need to be 1,85 to become a top model 😉 Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 14.44.22Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 14.48.57

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Nai and her lovely designs

Every once in a while you meet people that add something to your life so that why I want you to meet Naomi. It was another amazing person, miss Rika, that introduced us last year in Amsterdam. And we met again when I arrived to Kigali a few weeks ago. Just to give you a picture, this lovely lady is hard to miss; she is tall, dark and handsome. 

nai

So besides the fact that she is funny and super nice she is extremely creative. She designs glass artwork with dots made of glass paint. The designs vary from candle lights, wine bottles and glasses and jewelry. And occasionally she goes out of the box for a side project. The first week in Kigali Nai worked on a designs for the Milles Collines fashion show in South-Africa. She literally spent day and night putting dots on dresses and jewelry, but the result was breathtaking.

milles

Right now I am living in Nai’s room because she is out of the country for her first international art exhibition. Next week she will be one of the featured artists at an exposition at HANGAR311 in Mechelen, Belgium. So Europe this is your chance to go and check out this amazing art work! The exposition officialy opens Sunday the 24th of November and will last until December 15th . While you are at it you might as well enjoy a city trip to Brussels and/or Antwerp as Mechelen is half-way!

Normally Rika and Naomi are this lovely roommate couple that call each other husband and wife. Needless to say that Nai is the husband. And while she is out of town I got the questionable honor of being husband number 2. But this house is great fun and it brightened by Nai’s artwork. Drinking wine all of a sudden has become an even nicer event than it was before.

Oh one last thing; Rika is the manager of this all. So interested in buying something? You will need to battle this one first. Just follow her on Twitter and you will know what I mean @rikafontana. No I am just kidding she is as lovely as she looks as she looks ;).

Now dot on: www.facebook.com/naidesigns and try to become friends with these two ladies because they will make your life so much more fun. LG – life’s good 😉

Great minds think alike…Anne-Marleen Cornelissen

AMCMeet 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.

bracelets Anne-MarleenSo 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.

Shoes Anne-MarleenThat 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!

Anne-Marleen close-upInspired 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!

Amsterdam – Summer and/or Fashion

Now that summer has officially started in Amsterdam and we can finally wear our sling-backs and maxi-dresses it is time to change wardrobes and start thinking about what we should wear this upcoming fall/winter. Or even better yet the spring/summer of 2014. Because while the majority of Dutch people are enjoying the sunshine (for as long as it will last) the small group of Dutch fashionistas is preparing themselves for Amsterdam Fashion Week (AFW).

Fashion at AIR

All festivities started yesterday with the kick-off of Down Town, let’s say the “public” part of the AWF, called Fashion Weekend. During these two days AFW joins forces with local fashion entrepreneurs, hip hotels and restaurants and Amsterdam finest museums. The activities organised vary from workshops to pop-up runway shows and from exhibitions to fabulous fashion parties, of which the most renowned one hosted in Club Air.The goal of Fashion Weekend is to bring fashion from catwalk to sidewalk.

Although sidewalks often have proven to be as fashionable as catwalks (check out ELLE dispatch Street Chic or the “On the street” pictures of The Satorialist) it is always a pleasure to see the runway shows. After Milan and Paris it is now up to some of  Netherlands finest designers to show their designs to the world. 

A few of the upcoming highlights are predicted to be SIS by Spijkers & Spijkers, Claes Iversen, and DEFILÉ TONYCOHEN

Nieuw Jurk

However, I am more curious about the show of Nieuw Jurk by Fashion Lab Pro and of course the Lichting supported by G-STAR RAW. The Lichting brings together the best Dutch fashion academy graduates of one year in one central catwalk show. The show is an initiative of AFW, HTNK  and The New Institute in cooperation with G-Star RAW. The original idea of this event was to bring young designers and the fashion industry closer to each other. Today the “winner” of the Lichting receives several prices that promise a kick-start to his/her career in the business. Besides that the show has proven to be a true inspiration for young hipsters in Amsterdam. 

So it is nice to see that the city is not only enjoying summer, but also is being fashionable. The  Amsterdam Fashion Week is from 6 to 16th of July. You can check out more details on their website: www.amsterdamfashionweek.com