Have you ever wondered where trends and changes come from?
Do you know what the purpose of fashion is?
Within our society there are always aesthetic and cultural needs that respond to a transformation and/or evolution of our way of understanding the world and everything around us. Fashion is not just a trend, it goes beyond that. It reflects the personality of a designer, of an artist.
For this edition, we have Axelle Rose Zwartjes, a Belgian illustrator who lives in Amsterdam where she reveals her greatest passion, showing her most distinctive side inspired by fashion and cool, empowered and fun women.
Don't miss her story!
Tell us a little about your life. Where you live, who your family is and your day to day life.
I live in a small city in Belgium with my husband Toon and our son Gaston. As we are both freelancers, we work a lot from home. Currently we live in a small apartment, we actually use the kitchen table as our desk. Let’s say we get along very well.
Our morning routine starts around 06:30 as our son is an early bird. That means we have enough time to take it slow in the morning, wake up with coffee and walk Gaston to daycare.
Once home I immediately get behind my computer or iPad to start working. My work is a combination of visual research, illustrating, meetings here and there and searching for vintage and dead stock fabrics for my little sweatshirt brand ‘Old Soul’.
Yet our routine is going to change as we are moving soon from a busy city center to a quiet village surrounded by nature. I’m always searching for a healthy balance between work and my personal life - which sometimes can be hard as a freelancer - so I do hope a green and quiet environment will help a bit.
How would you describe your illustrations?
Fun, uncomplicated and a little nostalgic. My husband and I lived in Los Angeles for two years, so if you find a palmtree or California vibes in my work it’s because I’m still dreaming of our time there.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere. From fashion to flowers, a specific print or a quirky interior. But it’s always something visual. I’m most inspired when I’m traveling, going through a magazine or watching a movie.
Your designs have an air and a praise for women empowerment, don't they?
They do! Throughout my life and career I’ve met many strong and inspiring women. So it must be a natural translation of my surroundings. I also grew up with two sisters - so I never felt less as a woman, only proud!
You have a long list of clients you collaborate with, what is this part like?
What I love most about my job is to collaborate with other people: it brings out the best in me. Life as an artist can get lonely sometimes, so I try to seize every opportunity when I can co-create with other creative souls.
The most fun about collabs is that you never know the outcome, yet so far it has always been a positive surprise.
Several of your illustrations have messages of support and self-improvement. Why do you opt for this? Is there a reason behind it?
I am an insecure person and a perfectionist myself. Working around support and self-improvement can feel therapeutic. I believe showing my vulnerable side through my illustrations might help other people too.
Tell us a little about your collaboration with AKASA.
I designed t-shirts for a LA-based brand called Youths, where a part of their profits went to a good cause to my choosing - and of course - I picked AKASA.
Through a friend who worked there, I discovered AKASA as a female-led organisation that is determined to bringing education and awareness to low-income youngsters. What I really admire is AKASAs focus on food and health.
All these gorgeous garments are available. Check them out in our website!
Thank you so much to Axelle Rose for this wonderful interview. Discover her work in her website