Last month, I got the major opportunity to meet the lovely Emely Van Impe!
I asked her to discuss her first collection after I spotted it at the Rewind Store, in Ghent. And I can tell you, it was love at first sight!
Her collection consists of some crazy, beautiful sweaters and matching scarfs. The main concept of this collection was to combine pastel colours with some spot-on geometric prints. And the best part is: you can mix-and-match each sweater with each scarf! Read: you can create the perfect, one-of-a-kind, and if you want, even a little boyish look! (It’s all unisex!!!) What’s not to like?!
Does it get any better than this? YEEEESSS, it does! All raw materials are bought in Italy, and the collection is produced in Belgium. This brand really has the best of two worlds!
As her label is in its early-growth phase, and as I am in love with the brand, we decided to join forces. She created the looks, I combined them. I tried to keep it quite simple, to make her sweaters stand out even more.
For the first look, I chose to combine the ‘Antoine’ sweater with the fabric of the season: velvet! This fabric, along with a spot of red and blue, totally made the sweater sparkle. Furthermore, to make the look a little bit crazier, I wore some white Adidas socks underneath a pair of flats. You know me, I like that little something extra 😉 And last but not least, I topped it off with some Chanel Rouge… A little touch of lipstick never hurt anybody, right?
For my second look, I went for a basic pair of denim from the 90’s. (Seriously, it was my mom’s, haha). As I assembled it with the second sweater, I instantly fell in love with this kind of vibe. Therefore, I decided to make it even a liiiiittle bit more over the top by adding a fur coat.
All in one: sophisticated, unusual, not too girly, yet perfectly E. Van Impe!
Read the exciting interview below (all about creative-thinking, a clear vision and a lot of CSR) and remember: #Ikkoopbelgisch !
What is your personal background?
“I grew up in a creative environment. Throughout my childhood, I was surrounded with art and architecture, so it seemed quite evident to me . But only now, after all these years, I realized that my background has certainly encouraged me to design myself. After high school, I went on studying textile design at Sint Lucas in Ghent. Here, they taught me the concept often plays a greater role than the final results. I certainly agree that this can give the profound, conceptual depth in design and consequently, could provide a better final result.”
How did you come to the idea of setting up your own brand?
“Actually, the collection was my master’s thesis. I was planning on releasing it a while later, but after I won a competition by Flanders Fashion Institute, it really took off even faster than I imagined. I wasn’t really planning on winning, so when I did win, I was so surprised and I had to launch my production in a very short period of time. I don’t think I have ever learned as much as during that period. One month later the collection was ready for sale in the pop-up space of Juttu shops in Antwerp, Bruges and Roeselare.”
When did you start with your collection?
“I really started mid-September. Ever since, my collection has been available at Juttu. The design and manufacturing process was obviously a long time before.”
How have you dealt this line financially?
“The major problem in starting a collection, label, or in almost anything you want to do as a young entrepreneur, is that you need a starting capital. You need to possess money and financial resources, in order to launch the production process. Fortunately, I got some help from my mother and my savings. So, thanks mom, haha!”
What is the baseline of the collection?
“On the one hand, I was inspired by ‘the awkward family pictures’ of the 80s. You know, those snapshots where the whole family is wearing the same, awkward winter sweater. Therefore, my pieces are all unisex. On the other hand, I got my inspiration from my own childhood. I lived with my parents in a house that was designed by Italian architect Ettore Sottsass. He was very eclectic and used quite a remarkable color palette. So was our bathroom, it had powder pink glass tiles and the roof of our kitchen was mint green. Moreover, our furniture had all kinds of crazy shapes and patterns. Perfectly normal for me back then. Those images that I have are so powerful to me, that I wanted to convey them into my collection. The collection consists of five different sweaters and six scarves. All the pieces can be mixed and matched. They are real statement pieces. You need to have guts to wear them. Besides, when you check out Ettore Sottsass, you’ll immediately be able to make the link.”
What is your unique selling point?
“I give all of my pieces a typical, ‘Belgian’ name (Walter, Jacques, Antoine, Eddie …). So, I refer to the family approach and of course this fits perfectly with the concept of a Belgian label. The latter, Belgian aspect, is one of the most important things of the collection. I think it is important that as much as possible of the production process takes place in Belgium. As a result, I established an excellent cooperation with a Belgian knitting company. Furthermore, I think it is important to shop consciously – quality before quantity -.”
When can we expect your new collection?
“Currently, I am super busy preparing and designing my next collection. It is forecasted to be in the stores by winter 2017. Soon, you will see something on my Instagram!”
What will your future look like?
“There’s still so much I want to do, and there are so many different paths I want to walk. My interests are quite broad. I have so many ideas and dreams! However, I proposed to myself not to start with multiple things at a time. I’m quite a scatterbrain, so it’s important for me to do one thing at a time.”
Where can you get your collection?
“Currently, you can find my collection at ‘Rewind’, ‘L’amuzette’, ‘Au bon marché’ (all Ghent), ‘Le Muzee the L’amuzette’ (Knokke), ‘Villa Maria’ (Bruges) and of course at the online shop.”
What would you like to say to the readers of F&F?
“I’d like to tell them to shop more consciously. Take a moment when you’re shopping, look at what’s actually in the palm of your hand. What’s the material like? Where is it made? By whom? Believe me, I have to restrain myself not to buy something without thinking where it came from. But it’s really important. Even if it is just in order to know your product won’t be outworn after three times. Besides, you can be sure your piece is produced in a fair way and that the people who made it received a fair wage. And thus, no child in India suffers from a disability because the ground is so contaminated by the GM cotton plantations. Here, I’d like to refer you to ‘The True Cost’, quite an interesting documentary!”
Thank you for reading guys!!