INTERVIEW WITH MARIE-SOPHIE BEINKE.

INTERVIEW WITH MARIE-SOPHIE BEINKE.

MARIE-SOPHIE BEINKE GRADUATED FROM THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS' FASHION DEPARTMENT IN ANTWERP IN JUNE 2015. SHE WAS THE FIRST STUDENT TO BENEFIT FROM A 10.000 EURO FFDS. HER COLLECTION WAS A VISUAL FEAST OF COLOUR, PRINT AND EMBROIDERY. SHE COMBINED NEW AND TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES, ALL EXECUTED IN A SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL MANNER. OUR MISSION WAS NOT JUST TO PROVIDE HER WITH FINANCIAL SUPPORT, THE HONEST BY TEAM WERE ALSO INVOLVED IN GUIDING HER THROUGHOUT THE YEAR TO HELP CREATE A COLLECTION THAT HAD A PRODUCTION STORY THAT WAS AS BEAUTIFUL AS THE DESIGN CONCEPT. BUT I FEEL THAT WE ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE LEARNED THE MOST. WE HAVE LEARNED THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE OF MARIE-SOPHIE'S GENERATION THAT ARE ABLE TO GO BEYOND IMAGE AND ADMIRATION FOR THE INDUSTRY AND INVOLVE THEMSELVES IN WORKING RESPONSIBLY. MARIE-SOPHIE UNDERSTANDS THAT IT IS UP TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO TREAT THIS WORLD AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE IN IT WITH THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE. A NOBLE STATE OF MIND THAT DEMANDS MORE EFFORT THAN JUST HAVING AN OPINION. IT REQUIRES RESEARCH, DEDICATION AND INTEGRITY. SHE MADE THE DECISION TO STAY TRUE TO HER VALUES. AND HER HARD WORK PAID OFF, NOT ONLY DID SHE WIN THE FIRST FFDS, SHE ALSO WON THE MOMU AWARD AND DRIES VAN NOTEN AWARD. MARIE- SOPHIE IS CURRENTLY INTERNING FOR ONE OF ANTWERP'S MOST CHERISHED FASHION ICONS WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK. SHE TOOK SOME TIME OUT OF HER BUSY SCHEDULE FOR OUR LAST INTERVIEW TOGETHER. 

BY BRUNO PIETERS

 

BP. WE HAVEN'T SEEN EACH OTHER IN A WHILE, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE THE SHOW? 
MSB. I am currently undertaking an internship with Walter van Beirendonck in Antwerp. We are working on the AW16 collection that will be shown at Fashion Week in Paris in January. It is extremely exciting to see how everything comes together for the collection at the moment. The show is going to begin in 5 weeks. I enjoy working here very much. I appreciated having Walter as my third-year teacher and head of the fashion department, now I am working with him for his new collection. There is so much positive and creative spirit in the studio. Everything in fashion is possible and it is important to be different, I like Walter’s mentality and vision. And I am very proud and happy to be here. 

BP. WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, WAS THE BEST PART/MOMENT IN YOUR GRADUATION YEAR? 
MSB. When I look back I have different images coming to my mind – the show and the excitement backstage, checking all the clothes on the models before they go on the catwalk. To hear the music while looking at the screen and the models walking on the catwalk is probably the high point of the emotion connected with this event. But then you also have all these small moments that make the year so valuable. The moments from my daily life – at school, with my friends and teachers. Carrying large amounts of clothes to school, discussing the patterns with Heidi and the designs with Dirk. Chris Gillis, Yvonne Dekock, … So many special and valuable people at school, it’s incredible. We were a great class – I had very inspiring classmates. Working at home in the atelier and living with Laure and Timo was awesome too. We gave each other a lot of energy, support and strength, had hearty dinners and breakfasts with Edo, listened again and again to Eartha Kitt during working nights and danced at the pattern making table. I also remember the smell of the oil paint when working in the printmaking studio doing my handprints. Or having canvas paintings on the wall all over my room for the painted canvas jumpsuit I made. I am surrounded by very supportive people, – I had beautiful discussions with you, Bruno, my friends, my parents, my boyfriend. It was a very good year. I learned a lot.

BP. HOW HAS THE FFDS HELPED YOU, AND WHAT DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM THIS EXPERIENCE? 
MSB. To be honest to myself, to my fellows, and to my values, that is what I learned to strive for. I want to be appreciative of the good things that have come to me and stand up for the good in turn. I want to continue to be courageous and curious, to be a caring person, to be inspired and to inspire others, to bring people together, and last but not least - to do excellent work.

BP. WAS IT DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW THE FFDS TERMS AND CONDITIONS; MEANING WORKING IN A TRANSPARENT, SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL WAY? 
MSB. It is a mind-set – and a mind-set I share. In that sense it was not difficult to me. When I was working on my Masters collection, I was very aware of the special choices I needed to make when considering the fabric and materials I wanted to use. Doing research in 100 percent sustainable and ethical ways of production entails a lot of effort; emailing, searching the internet, talking to people, and so forth. I took the time to do so and it was very rewarding, not just to accept what is in store, but to question the material, the company, the development process. Just buying a fabric because it’s beautiful, because it’s the cheapest or sold in the closest shop near to your place doesn’t make it ethically valuable. Honest by' profound research about sustainable fabrics and materials helped me a lot and contributed in finding companies which work in a transparent way and offer certified products. In general my communication with these companies was successful and I was given full transparency after exchanging a lot of emails and asking many questions. Other companies though are not willing to give clear information about a product and its production. With those companies I did not work.

BP. DID YOU MISS NOT BEING ABLE TO USE ANIMAL-BASED MATERIALS? 
MSB. No – not at all. 

BP. HAS THE FFDS CHANGED YOU? 
MSB. The FFDS strengthened my values and beliefs.

BP. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? 
MSB. I am currently learning Japanese in parallel with my internship. It is my wish to work in Japan. And I would like to do free art works. Along with a friend of mine, we are working on a project – and will do an exhibition in Antwerp soon. 

BP. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STUDENTS WHO WANT TO APPLY FOR AN FFDS? 
MSB. The FFDS is an excellent opportunity – I wish everybody the chance to be able to work with you and Virginia. If I would give an advice to applicants, then it would be that they need to be convinced and believe in the values of Honest by, they must be willing to be part of the team completely and share the spirit.  I took a lot of time for my application last summer and did a lot of research in order to develop a profound and powerful concept and to present my work in a strong way.

BP. WHAT IS YOUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY? 
MSB. Fashion is a fast changing industry, it is very short-lived. I should wish that in the midst of the hustle and bustle there remains time for creativity and passion for style and beauty which is at the heart of our work. I also hope that designers and consumers alike will show a heightened awareness for the environment and the responsibility we share. Each one of us can contribute in his own way and with his own means – as small as they may be - to make the world a better place, including the world of fashion.

BP. THANK YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW.


Shop:
Honest by is proudly presenting a selection of knitwear pieces from Marie-Sophie Beinke's MA collection, which were created and manufactured in an ethical and transparent manner in Belgium.
Shop the FFDS Marie-Sophie Beinke Collection here. All proceeds of this collection will go to the next FFDS winners.