With inspiration sparked by the Denim programme at AMFI, two Designers grab the opportunity to create a top selling capsule collection.
Three steps down from me at Amsterdam Central Library’s steps sits Annelies Bellingwout, one half of the duo selected to design a capsule collection for Italian label OVS. Though she has the plaid shirt and quirkily clashing print pants to thank for the blip on my radar, I recognise her by the flaming red hair. Our energetic chat was soon interjected by the calmly confident presence of Elvert Arnold – tastefully clad in an almost all denim outfit. I took a seat next to the two distinctly creative yet very different designers, keen to hear the story of how they created the collection together.
In an initiative to support emerging designers, students from select fashion schools around the globe are chosen by the OVS label to develop capsule collections, which are then sold in OVS stores and online. With denim as the focus of this collection, AMFI was chosen on the basis of its successful Denim programme and location in Amsterdam, the unofficial denim capital of the world. The pair spent their summer working on this year-long project.
Annelies: ‘It was a very useful learning experience, dealing with the reality of things and how they can change. Working with a budget, you also have to make use of design tools to add value rather than by really expensive fabrics or effects.’ Elvert adds, ‘I thought the experience was fantastic, especially since you have to design for a target market which might be different from your usual style. It’s important that it’s sellable.’
The success of the duo’s Premium Denim collection was sealed by their commitment to back up their excitement to learn with hard work – which in this case means the garments are selling well. Annelies is currently spending time on her studies here at AMFI, while alumnus Elvert’s been staying busy as a Junior Designer for Levi’s XX.
By working together, they seemed to have found an effective middle ground for their different styles – where Elvert has a love of vintage, Annelies has a preference for a more sporty, streetwear style. The collection is special because it not only features innovative fitting but reflects an ‘old school’ approach to tailoring where fabrics are used selvedge. The washes are quite light, despite the designers’ initial intentions, reflecting the preferences of the Italian consumer. The melding of these two creatives created looks rooted in denim tradition yet highly accessible and current. No plans to visit the Milan area in the nearby future? Not to fret – shop the men’s line and women’s line online at OVS.it. Want to know more? Watch the video below with Annelies and Elvert talking about the OVS project.
Text: Julia-Beth Harris, second-year International Fashion Design student. Pictures: Julia-Beth Harris and Annelies Bellingwout.