Belgian Fashion Week

Interview by Eline, ambassador of Young Patterns

Every year, the professional federations Fashion Union and Creamoda join forces with a Belgian host city to promote shopping locally. This is especially important in times of Covid, when our local shopkeepers can use that extra promotion. For this third edition of Belgian Fashion Week it was Leuven’s turn.

This year’s ambassador is actress and all-round entrepreneur Kim Van Oncen:

“The love of fashion was instilled in me by my mother. As a child, I had to wait for hours in shops and as a teenager I got to resent it. But blood is thicker than water, and following my mother’s example, I became more and more interested in fashion myself. I also have a profession where it is not unimportant what you wear and how you look. Plus, I am lucky to come into contact with new brands at shoots. I am very grateful for that.

What I would like to pass on to young people who want to work in the fashion industry is: keep your eyes on the prize, don’t get discouraged and work consciously towards your goal. Luck always plays a role, but you also have a lot of control. People are not going to come knocking on your door, so get out there and get to know people with the same interests to build your network. Applying for a job can be daunting, but it’s the ones who don’t stand up after falling five times and the ones who do the sixth time that eventually make it. So don’t give up and keep pushing for what you really want!

That love for fashion has now evolved into my own collection at JBC, a Belgian family business. Shortly after, I was asked to be an ambassador for Belgian Fashion Week. I make all decisions in my life on gut feeling and it felt like everything fit together and the story was right. So here I am today!”

Chiel Sterckx of Mode Unie also has a tip for us:

“Everyone has a specific image about Belgian fashion: it is not made here, it is too expensive, it is not diverse or hip enough, … These are all prejudices that we want to put an end to with the Belgian Fashion Week. So my tip to young people is to first get to know the diversity of the sector. You can do this through general channels such as jobsites, but initiatives such as Mode Unie, Creamoda and IVOC can also help you. And then you will discover where you want to end up and what your passion is.”

Wendy Luyckx, communications manager at the Belgian fashion federation Creamoda, adds:

“We regularly get young enthusiastic and passionate people on the phone who would like to start a label and ask us for advice on this. When working out your concept, it is important to do extensive market research, to define your target group and to think carefully about how you want to stand out in the crowd in the pool of Belgian fashion brands. Together with IVOC, we annually organise the info session ‘Fashion Factory’ during which we give tips & tricks on how to efficiently cooperate with fashion manufacturers as a young designer. Undoubtedly worth attending when you are starting out in our Belgian fashion sector.”

Ready to start your adventure in the fashion industry but you need an extra push? Young Patterns is ready to answer all your questions and doubts. Feel free to book a consultation and we will help you further!