iNDiViDUALS – the next generation of fashion professionals

This article goes behind the scenes at iNDiViDUALS, one of AMFI’s selective programmes. Lara Jongejans of Branding and Lisa Galenkamp of Management expose what makes iNDiViDUALS not just a school project, but the birthplace of the next generation of fashion professionals.

Daily basis of a designer: accurate pattern making for the new collection

Describe iNDiViDUALS as a brand in a few words:

Lisa: ‘young, innovative, fresh.’

Lara: ‘unique, diverse, vibrant. Every seasonal concept is a collective translation of the Zeitgeist.’

What was your personal motivation to join the team?

Lara: ‘Before, I had no real clue about the entire fashion cycle. Now I know how everything interacts and is linked with each other. It’s a full time job, you get home in the evening and continue thinking about it – for me that’s a sign of real passion for your work.’

Lisa: ‘My personal motivation is that iNDiViDUALS is a real brand and not a school project. I had already done my internship and specialisation, and am now able to apply the knowledge I gained there. And of course, as the team behind the brand you are free to think about taking the brand where you see it should go.’

Work and brainstorming place of the Branding team in the iNDiViDUALS atelier.

Free – this sounds very tempting, particularly for designers. So, what role do the lecturers have then?

Lara: ‘The lecturers are our coaches. They give advice and support our decision-making by questioning every single detail. It’s always: ‘Why?’, especially in Branding.’

Besides answering the Why, how do each of you individually contribute?

Lara: ‘Design, Management and Branding teams each have a Process Manager who functions as the link between the departments. I’m Branding’s PM, which basically means I control the complete overview of all the work the team does. I do the overall planning but also document our meeting minutes, writing conclusions and evaluations. I have to set printing and shooting dates, and I am also responsible for archiving.

I already saw you working with CAD/CAM, Lisa, but I guess there are other duties that may sound more attractive to potential future iNDiViDUALS?

Lisa: ‘Besides what I do with patterns and virtual prototyping, I also fill the role of General Manager. Like Lara, I guide the process and oversee all the planning. I am also the Fabric Manager. I organised our trip to Paris to source new fabrics for the upcoming collection. I place the orders for fabric and materials and keep contact with all our suppliers.’

The Managers have a small office on the second floor of AMFI.

You two hold popular positions!

Lisa: ‘We have eight job descriptions for each department. It was actually clear for all of us from the beginning which role we would assume. In the instance that there are two Managers interested in the same position, they have to pitch to the team and explain what makes them the best fit for this particular job.’

Besides presenting a whole collection to the market, and being able to keep pace with the industry as a young brand, what’s your biggest challenge?

Lara: ‘Branders are always challenged to think of the atmosphere and question the identity of the brand.’

Lisa: ‘You can say that the designers always want to have something pretty, while the managers always want to know what the costs are and how long a process will take. So my challenge is motivating everyone else while still motivating myself. We are three different groups with different mindsets, but together we make up the next generation of fashion professionals.’

Lara and Lisa retrieve a garment from a previous collection in the archives.

At this fashion brand, twenty-four creative minds are breaking the mould of conventional dressing. iNDiViDUALS could be your way to show off the design, management and branding skills you’ve developed during your AMFI journey. The programme lays a strong foundation for a future career and you’ll get your hands on the real fashion cycle.

Interview and text by Enni Mönkediek, second-year International Fashion & Management student.

Photography by Vanessa Huss, second-year International Fashion & Branding student.