Baukjen de Swaan Arons
Co-Founder & Creative Director
Isabella oliver is catering to expecting mothers since 2003. Its founder feels that maternity wear is not a luxury product in the sense that there is a need to be fulfilled. Just sizing up is not a strategy that works for the whole pregnancy.
Fibre2Fashion: Being a mother of 3 kids and handling such a huge brand as a Creative Director is a tough task. How do you manage both at the same time?
Baukjen de Swaan Arons:
We have two brands - Baukjen which is our womenswear collection, a few years old and growing very fast. Isabella Oliver is our maternity collection and the brand we started out with ten years ago. I am fortunate to be doing something that I really love and am passionate about. Its been an exciting journey and I am lucky in that I have a supportive family which makes all the difference.
Fibre2Fashion: Do you feel that the demand for luxury apparel is increasing in the global market? According to you, what is the major reason for this?
In these difficult times, I think people are more conservative in what they spend their money on. Investing in classic, key pieces that will stand the test of time is an increasing trend. Looking at my own purchasing behaviour, I certainly buy less but better. And, I buy most of it online.
Fibre2Fashion: People at times think that certain creations are meant only for the fashion models, ramp shows and celebrities and they are far away from the reality/routine life. What’s your opinion?
Perhaps, but that is absolutely not what our brands are about. Yes we want to be aspirational but we want our clothes to fit women, make them feel great and support them as they go about their busy lives. For us it’s all about style solutions for everyday and making it stylish and comfortable.
Fibre2Fashion: What inspired you to get into such a creative field of fashion designing?
I grew up in a family packed with stylists, fashion photographers etc. So I was from the start surrounded by lots of creative people and have always loved the energy of the creative industries. Working in the fashion industry is probably just a home away from home.
Fibre2Fashion: When it comes to selection of fabric, what is your preference and what points you keep in mind?
Fabric choice is so important. Key is how it feels on the skin, how it fits on the body and how it wears and washes over time. If it doesn’t tick all the boxes, we don’t work with it.
Fibre2Fashion: Which is your favourite fashion city and why?
London. I grew up 10 minutes away from where I live now. It’s home to me and I am still everyday inspired by its pace and its people. There is always something new to discover and being in a challenging environment brings out the best in my creativity – it forces you to look at things with a different set of eyes and opinions every time. London street style is the ultimate runway of inspiration for me.
Fibre2Fashion: Women are said to be very choosy and sensitive about their clothing. Is this a problematic factor in business?
I think women are right to be choosy, I know I certainly am. The great thing about fashion today is that we live in a time where there is so much to be inspired by-social media is a great way to see real women and style around the world and find your personal style and shop at brands that reflect that ethos.
Fibre2Fashion: Do you feel that naming a particular creation or collection is very important?
Each season we try to name the collection by what we are inspired by - this season it’s all about the city we are based in – London. It’s a hub of creativeness and excitement so naming the collection based on the city felt right for us.
Fibre2Fashion: What more can we expect from Baukjen and Isabella Oliver in 2013?
The SS13 collections focus around a look that is sleek and effortless with a luxe, sports-inspired feel. The relaxed ease of the garments and the way they flatter curves is at the heart of the design. Our tagline for Baukjen is “Minimum Effort. Maximum Style.” And our tagline for Isabella Oliver is “Same Woman. New Curves. Those taglines say what our brands, collections and styling stand for.
Fibre2Fashion: Maternity wear segment has no fear of recession in the markets. Please comment.
Maternity wear is not a luxury product in the sense that there is a need to be fulfilled. Just sizing up is not a strategy that works for the whole pregnancy. During my first pregnancy, before we founded Isabella Oliver, I tried sizing up for a few months. While the clothes may have fitted my bump, they sagged in other areas and the overall result was not flattering. Well designed maternity clothes take the changing curves in to account and are designed to flatter them. In that regard, while the recession makes us all be more aware of what we spend our money on, maternity clothing has some 'recession proof' characteristics in that it's a real need that needs a solution.
Fibre2Fashion: What kind of prints and designs women like to wear during the course of their pregnancy?
Pregnant women are not different to women who are not pregnant. They still have their sense of style and it's important to keep dressing during a pregnancy in a way that reflects their style signature. If a woman liked to wear prints before her pregnancy, she will most likely continue to do the same during her pregnancy.
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