Introduciton to Marieke van Geffen, 24-year-old Dutch fashion designer. She graduated from the HKU Utrecht in 2014 and established her own label, Marieke van Geffen. Marieke's collection 'EMPYREAN' was presented at the Fashion Show Programme during the 6th edition of FASHIONCLASH Festival.
Encounter with Marieke van Geffen
Please introduce yourself. Who are you? Where do you come from? What is your field of specialisation?
I’m Marieke. I just presented my new collection SS/AW2015 at FASHIONCLASH Festival. Besides working on my collection I follow a course at the Dutch Shoe Academy in Utrecht, where I am learning the craft of making shoes, so I can fulfill a long-term wish of mine: to be able to design and fabricate a total collection from head to toe.
Where are you based?
I live and work in Utrecht. It is a beautiful old city in the heart of the Netherlands, such a nice place to both live and work!
What inspires you in general?
The human body is what inspires me the most. I am always thinking about how to protect the body for what the future will bring us. It is challenging, because only time will tell us what is really going to happen to mankind. Therefore, I make my own prophecies about what the future will bring us. My collections are based on these stories.
What place or city do you find inspiring?
This is a hard one! I find inspiration in many places and people. Ideas sometimes just pop up out of the blue. But you if you want me to choose just one place, I would say Stockholm. The calmness and the atmosphere there give me a happy feeling. The old town and the beautiful nature with a lot of water give me the rest I need in order to create new work. Also, the Swedish way of living and style fits me well.
What is it like to be a young designer in your country?
There are a lot of good fashion designers in the Netherlands. That is great, but makes it somewhat harder to start your own label and succeed. I am still convinced that there is room enough for new designers as long as you are ambitious, passionate and belief in your own concept and ideas.
What attracts you about the FASHIONCLASH platform?
For me FC is an inspiring event where I meet other designers. FC also brings me in touch with people in the business.
Your collection is named EMPYREAN. Where does the name come from?
Due to the greenhouse-effect our climate is rapidly changing. The atmosphere, which used to regulate the temperature on our planet, now forms an impenetrable layer because we humans pollute it with CO2, methane, nitrogen and aerosols. This results in higher temperatures because the heat got trapped between the earth and the atmosphere. In the Netherlands we already notice the consequences: we were used to have snow in the winter, now it is just raining cats and dogs.
With the EMPYREAN collection I want to protect the mankind for this climate change. It is a spring, summer, autumn and winter collection in one. The rising temperature makes the difference between the four seasons smaller, and that is why I chose to make just one collection that is wearable all year around. The ‘vacuum’ I used represents the way of the atmosphere air pressure. They also represent protection for the elements and future changes. What I really like about working with vacuum and inflatables is that you can perfectly accentuate the outline of the body, one of my main sources of inspiration.
The relationship between body and clothing in relation to weather is one of the central themes of your collection. What made you explore this complex relationship?
The weather is one of the first things we think about when we wake up. The weather is something we are interested in because we have to protect our bodies from the elements. Therefore we use clothes. With this collection I emphasize this primary function of clothing and my desire to protect the human body for future changes.
Describe you collection in three words.
All seasons, vacuum and protection.
Can you remember the first piece you designed?
Oh yes! It was a pink woolen dress with brown leather.
What is on your playlist when you are working?
A lot off random music, I love many different music styles. I enjoy Nouvelle Vague, John Mayer, MS MR, Beyonce and Goldfish.
Who are your favourite fashion designers?
Avelon, Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan.
If your life were a song what would the title be?
Nouvelle Vague, "Dancing with Myself".
Twitter or Instagram?
What is your definition of style?
Style is the visualisation, an expression, of your personality.
What can we expect from you in the future?
The future [laughs]. You can expect a lot! New collections that are inspired by my own stories and furthermore. For those who can not wait: come watch the presentation of my SS/AW 2015 collection the 15th of June in Maastricht!
All pictures are by Team Peter Stigter