Céline De Schepper is on a roll. Ever since graduating from La Cambre Mode(s) in Brussels last June, the 23-year-old Belgian designer has not really had time to procrastinate. De Schepper ‘s energy is contagious and she loves to talk. Spontaneous and charming, she comes across as a smart and articulate girl.
Her graduation collection celebrated quirkiness and female pride, using print and adornment in unusual ways “I was inspired by American icon Iris Apfel, as well as Mexican altars. I’ve always loved eccentrics. Even though I want my cuts to be streamlined and precise, I used styling effects to create a feeling of exuberance and richness. I define my work as a new form of luxury. Individuality is the biggest gift we all share.” Her colourful and festive vision could not have been better timed. Prints have been prominent lately, offering designers a chance to distinguish themselves. With digital developments in textiles and fashion mirroring our global age, pattern is quickly becoming the new black.
“Clothes should be about pleasure and self-expression. People who wear my pieces are free to make them their own and it all happens in the mix.”
De Schepper is more than aware of the competition, but it doesn’t stop her from pursuing her goals “I don’t overthink what I do and go for things that make me happy. My take on fashion is instinctive. I want materials to be sensual and value quality above all. I guess I’m not interested in a formulaic concept of elegance. Clothes should be about pleasure and self-expression. People who wear my pieces are free to make them their own and it all happens in the mix.“
Despite owning some of that conceptual edge Belgian fashion tends to cherish, there’s also a sense of reality in De Schepper’s clothes. Brussels style emporium Hunting and Collecting approached her last year, asking if she could design a capsule collection for their store “I really enjoyed working on that project. I think Aude and Niels (the store’s owners) understood what I was about, allowing me to expand on my show and offer more commercial options. There are obviously things you have to simplify, but I think the overall spirit is still the same.”
De Schepper is an avid learner and her mind works fast. She’s clearly ambitious, but not in a greedy way. Even if she’s already understood that diplomacy is key in this business, she’s more critical when it comes to her peers’ fashion sense “I find that people in Brussels could be a bit more adventurous with their clothes. It’s all quite tame, isn’t it? When I go to London, I love seeing girls wearing huge bows or wide hats. These are the kind of details that make people smile. The crowd here looks rather grey and dull. I think a touch of colour adds a positive stance to the street. There’s a strong French influence in Brussels. You see a lot of Parisian brands doing well here and I guess it reflects what people are into. Not that many folks actually want to stand out. ”