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INTERVIEW WITH MATHILDE VAN ROSSOM.

THE FFDS STANDS FOR THE FUTURE FASHION DESIGNER SCHOLARSHIP. THE SCHOLARSHIP WAS LAUNCHED BY HONEST BY IN 2014 AND IS THE FIRST SCHOLARSHIP OF ITS KIND, OFFERING STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK IN A PROGRESSIVE WAY. RECIPIENTS OF THE FFDS WILL RECEIVE A CASH PRIZE TO HELP THEM DEVELOP THEIR COLLECTION RESPONSIBLY. THE FFDS RECIPIENT WILL ALSO RECEIVE GUIDANCE AND MENTORING FROM THE HONEST BY TEAM, INCLUDING CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER BRUNO PIETERS. THE AIM OF THE SCHOLARSHIP IS TO OFFER FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO EXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS WHO WANT TO DEVELOP THEIR COLLECTION IN A SUSTAINABLE, AND TRANSPARENT WAY. THIS YEAR’S WINNER IS MATHILDE VAN ROSSOM. A BELGIAN NATIVE STUDYING AT LA CAMBRE- MODE(S). MATHILDE’S COLLECTION ‘KAROSHI’ WAS A PLAYFUL STUDY OF AUTHENTIC SHAPES AND FROMS. THE ENTIRE COLLECTION WAS MADE OUT UNBLEACHED COTTON BETTER KNOWN AS CALICO, WHICH SYMBOLISED A NEW BEGINNING.
PREVIOUS FFDS WINNERS INCLUDE MARIE-SOPHIE BEINKE ( ROYAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS ANTWERP, BELGIUM) AND JESSICA SANSUM ( RMIT, AUSTRALIA). DISCOVER OUR NEW FFDS WINNER MATHILDE VAN ROSSOM IN HER INTERVIEW WITH BRUNO PIETERS HERE BELOW.

BP. CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING HONEST BY'S THIRD FFDS. YOU ARE STARTING YOUR MA DEGREE SOON. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR?
MVR. For the moment, I am just allowing myself to get inspired. The work of Jose Davila has a deep impact on me, the images of The Handmaid’s Tale are sublime, I’m reading a lot, I’m watching movies. At the same time, I’m thinking about the essentiality of a garment. And of course, I have my obsessions like utility clothes (workwear, military, …). For the moment, the only thing that I am sure of is that this collection will be developed in a sustainable way. And I’m really looking forward to that.

BP. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT FASHION?
MVR. In my opinion, fashion allows you to express your personality in a visual way, it is almost like revealing yourself, or to assert your identity as a designer. But fashion interests me also because the person who wears the clothes appropriates them. Each piece of clothing has a soul given by the designer and it should reinforce the soul of the person who is wearing it. I am also really interested in the social aspect of clothing- what do our garments say about us?

BP. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY TODAY?
MVR. There are too many clothes, too many collections, and it is all going too fast. The Fashion industry and its consumers are not conscious enough of their impact on our environment and our fellow human beings.

BP. IS THERE SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS WHO WANT TO WORK IN A RESPONSIBLE WAY AT LA CAMBRE?
MVR. In fashion design, not really. They don’t say no to sustainability or students who want to create a collection in a responsible way but we don’t speak about our impact, about the production methods or anything like that.
As student, when we are amongst ourselves, we do talk about it, but it remains a discussion, so far no one has really done anything about it or with it. Last year, I followed a course about eco-design and sustainability as it is not in the official program of the fashion design department.

BP. ARE THERE MOMENTS WHEN YOUR AWARENESS OR DESIRE TO WORK IN A MORE SUSTAINABLE WAY MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE AN OUTSIDER?
MVR. Yes! From a practical point of view, as a student, it is sometimes more complicated to find materials, or prices are higher, or there is less choice.
I have also faced a lot of criticism or incomprehension. Many people have told me I was waisting my time with trying to work in a responsible way because no one will see it anyway. I used to get a lot of sarcastic comments like that. But fortunately I have also received words of encouragement from others, I even feel that there are more and more people around me who are interested and curious about this approach or way of working.

BP. DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR GENERATION IS CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR ENVIRONMENT, THEIR FUTURE AND ACTS ACCORDINGLY?
MVR. It’s depends, I’m surrounded by a fairly conscious and concerned group of people.  Many of my friends are careful in their private lives. They buy organic food, aim for zero waste, … On the other hand, that conscious group of designer friends have not yet reconsidered or changed their own design methods or approach despite the questions and concerns they might have about the current industry.

BP. DO YOU BELIEVE THERE ARE ENOUGH POSITIVE ROLE MODELS IN FASHION? AND IF YES, WHO ARE THEY?
MVR. There are! There is you, Vivienne Westwood, or even Emma Watson who promotes a lot of other designers, … but not enough. I really think my generation will have a role to play.

BP. HOW 'GREEN' ARE YOU IN YOUR OWN LIFE?
MVR. As much as I can be. I try to reduce my waste (repair, reuse, recycle, …), I use public transportation (we don’t have a car), I pay attention to my usage of energy and water. I buy, as much as I can, organic, local and fairtrade food, second hand or good quality clothes and I try to extend their lifespan as much as I can. I also go to environmental protests or marches in Europe. I try to do my part and I never forget to question my own consumption and attitude.

BP. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR MANTRA THAT COULD DESCRIBE YOUR STATE OF MIND TODAY.
MVR. ‘What is essential?’ and ‘Question everything! ‘

BP. THANK YOU FOR THIS INTERVIEW.
MVR. Thank you for your help and the opportunities offered  by the FFDS. I am super happy to be part of this adventure!