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Jan-Jan Van Essche (Antwerp, Belgium)

The Dutch designer brings us his new collection, 'Yukkuri'...

30 year-old designer Jan-Jan Van Essche was born and raised in Antwerp, where he graduated from the Antwerp Fashion Academy in 2003, winning the Dries Van Noten and FFI prizes. Now set to launch his first men’s collection ‘Yukkuri’ at Atelier Solarshop, he has used the Japanese word as inspiration for his collection, meaning 'slow' or 'taking it easy'.

Essche’s collection offers a mindset of easyness, a mixture of ethnical values and influences adapted to his experience of modern times and city life. Using embroidery, braiding and weaving techniques, all the designs are made in Belgium. All his pieces are individually numbered in small limited series and for two weeks Atelier Solarshop will be a showroom and store where clients, buyers and press can come and get acquainted...

Where are you based?
Antwerp, Belgium

Where are you from?
Born and raised in Antwerp

How old are you?
Will be 30 years old on June 13th (Together with my Collection #1 launch)

Why did you become interested in fashion?
Its something that was always there. When me and my twin brother were born, our mother had a small punk-fashion shop (Bij Marie). And every two months she used to take the ferry to go get new stuff from London. And she took the two of us with her... so I guess that fashion and clothing have been a part of my life since the beginning.

Tell us about your current collection?
My collection is titled 'Yukkuri', which is Japanese for slowly or taking it easy. Its a word that was on my mind like a mantra for years even before I knew the meaning. But it really fits with my approach to fashion. Taking one step at a time, slowly but surely. Its really about clothes and forms first. Natural feeling, ethnical shapes in a city vibe, freedom of movement.

Where do you seek your inspiration?
A trip to Mali. The people, the land, the music, the art, the light, the clothes,... it all got under my skin. And that will continue to be an inspiration. And I also get inspiration out of everyday life, the streets, people and the way they behave. New ideas can hide in small corners.

Who is your favourite designer and why?
The original Madeleine Vionnet, and more specific her work from the 20s, the forms she created with bias-draped square pieces of fabric. She was a visionary in her time, but still until today she is an example and an inspiration to me.

What makes you happy?
The sun. Being with people I love. Good life. And music.

Where can we buy your designs?
At Atelier Solarshop in Antwerp, there I will have my showroom/shop from the 13th till the 26th of June. And later on, in September, Atelier Solarshop will be organizing there second pop-up shop, where my clothes will also be sold.