Stephanie D’heygere is born and raised in Belgium and completed her studies in Fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
She travelled around the world to further her career and eventually ended up in Paris to work for leading fashion houses Maison Martin Margiela, Dior, Y/Project and A.P.C but now She is the mind behind D’HEYGERE, the brand giving luxurious appeal to sustainably sourced and made accessories. She takes her inspiration from encounters with design and fashion in everyday life, upcycling materials of quotidienne origin and applying the brand’s visual language to create unique wearable pieces. We talked about the design process, from D’HERHERE’s outlook on materials to the creation of a new reality.
We have been seeing more “up cycling” in fashion, especially in the Paris scene. What are your thoughts about this?
I think it’s great. It’s something I’m also considering for the future but the sourcing can be a bit tricky and of course it’s a big challenge to produce quantities, ensuring all the pieces have the same quality and style. But I love the idea that each piece becomes unique.I’ve always loved the artisanal collections of Maison Martin Margiela, but that’s considered as couture so you don’t have the production problems.It’s also a small step to contribute to the environmental cause, very small but every step counts.
You have been working with some of the major fashion houses as an accessories designer. What separates D’heygere from this endless fast fashion cycle?
Something I’ve been realizing, especially in bags, is that customers buy a brand, more than a design. As my brand is still unknown, I need to show something innovative in order to get attention. Which at the end is good, it’s an extra challenge. I also think that 2 collections per year are more than enough. Nowadays, I feel there are too many products on the market (sometimes not well thought because of course there’s not enough time) in order to please everyone, in order to sell more. I’m more of a ‘less is more’ attitude.
What are the challenges of starting your own label?
Of course the financial part is hard, finding the right people to work with (I’ve been very lucky, I have a great small team) and being patient. I postponed the presentation of the first collection 3 times because I wanted everything to be perfect.But I enjoy all the different aspects of having a brand, even though my favorite part is the design part.And I’m learning every day, which I love.
Can you tell us about your design process and how your imagination works when it comes to “accessories design”?
Most of the time, I get triggered. By a piece of art, by someone in the subway. I do a lot of observations.
What should young designers be thinking about the future of fashion?
I think the fashion future looks bright! Young designers get attention, but I think it’s super important to get experiences before.And the digital world makes it now easier to communicate.
What is next for D’heygere?
I’m presenting the AW19 collection in January, introducing new categories of accessories.
Unfortunately I can’t give you more details!