Everybody and everything has a unique role to play in the universe.
Nothing is for nothing. In every nothing there is a valuable thing.
In my work I am always looking for ways to create and inspire awareness and to search for and find this unique present each of us is gifted with.
Although I started in art school with photography and fashion as my favorite subjects, my passion for photography was not more than a sidetrack for a long time.
I worked with great people like Lidewij Edelkoort in Paris. Li showed me to trust my intuition and make trends. Some years later I met Rattan Chadha and while working with him I learned all and more I ever wanted to know about branding, the need to keep and make deadlines, work with schedules and the effect of marketing.
The lessons I learned from working with these two great expert proofed to be a good foundation to set up my own business together with Edwin van Wijngaarden who gave me, by providing his commercial skills, the opportunity to create my first own brands Bohemian and Just B.
Designing and producing clothing was not enough for me. To really connect with my customers it had to be more. So I set up my own shop in Brussels: Well-being for body, mind and soul. This was the place where I offered people, besides a nice dress, also herbal teas and tarot readings.
By the end of the 20th century, after years of fashion design, I realized that I must have been responsible for millions of garments and I decided it was time to clean up. I sold my shares in Bohemian and Just B. with the wish to make something more sustainable, meaning items that are timeless that grow better while ageing. Not more and more collections. This was the opposite of what commerce and the industry required. To survive they have to have, and sadly enough still do, more sales each season. This resulted for me in another label: B. YOND; clothes that were made out of recycled garments.
In the year 2000 Li Edelkoort, by then director of the Design Academy, invited me to join her at the newly set up Masters department for the Design Academy Eindhoven. I accepted and it was a great way to pass on, and share with designers from all over the world, my knowledge about design and well-being so far.
While working with the students on sustainable and social design I found that still very few companies at that time where concerned with sustainable issues.
I believe in a more mature attitude towards clothing. Clothes should have a longer lifecycle than it has today. It should be made in respect with you and your personal well-being, the well-being of the producers and the well-being of the planet. Simplify. Make more with less. Clean Cotton was born. A next label that would not have been there without Nanke Bartholomeus.
The future of fashion is not found in producing more and more as it is today, but in developing and focussing on less waste and timeless pieces. Quality versus quantity. We are living in a world with omni possibilities where linking different disciplines like biology with technology, spirituality with art and science is the future and will be the most fertile ground for co-creation.
The source for well-being, for me, is found in doing the things I love with heart and soul. It’s beyond matter, beyond the things I create, beyond the product, beyond the body. It’s something that is priceless, unique, authentic and timeless. It is the process, the creative and powerful energy that flows, when you do something that matters, that makes it all worthwhile.
It doesn’t matter what your job is or what you have, but it does matter what you do, with what you have. Care.
I selected here some of the projects I worked on or still do. Under the ‘chapter’ Branding you will find my own labels and under Design some other design activities.
Although I give myself for more than 100% in whatever I do, in the end what really matters happened in between, when I was busy making other plans….
Happy with what happened I am thankful to the presence of all and everyone that co-creates the cosmos with me.
(picture Arnold Vente, 1991)