Marlou Verheijden

Marlou Verheijden

Marlou Verheijden (28), is a Rotterdam based designer with a very own geometric and colourful style.
She tells us about the road to finding your own style and about the magic of turning a 3D object - into a 2D object - into a 3D object again.

 

Craftsmanship vs style

I always knew I wanted to create, but I didn’t always imagine I would be creating fashion. Eventually I chose to study Fashion Design at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. To prepare for the academy, I started at De Rotterdamse Snijschool (Rotterdam Cutting School). A very old-fashioned school where you learn the craftsmanship of designing clothes. It’s an evening school, so I continued my classes there during the academy. At De Snijschool I learned a lot of old techniques, which was a really good foundation. My classmates at the academy used to call me in the middle of the night asking me about techniques. But, although my techniques were good, my teachers at the academy told me I didn’t have a sense for fashion. They kept asking me to explain my style, but I guess my own style only started developing after I graduated from the academy.

 

'So what is the style of Marlou Verheijden?'

I am always looking for new silhouettes. It has to be wearable, but I like to always have a couple of pieces in my collection that accentuate unusual shapes and proportions.

'On your website it says: “Marlou tries to defragment her view, to discover new silhouettes.” What does that mean?' Marlou: sometimes I literally draw a space, somewhere I have been. From there I start designing. So I take fragments from that drawing and combine them into a new design. This makes me see things from a different angle. I like the process of making a 3D object like a room into the 2D object of a drawing, into a new 3D object: a piece of clothing. This feels like a kind of magic to me. Other than that, I don’t design in a very conceptual way.

 

Once I graduated from the academy, I was so happy I didn’t have to give a deeper meaning to everything I made anymore. Now I design things because they look pretty.
Sometimes in the beginning I still heard the voice of a teacher in my head, saying “No, Marlou, that’s not how it’s done”. But now, the only advice I follow is the one my sister gave me. She told me not to be afraid to make ugly things. This really helps me to find out what I do and don’t like, it’s a way to build my own style.

 

Future

I still make everything on the sewing machine myself, but if I want my brand to grow, I’ll have to outsource that part. I just started a collaboration with a social enterprise, in which immigrants who still have to get used to the Dutch culture but sew very well, start their career. It will take a while before they can really start working for me, because these women have to get to know my patterns and designs first. But once it’s working, I hope I can produce more clothes in a smaller amount of time and for example get the time to start experimenting with digital prints.

 

In the future I would also like to design a children’s collection. Children don’t feel the need to look pretty according to the mainstream view yet, so I would be able to go all out on the design. I have never designed children’s clothes, but I would love to try.
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Marlou Verheijden

Model: Marlou Verheijden
Interview: Carmen Kloosterhuis
Photography: Humphrey Daniels