• Marie-Sophie Beinke1
  • Marie-Sophie Beinke2
  • Marie-Sophie Beinke3

INTERVIEW WITH FFDS WINNER.

WE RECEIVED DOZENS OF IMPRESSIVE APPLICATIONS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. HOW WONDERFUL IT WAS TO DISCOVER THAT THERE ARE TALENTED YOUNG DESIGNERS OUT THERE WHO ARE STARTING TO THINK DIFFERENTLY AND WANT TO CREATE A NEW AND RESPONSIBLE FASHION INDUSTRY. WE HOPE TO GIVE MORE FFDS SCHOLARSHIPS IN THE FUTURE. THIS YEAR THERE COULD ONLY BE ONE RECIPIENT. HER WORK IS FAR FROM WHAT YOU'D EXPECT FROM A 'CONSCIOUS' STUDENT. THE BA COLLECTION SHE PRESENTED LAST YEAR WAS AN INTRIGUING COMPOSITION OF INNOVATIVE PROPORTIONS AND BOLD COLOURS. MEET FFDS WINNER MARIE-SOPHIE BEINKE. MARIE-SOPHIE, 24, WAS BORN IN MUNICH, GERMANY AND NOW STUDIES AT THE PRESTIGIOUS ROYAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS ANTWERP. I MET UP WITH MARIE-SOPHIE IN ANTWERP TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS TALENTED YOUNG LADY AND HOW SHE FEELS ABOUT WINNING THE FIRST FFDS.

By Bruno Pieters

BP. CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING THE FIRST FFDS. YOU ARE STARTING YOUR MA DEGREE SOON. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?
MSB. First of all I would like to thank you for the FFDS. I feel very honoured you appreciate and support my work. While preparing for my application I thought more thoroughly about sustainability and transparency in fashion and I want to pay more attention to these issues in my MA collection. The idea to present my final collection during the show of the Fashion Department in Antwerp in june next year is very exciting. I'm happy to be one more year at the Fashion Academy, I feel at home there and I feel I can still learn a lot.

BP: DO YOU THINK WINNING THE FFDS WILL GIVE YOU ENOUGH FREEDOM TO FULLY EXPRESS YOURSELF CREATIVELY?
MSB. I want to include, in my working process, a moment where I really think about the materials I want to use and see how sustainable and transparent they are. I also want to discuss this with you and find ways to avoid fur and leather. I do not like the thought that animals are killed for fashion products. I don't consider that a limitation of my freedom.

BP: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT FASHION?
MSB. Fashion to me is about beauty and an expression of what is going on today. It’s about opening one’s eyes. I find observing people and trying to understand them fascinating. I admire certain people’s charisma, their aura, their beauty, but also their imperfection, the discovery of small, unusual details in a person’s appearance and clothing. I’ve always been passionate about drawing and painting. To catch an atmosphere and to transform it into lines, forms, colors and garments is what I love about fashion. The diversity of techniques and craftsmanship, the sense of joyfulness but also the elegance that can emanate from garments. All these elements form my world. And to do everything I do with love, wether it is with my hands or in my mind, that is crucial to me.

BP: WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
MSB. The discovery of special elements in garments, the elegance of a dress, a nude back, or just the grace and presence of a person can fascinate me. Inspiration, for me, is often an image that I can not get out of my head. Later it can also be the combination of different images, atmospheres and colours that leave a lasting impression on me and create the concept for my collection. Tradition is a recurring theme in my work, as well as craftsmanship. Visual Arts, especially painting and sculpture can also be sources of inspiration. In my Bachelor collection for example I was inspired by the colours and shapes from Kazimir Malevich and Barnett Newman.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY TODAY?
MSB. Being still a student, my opinion may not be fully formed yet. I had the opportunity to do various internships in different countries and I have the impression that the industry is a very complex and especially a very globalized system. From textile design and fashion design to manufacturing, retailing, marketing and merchandising there are so many sectors and aspects to think of. However, studying in Antwerp makes me feel I am still protected from all of that. I am now developing my own ideas and I am preparing, with some anxiety but also with optimism, to find my place in the industry.

BP: ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE WORLD? WHAT ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT?
MSB. Of course I am aware of all the conflicts and catastrophes, poverty and misfortune that exists for a lot of people. And then the question comes up whether it is legitimate to work in a field that is associated with luxury and seems to be superficial. I have thought about this often. What do I use my talents for? I am convinced that even in the midst of misery people need beauty, harmony and joy. When one looks at the way people dress in poor countries, they still enjoy and wear beautiful fabrics and shapes. I think fashion can express the joy we feel for life.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS IN FASHION? WHY DO YOU THINK FUR AND LEATHER ARE STILL SO MAINSTREAM TODAY?
MSB. I don't like it when animals are kept in unnatural conditions in farms just for the purpose of skin and fur production. Not many people think this way today, because there is such a long tradition of using animals for human purposes. It may also be that a lot of people are not aware of the supply chain of these products. Another reason may be that in some regions in the world people don’t have the means for substitutes.

BP: HOW GREEN ARE YOU IN YOUR PRIVATE LIFE? I'VE READ THAT YOU ARE VEGETARIAN.
MSB. Nature is important to me. If you will,  it started when I was a baby, with cloth nappies! I was raised in the countryside and grew up in a natural environment. My parents taught me to appreciate the environment, love our garden, animals, natural food, fruits and vegetables,... I've maintained that lifestyle ever since.

BP: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA?
MSB. “What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful” – Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

BP: THANK YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW.

 

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