JOLINE JOLINK,

ROTTERDAM

“I have always been in awe with nature’s creativity and plain perfection. The unique beauty and colours of fruits, flowers, trees and skies.”

‘Rock the future in a timeless wardrobe’, Dutch sustainable fashion designer Joline Jolink believes in a future where we see mother nature as an endless source of creativity and inspiration. We had the pleasure of interviewing her and hearing more about her journey in the world of sustainable fashion so far.

First of all, how have you been lately?
Like most of us, I’ve been through all kinds of emotions since the outbreak of covid-19. I was very nervous at first. I was worried about the health of my family, friends and coworkers and feared the consequences for my business. After about a month I got calm. Our online store flourished; our loyal customers were heartwarmingly supportive and a new group of conscious customers joined them. I got hopeful about a change in awareness for a better, more sustainable future.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I was raised with my brothers in a village, Teuge, near Apeldoorn. I studied Fashion design in Arnhem; something I had wanted since an early age. It was inspired by my Ukrainian grandmother who made clothes for private clients. I was intrigued with the beautiful fabrics and played dress up when I stayed with her.

Where does your passion for sustainable design come from?
I have always been in awe with nature’s creativity and plain perfection. The unique beauty and colours of fruits, flowers, trees and skies.

What motivated you to start up your own label?
It was something I intrinsically felt from an early age. A clear vision from the heart.

Can you describe your design process and how this differs to a more conventional fashion brand that mainly follows seasonal trends?
We launch mini-collections throughout the year in monthly drops. They consist of timeless designs in changing colours and new designs that are more fashion forward. We develop them in our own studio at a slow pace and take as much time as we need for a perfect fit. We choose recycled and organic materials or use deadstock fabrics and we consciously produce limited quantities.

How do you source your fabrics and do you have any particular ones you like to work with most?
We work with our long time partners and source locally. Our basic qualities are made from long lasting organic and sustainable fibers. Our denims are organic and not treated with chemicals. The ‘leather’ label is made out of fruit waste and is totally vegan.

You’ve chosen a different approach from the traditional fashion landscape, on multiple levels; no more fashion weeks & sales for example.¬†Can you tell us a little bit about your vision behind these decisions?
We have created total freedom by choosing not to sell to third parties such as department stores. We choose a personal approach and reward our customers with an intelligent proposition: NO SALE means you may rest assured that your purchase is valued and therefore we value YOU. We know you are not driven by discount, but motivated by our genuine story and well thought out design.

Would you say the perception of sustainable fashion has changed in the eyes of your customer since you began?
I see a lot more awareness these days and a lot more interesting, well designed sustainable collections. Also, it’s very hopeful that a lot of young people are so involved and motivated. Sustainability is in their core; they have a vegan lifestyle and buy only second hand fashion. They ask questions.

What’s your thoughts on the future of sustainability in the fashion industry? Can it have the impact that’s needed?
Like food, clothes are something we use every day. This means we can choose to make an impact on a daily basis, even if it’s a small one. From the bottom up we need people to demand change.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about making their wardrobe more sustainable, but doesn’t know where to start?
Take a look inside a garment for information about the material (choose natural fibers, preferably organic or recycled) and where it was made (the closer to home the better). Buy form small, local businesses that can provide you with information about the fabric and production. Thrift Shopping is a good idea and so are swap parties with friends. If you buy something, don’t ever do it because it is cheap. Someone, somewhere is paying the price. Or mother nature will. Buy it because you plan to enjoy it forever. Plan to live, laugh and love in your new piece of cloth.

UT Final Five…

Favourite book?
I am currently reading the diaries of Etty Hillesum for spiritual guidance.

Designer that inspires you?
Stella McCartney

First piece ever designed?
Clothes for my dolls, made by my grandmother.

Favourite item in your wardrobe?
Organic sweater & jeans from my own collection.

Insider’s tip to Rotterdam?
Rotterdam has a vibrant energy, but is also very much down to earth. De Nieuwe Binnenweg is where our store is located. In this street and its side streets you will find an eclectic offer of organic food (Laurensius, Buiten) and flowers (Niche Flowershop), best bread in town (Das Brot) and hand made gifts (Voorlopig). There’s a movie theatre (KINO), many bars and lot’s of hairdressers. It’s unpolished. It’s Rotterdam.

Click here to visit Joline Jolink’s website

Photography: Joline Jolink & Nicoline Rodenburg

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