• image courtsy of Hunkemöller

    Evolving world of fashion, An Interview with Patricia Beurskens

    Written by Sandra Myhrberg

    In the ever-evolving world of fashion, where trends come and go with the wind, the essence of true craftsmanship and a deep-seated passion for one's work distinguishes the extraordinary from the merely good. Patricia Beurskens, Hunkemöller's Director of Design, embodies this exceptional blend of dedication, talent, and vision. With a career spanning 15 years at the helm of the design team of this renowned lingerie brand, Beurskens has not only witnessed but also shaped the brand's evolution, infusing each piece with the brand’s signature blend of femininity, confidence, and empowerment. In an industry that constantly seeks the new, her journey reflects a rare constancy and a love affair with lingerie design that began almost by serendipity and blossomed into a lifelong passion. Her approach, balancing creative experimentation with a critical eye ensures the brand's identity remains intact, irrespective of the fleeting trends. As the fashion landscape navigates the complexities of inclusion and sustainability, Beurskens's strategic, heartfelt efforts in these areas underscore her belief in designing “for someone, not for everyone,” a philosophy that has kept Hunkemöller at the forefront of lingerie design. This exploration of Patricia Beurskens's journey and vision offers an inspiring glimpse into the mind of a designer for whom lingerie is not just apparel but a canvas for empowerment and artistry.

    Sandra Myhrberg: How did your journey as a designer lead you to specialise in lingerie?
    Patricia Beurskens: I've always been creative and I liked drawing. As a little girl, I always said, “When I'm older, I want to do something with fabric and drawing.” At that time, I didn't realise that being a designer was an option. When I found out that it was possible, I was determined to become one. So, I enrolled in Art Academy, and getting there made me happy. After two years, I found myself in a small lingerie boutique, and it suddenly struck me: “You can design lingerie too.” I had never considered it before, but from that moment on, it became my aspiration. I can still remember that moment in my heart. I was around 18-19 years old at the time, and although I was content with what I was doing, I had never felt such inspiration before. I distinctly remember it was August 2002 when everything clicked. It made sense for me to work with lingerie because I had always been drawing a lot of women's bodies, particularly naked women's bodies, so I was already familiar with the female form.

    SM: What aspects of lingerie design do you find most exciting compared to other areas of fashion design?
    PB: For me, the excitement lies in the combination of fabric and body shapes. Exploring the delicate designs and beautiful laces, and how they interact with the wearer's body is endlessly fascinating. That is where we can develop them. But also, embroideries—they are so delicate, so refined, and feminine. And because it's so sheer, it's how it's playing with the body, and that's really what inspires me.
    Then, thinking about a woman's body inspires me as well. “How does that play?” Because designing lingerie is also very complicated, as it has a function. There are different shapes, but how can you play with it and how can you reinvent it? That's why the material is such a big part of what a design looks like, playing around the body and what I want to achieve. Like a pusher does something different, and now also with a lot of unpadded styles, which you see a lot nowadays.
    Then it's very beautiful to think about the sheerness of material and what you see and how you play with that and that combination. Comfort is also very important, but colour is also a massive part that brings inspiration as well.

    SM: Do you feel like you're using different colours now from when you started? Do you follow the trends with the colours?
    PB: I always like to say that we do look for what is in focus at that time. I have a colour specialist, and we really examine what we are doing. I can see that there is a massive change in lingerie. We use WGSN, a forecasting website, so at the same time, we keep an eye on the catwalks, on what's happening right now. And from my experience over the past 15 years, I've noticed that colour doesn't always change super fast; there is a slow change. Then there's the direction when it's about yellows. It can span from lime yellows to softer yellows. And it's always combined with what's going on in the world. When sustainability becomes a concern, that influences our colour palette. We try to tone it down, but at the same time, why is lavender such a big thing? Because it's a digital colour that works very strongly.
    What you see now is a lot of neutral tones but with a pop of colour. But where does that come from? It's also from a digital point of view because when everything is too muted, it can be distracting.

    SM: I saw that you had the shapewear in different skin tones. How long have you had that? Is it a new thing?
    PB: A few years ago, we already tried to have bras in a lot of different skin tones. But then, you know, that is also exploration, like diversity and inclusivity which is something that is going on in the market, which is super important. But there is also always a kind of exploring to find the best way to not right away put it in store. But to elevate and find an inclusive product.

    SM: Could you elaborate on the process of maintaining Hunkemöller's feminine and confident brand identity in your designs?
    PB: Yeah, it has always been a big topic, especially with our lingerie. It's quite difficult because everybody needs something different. It's important for us that every size is available. So, then we were like, let's buy everything, every size for this design, but that doesn't work as well because a certain design might not be working for a certain size range. The technical team looks into what size will work best for that woman. You have different requirements and different needs. So, we need to make it a slightly different design. I always like to say we design more families of lingerie. So, you fall in love with your print, and if you've got the blue tones, then we say, “Oh yeah, let's create a beautiful lace range within that,” and then we say, “Okay, we'll create a push-up for that.” That's how a woman goes to the store and she likes that. At first, she will feel attracted to the colour direction, to the shape, to the details, and then the next step is, what suits my body. That's how I try to think when we design.

    SM: Sustainability is also an important topic in the fashion industry today. How does Hunkemöller approach sustainability in the production of its lace for Hunkemöller?
    PB: Yeah, so sustainability is absolutely a very big part of what we work on. It's really from the fabric-wise, of course, like swimwear—they have already achieved a 70% sustainable level with the outer fabrics. Lingerie is very difficult, but we are exploring what we can do now. What we work with is lace, so when we have a fashion collection, we get those laces in sustainable yarn. Lines that are running for longer times in our stores try to get the materials as sustainable as possible.
    We have already developed the most sustainable brand. That's how we call it, to not say like Asus or Bleed. So, we have done some projects, and they sell out, which is good. We aim to make every aspect of that bra as sustainable as we can. The signature range and also the material are sustainable. The elements we can do, try to keep sustainability in focus, but you cannot always have it. If it influences the fit and quality, then it's not sustainable as well, because then they get thrown away. So, it needs to be as sustainable as possible from the perspective of our merchandise team. We look at sizes, how many do we buy, how many options, and which sizes they're reviewing. And then the last thing we're doing includes me and my design team focusing on 3D development. We do 3D designing to have an earlier aspect of the product. But it's tough, and you know that's something that takes a long time, but we have already been making a few steps to include 3D designs in the last couple of years. I'm busy getting my team to do this, but it's quite challenging because it's very technical, and for designers, it's different from what we are used to. You usually design by hand, but suddenly you use this technical part, and it has a very different creative process. But that is my future for now.

    SM: What is the biggest difference between working with fashion and Hunkemöller today from when you started 15 years ago?
    PB: What I love is that we've been evolving over the past 15 years. It used to be much more about retail and just selling products. If we were selling lingerie or underwear, I would say, I have a goal to make it more feminine and to embody women empowerment—the story behind brands. That's where we're heading now, and that's where we're arriving. We show that we're here for women. It's not just about our underwear; no, we sell a story. We want to create a community lifestyle. I want to support women and encourage them to explore because exploring your sexuality, your femininity, and your confidence, is all part of the first layer that you put on every day, and it's up to you to decide. We offer different options, and we do our best to provide the best products for those options. It's up to you to play with it, but we want you to feel confident about it.

    SM: And last but not least, what are Hunkemöller's thoughts on the SS24 trends of lingerie?
    PB: So this year, I think a part of what you see is what was in fashion during Corona. When it went to comfy, but at the same time, we also saw that there was a lot of sexiness going on, and you can see it continues and it's slowly going to be mixed. That's how I want to say it. The comfort part is really important. It's going to be a big trend; people want to wear shapewear. So that is something that is continuing. At the same time, the natural unpadded trend is not going to disappear. But there's also more confidence for women wearing an unpadded trend; showing your nipple has been a big discussion as well. So when it's not padded, people will be like, “Oh, I can't show my nipple,” but it's your nipple, you know? That's part of the body. Like, don't judge me for it. If I want to wear this, I feel better; I can wear it as I wear it. So lingerie out there is continuing the way you style it, with more comfort and more sexiness.

    photography Kirsten van Santen
    images courtsy of Hunkemöller
    images courtsy of Hunkemöller
    images courtsy of Hunkemöller
  • Sinéad O’Dwyer Wins Zalando Visionary Award 2024, Setting New Standards for Inclusive Design

    Written by Ulrika Lindqvist

    London-based designer Sinéad O’Dwyer has emerged triumphant as the recipient of the prestigious Zalando Visionary Award 2024, signaling a significant stride forward in the fashion industry's commitment to inclusivity and diversity. O’Dwyer's groundbreaking work, celebrated for its innovative designs that celebrate body diversity, will now take center stage at the Copenhagen Fashion Week runway debut in August 2024.

    The Zalando Visionary Award, renowned for recognizing visionaries in the fashion realm, bestowed this honor upon O’Dwyer for her exceptional creations that challenge traditional perceptions of beauty and form. O’Dwyer's brand has been commended by the jury for its commitment to embracing inclusivity through sculptural pieces that defy norms and celebrate individuality.

    In a statement, O’Dwyer expressed gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the importance of promoting diversity within the fashion industry. “I am truly honored to receive the Zalando Visionary Award and to have the opportunity to showcase my designs at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Inclusivity has always been at the heart of my work, and I am thrilled to see it recognized and celebrated on such a significant platform,” said O’Dwyer.

    The Zalando Visionary Award has also announced the appointment of two esteemed figures from the fashion world to its jury for the SS25 season. Joining the panel are Giuliano Calza, the Founder and Creative Director of GCDS, and Edward Buchanan, the Creative Director of SANSOVINO6. Their expertise and insights are expected to further elevate the award's mission of championing diversity and innovation within the fashion industry.

    As part of Zalando's ongoing partnership with Copenhagen Fashion Week, Sinéad O’Dwyer will showcase her innovative designs on the official SS25 schedule in August, marking her Copenhagen runway debut. The Zalando Visionary Award aims to spotlight designers and brands that demonstrate a visionary approach to creating positive social impact and driving innovation within the fashion industry. Sinéad O’Dwyer's brand embodies these values, with a clear commitment to challenging traditional standards and championing inclusivity. Her designs celebrate diversity through truly inclusive collections and diverse model casting, empowering individuals to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin.

    Expressing her gratitude for the award, Sinéad O’Dwyer stated, “Winning the Zalando Visionary Award is such an honor and extremely meaningful for the business, especially in this precarious time for independent brands. It gives us the support to continue our mission, further building on the work we have been doing to bring a more expansive and equitable vision of beauty to the world.”

    The Zalando Visionary Award jury, comprised of fashion industry leaders such as Giuliano Calza, Edward Buchanan, and Herbert Hofmann, recognized O’Dwyer's unwavering commitment to diversity and innovation. O’Dwyer's designs, inspired by the shape of the body and crafted through innovative techniques such as the reinterpretation of Japanese bondage and experimentation with various fabrics, showcase her dedication to pushing creative boundaries while prioritizing inclusivity.

    Lena Sophie Röper, General Manager, Designer at Zalando, praised O’Dwyer's progressive approach, stating, “Sinéad O’Dwyer clearly demonstrates the values that we want to see and embodies the spirit of the Zalando Visionary Award. The brand strikes the right balance of these values with unique designs, innovative solutions with a provocative, wearable, and exciting collection.”

    As the winner of the award, Sinéad O’Dwyer will receive a €50,000 prize and additional support from Zalando for the show production at Copenhagen Fashion Week in August 2024. This recognition not only celebrates O’Dwyer's achievements but also underscores Zalando's commitment to fostering diversity and innovation within the fashion industry.

    Images courtesy of Zalando 

  •    photography Julia Sixtensson

    Dr. Martens x Rodrigue "Archive Sandals" Collection

    Written by Alicia

    Rodrigue, a dynamic content creator and model, embodies a fervent dedication to infusing creativity into every project he touches. With an unwavering commitment to innovation, he collaborates on captivating visuals and narratives that deeply resonate with audiences worldwide. His boundless enthusiasm for pushing creative boundaries makes him a sought-after collaborator, eagerly welcoming opportunities to work with like-minded individuals and brands who share his passion for originality and ingenuity.

    Embracing the iconic Josef Black and Josef Savannah Tan boots, Rodrigue sees donning each pair as an opportunity to channel the timeless spirit of innovation and originality synonymous with Dr. Martens' latest collection “Archive Sandal”. Just as the fashion of the 90s era evokes nostalgia, Rodrigue infuses his unique style and creativity into every stride, seamlessly intertwining his vision with the heritage of Dr. Martens. This collaboration promises to be a bold statement, resonating with audiences worldwide through Rodrigue's distinctive flair and the brand's legendary craftsmanship.

    What inspired you to work in your industry and what content do you prefer to create?
    I started doing it for the fun of it, but then I realised that there was no one who looked like me in the industry, there was, and sometimes lack of diversity in the industry and I’m trying to break that cycle. Lately I have been enjoying makingTikToks and reels mostly of my outfits, but sometimes of what I do in a day.

    Do you get inspired by any other content creators?
    I get inspired by many creators, it changes once in a while. Lately I have been inspired by @laravioletta she is so cool and effortless chic, she has just launched her own magazine and it’s amazing, I will be definitely subscribing. Another creator I enjoy is @brendahashtag her aesthetic is stunning. Most of all my friends who also are creators inspire me the most! Their every endeavor exudes brilliance, from their unique style to their boundless creativity. They truly excel in every aspect of what they do.

    What is your favorite part about being a model?
    The best part of being a model, for me would be meeting so many inspiring people, the opportunity to be a part of creating something and seeing the end result is rewarding.

    Have you encountered any challenges as a content creator and model, and how do you handle them?
    As a model sometimes it would feel like I was the token Blackmodel, just there to show diversity for a certain brand, but I just learn to not stress about it, regardless. I will do my best and I will be running to the bank with my check smiling. As a content creator it is mostly the same, but again I just learn to brush it off and instead use the privilege to make way for the others who look like me.

    How do you handle feedback or comments on social media?
    I once in a while stumble upon a rude comment here and there on TikTok, but really I don’t care as much because it’s usually the blank profiles that comment or send weird dms.  Also, the positive feedback and comments always outshines the negative, and they always encourage me to keep on doing what I do.

    How do you strike a balance between your personal life and your professional career?
    In some weird way my personal life and professional life has ended up merging together, because most of friends are in the industry, and sometimes I get the honor to work with my friends, which is always a blast.

    What advice would you give someone looking to become a successful content creator or model?
    Not to sound cliche, but just be your true self. Embrace your uniqueness and always remember to have fun.

    What is your first memory of Dr. Martens?
    My first memory of Dr. Martens is back in the Tumblr era – I was obsessed with Tumblr. There was always a cool, moody post with someone wearing Dr. Martens.

    The campaign focuses on the Dr. Martens “Archive Sandal” collection. Do you feel like these vintage inspired styles fit you and your aura?
    I do love a sandal for the summer, and what I love about these, is that I can wear them with a cute outfit and not feel casual. I love a sandal that would still make me strut down the street with music blasting in my ears, feeling myself. 

    Link to Dr. Martens ”Archive Sandals” Collection with Rodrigue here! (Josef Black) and here! (Josef Savannah Tan)

    photography Julia Sixtensson