What Essentiel Antwerp Wears: Rebekka

Style What Essentiel Antwerp Wears: Rebekka

Posted:
4 april 2020

What Essentiel Antwerp Wears

Rebekka Bach

 

If you follow us on Instagram, you already know that the Essentiel Antwerp offices are dipped in color. From the pink walls in our showroom to the fashion choices our staff makes.

To give you a better idea of #LifeAtEssentielAntwerp and the people that live it, we decided to give you a monthly look into the different jobs, fashion styles, and personalities that walk around those pink walls.

 

Perhaps you recently read our blog article about Denim and are already familiar with Rebekka Bach, our denim specialist. If not, then you’re in for a treat! In any case, we dive deep(er) into her story and her work for Essentiel Antwerp. Make a cup, lean back and see how things worked out for Rebekka.

 

 

 

The beginning of your story in this company: How did you land your job here at Essentiel Antwerp?

It’s a funny question because it was through a friend of mine that I met at my previous job. I bumped into him on vacation and he was talking about his great job at Essentiel Antwerp. He then said: “come and work at Essentiel Antwerp because they’re talking about offering a denim capsule”. He told [the co-founders] Inge and Esfan about me and a month later they called me to have a chat about denim.

 

Did you always work in fashion/denim?

Yes, I studied product design and my internship was at a semi-couture house in Copenhagen. I made stage costumes for the royal ballet which is quite different with all the embroidery, hand-stitching, draping and pearls. There I also had the opportunity to work on bespoke wedding dresses fitted to the individual clients. After I graduated school, I got a couple of job offers and one of them meant moving to Amsterdam and work with a denim factory in Italy. While working there I started to get more experience, and when you get more experience you also feel more confident to explore opportunities, push boundaries and that's how I started to like the denim material and products more and more. On one of my trips to Italy I met the head designer of my former job and that’s how I started working there, which was a journey of 13 years and a great collaboration.

 

It's a coincidental love affair then.

It wasn’t something I aimed for but it’s also not something I think about stopping. Sometimes I think I want to do something completely different but, in this job, there are endless opportunities and possibilities. The denim industry has been doing well for many years now and is showing innovation, progress, and sustainability.

 

Cool! When you came in for your interview with Inge and Esfan you knew that it was for a Denim Designer position. Did you adjust your outfit for the position you were applying for? What did you wear?

Normally I always wear denim from head to toe, but I'm not sure anymore if I was wearing a denim jacket. I do remember I was wearing my red Gucci loafers, Acne Pants and a red T-shirt for some color. [laughs]

 

So now you work here as a Denim Designer. Can you explain your job a bit, what it is that you do?

I’m designing the denim capsule collection of Essentiel Antwerp as of the Spring Summer ‘20 (SS2020) season, which we’ve just launched in stores. The plan is to launch new denim capsules 4 times a year and we’re also launching a few shirts, jerseys and sweaters with more edge that go very well with the denim. It means everything from sourcing fabrics, following up on fittings, looking at denim branding, visiting the suppliers, researching new and better ways of producing, following up the communication between Essentiel Antwerp and the denim factory, … It’s basically all the steps from design to production when it comes to denim.

 

How does a typical day in your life look like?

I usually come to the office and check my e-mails, after that sample fittings with Inge and Tom, I also collect new trends and create mood boards because there are constantly new ideas or topics coming up, … So a day mostly consists of fittings, fabrics, communication with the supplier, approving washings, trimmings, brandings, … when we took this interview, I was working on the denim pop-up, the hangers, and all the details. In the end, every detail counts.

 

 

 

What’s the best part of your job? What do you love most about being a designer?

I love the entire process of having ideas and turning it into reality. I find it very fascinating to see what impact design has on society - the way a person feels and performs whether it’s a sport, going to the office or hanging out at home on the couch. Fashion design has a great impact both physically and emotionally. My ultimate goal is reached when I see a person wearing designs I have worked on, that’s the biggest compliment and achievement as a designer.

 

You mentioned that you always wear denim from head to toe, but what’s your work style like?

I wear a lot of denim, double denim, triple denim, … [laughs]. I can’t help it; I just love denim!

 

Never enough denim!

Denim is just easy to combine because it’s not a problem if the blues are not in the same shade, the denim materials just look nice together. Here at Essentiel Antwerp, we like to combine these beautiful, feminine, flowery printed tops and dresses with denim. It’s beautiful and inspires me to wear these outfits so now, next to my blue denim section in my dressing, there are also colors and prints. [laughs]

 

What is your go-to outfit on days where you have absolutely no idea what to wear?

A high-rise vintage washed jean with a sweater/hoodie and sneakers, sandals or heels. That’s totally my go-to outfit! It’s effortlessly cool, comfortable and street casual.

 

Your love for denim kind of grew by accident. How did you develop that love/interest further than just seeing it as your job?

It’s hard to explain how passion grows on you. I felt the denim material, the designs and in combination with the fashion industry, it was a great “playground” for me to grow in and explore. I simultaneously had challenges, got intrigued and was motivated to keep going on and on. I forgot about the time and place when I was working, it became leisure and pleasure at the same time. One day I reached a certain point, I looked around and everything just happened. My first job was a 6-month design assistant function and then that job got me to my next job and that job got me to the next and so on. At a certain point, I realized I didn’t miss working with silks, sateen or other fragile materials. Although the journey of having an idea and finally seeing it, can be experienced with any material I found that denim is more fun for me because it’s technical and challenging.

 

Do you think denim is becoming more modern? Is it changing alongside the trends in the world thinking about innovation, being eco-friendly? Do you think it’s important for fashion brands to adapt to those trends?

Definitely. I follow many different platforms of seminars and check consumer forecasts to be aware of fashion’s impact on the planet. Denim was a polluting industry, primarily due to the usage of virgin cotton, consumptions of water and chemicals. For many years the denim industry has innovated and improved those processes. Today there a so many great sustainable initiatives within denim production and Essentiel Antwerp now offers eco-friendly produced jeans to their customers.

 

SS20 is your first denim collection at Essentiel Antwerp. But it’s also the first sustainably produced collection at Essentiel Antwerp. Was it important for you to integrate that immediately?

Yes, in fact, it was and still is. I asked Inge and Esfan if they wanted to continue working with their own suppliers or if they were open to new ones too if they had new and better options to offer. I’m so happy they choose to support a supplier that is considered a leader in sustainable production when it comes to denim. It’s always easier to go the conventional way, we’re all creatures of habits – so going sustainable takes a bigger effort. We bring a new layer of awareness to our colleagues in the company but also to the customers of Essentiel Antwerp.

 

 

 

You mentioned that you make mood boards and always look for upcoming trends. How do you keep an eye on upcoming trends?

It’s a combination of looking at consumer behaviors, tendencies in the market which is not necessarily fashion related or runway shows. Then there are also always these big fashion come-back waves like the ’90s, ’80s and '60’s vibe – here I sometimes pick up some ideas as well. The mood boards are often combination of things which are so typically Essentiel Antwerp, combined with classic denim, silhouettes and colors. I believe this has resulted in a completely new and fresh attitude of fashion premium denim.

 

What do you think is the key to a great denim outfit?

Perfect fit (first!) and fabric are super important, but also the tone of the color is very important – so fit, fabric and color.

 

You’re a denim collector. Is there a clothing item that you would save from your house if it was ever on fire?

That’s difficult, I've worked with denim for so many years, so I think almost my whole wardrobe [laughs]. They’re my babies so I can’t choose. [laughs] Although there is a pair of jeans that I wore almost my entire pregnancy, that still makes me smile and think of my son. When you wear the same pair of jeans for a long time and look at them later, it triggers a lot of memories. There are a lot of jeans I love because of how they look or how they are constructed, but the jeans linked to special memories are the dearest to me.

 

What's your style secret?

You need to feel comfortable in what you wear – totally no 1. Try to find your own signature style. Whether it’s always pink or denim from head to toe, comfort is key, as well as showing your personality. I recently read a quote saying: “What you wear, is what you are”. I believe that what we wear has a big impact on our emotions and can make your day extra fabulous if you feel great.

 

What advice would you give to young people that want to work in fashion?

Go for it! It’s fun. Follow your gut feeling and vision. I do believe that fashion will have a slightly more technical demand in the future. People will buy with more conscience, wanting to have higher quality and functionality - especially when we see how the world is changing.

 

How do you battle boredom these days?

I’m not bored...[laughs] – I’m actually never bored. I firstly want to say - I do find it sad when I look around - the streets are empty and I’m feeling sorry for the people who are struggling with business or health. This surreal situation can however also be a great moment to do research, think of new ideas, new ways to do things differently, change of mindset and unnecessary habits, both for myself personally, my family and my work. I think it’s a useful time to come out with a new view and learnings. I’m sure there will be a world before and after Covid-19 and I think the planet is trying to tell us something.

I’m not really a Netflix type of person, nor a couch potato but I read books about sustainability and health for example. Besides that I of course do all the typical fun things many parents get to do these days, such as home schooling my 5 year old son and spend quality time together. When he has a creative assignment for school - I tend to take over…[laughs]. I'm cooking and baking and even started my own family cookbook to collect our favorite recipes. I’m also cleaning up my waaaayyy too big closet…and finding so many things I never knew existed. I'm getting inspired already - and hope you are too!

 

Items worn by Rebekka

 

Graffiti-print denim jacket

Black hoodie with logo-print

Perforated denim mini dress

Distressed high-rise jeans

 

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LOVE IS ESSENTIEL.