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Out There
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
eco-friendly shirt and woman

‘To do a show is one thing, but to stand there selling your own designs, that’s a completely different story. Because some people just say: ‘Jeez, that’s ugly!’ while I’m the one who’s created it. It’s my baby!’

Words of my friend Edwin who was still brave enough to become the salesperson of his own work. Physically I was in Zurich last weekend, but spiritually I was standing in De Bijenkorf right by his side. It was Dutch Design Week in the Netherlands and the designers from the Red Light Fashion Project were invited to sell their designs in a chic department store. Always doing haute couture and ‘made to order’ dresses, this was the first time in his life Edwin sold his work in this way, and he was pretty nervous about it, although he sold a dress and one of our eco necklaces from Brazil.

Edwin is not the only one fearing the sales aspect of his creative business: in fact it’s a struggle most artists face. And since it’s Dutch Design Week, I feel I should devote some space to upcoming young people that are doing great stuff. Like This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it who creates eco bags with people in Dhaka, combining traditional craftsmanship with natural, durable materials. Or the artificial leather, animal friendly bags of Hardt Roze , a collective of pink-champagne-loving chicks. With winter hitting this little valley, I opt for some hug-me knitwear of These Flocks , hand-knit and traceable back to the sheep that provided you with its wool. And as a change to Edwin’s collection I’m showing off all the time, I’d love to wear some Bloom! jewellery of Lotte van Laatum. Together with first generation Turkish women in The Netherlands, she has created amazing pieces incorporating traditional skills with contemporary design. I also adore the ideas of Eleonore de Ruuk and Fenny Faber who design functional items like a backpack-hoodie and a scarf with pockets. And with all these new must-haves of young designers, I should get the Domestic Snake from Chevalier-Masson to organize my wardrobe.

During Amsterdam Fashion Week, one of Edwin’s dresses was chosen as ‘Dress of the Week’. ‘My dress is showcased in the window of Maison de Bonneterie right now’, he told me yesterday. ‘That’s cool’, I said to my contact person there, but your store is not a museum, is it? Wouldn’t it be a good idea if I sell something as well? My eco accessories for example?’

Edwin is out there now and I think he’s getting the hang of it.

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