In Conversation with Celo de Laet
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a young designer based in Denmark but I was born in Belgium. I first studied architecture but I always wanted to go into fashion. When I graduated I moved to Denmark to work for a fashion designer. After that, I worked in Denmark for different fashion companies for fashion and interior design and architecture. Then I started my own brand.
Which past experiences would you say have shaped your work, design sensibilities, & aesthetic?
My education in architecture is very influential because I love thinking about construction and the way things are put together. The whole construction part of fashion, and constructing a garment is something I’m very interested in. this is why I put a lot of effort into trying to create a right fit and work with draping.
What is your personal philosophy in life?
I think it’s important to follow your ambitions and your dreams. Not try to do it the easy way but really try to do everything you wanted to do as a child. I don’t want to have any regrets.
How would you define your personal style?
I love colours. I like to mix things, I like to buy vintage clothes and mix them with contemporary pieces. My style is also very playful, so I like to play around with details and colours.
What inspires your work?
Mostly art inspires my work. I really like to go to galleries and exhibitions. I like to be inspired by art and not so much by fashion. Of course I am inspired by what fashion designers do, but for my own designs I like to look at art and photographers and look at colours and bring them into my work.
What is your vision for your work?
I want to go back to Belgium. It has a very interesting market. Belgium is very focused on fashion and we have some very interesting designers. I’m quite local here and I have my biggest network here. I would like to start my brand here and get it in stores and make my concept more clear for people.
Who are your favourite designers?
I wanted to first go into fashion because I was so inspired by Belgian designer. He became really big when I was growing up in Antwerp and he’s also from Antwerp. The Belgian designers inspired me when I was growing up and they still are very inspiring because they have so much personality.
This week I discovered a photographer called Alex Prager. She is a woman and she makes such beautiful pictures. She has totally blown me away. I also recently discovered the paintings of an American artist called Tauba Auerbach. She makes very beautiful paintings. It really depends upon what I discover and what inspires me, it’s not some specific artist. I like to look for new things or talk to friends and see what they say. There’s so much out there that is beautiful and I like to explore that.
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
I love to travel to Italy. It has so much good food, and wine, and culture. But I try to go to a different country each time. So I like Morocco, Scandinavia. I would love to explore Norway. Every time I try to pick out a different destination.
Your favourite book, film, or music, that motivate & inspire you.
I love the old classics. I listen to a lot of . I’m not a big reader to be honest, I usually read on holidays to shut down and to relax. I really like movies of Almodo Fach, his movies inspire me.
Tell us something about your brand.
The concept of my brand started when I was a child and I started sewing. I was really inspired by everything I could find in these sewing magazine and by high-end designers. I wanted to make those kind of clothes. I started trying to make my own designs, so I started to try to bring high-end fashion to DIY (do-it-yourself) fashion. I started to make more high end collections, work with sustainable fabrics, and give people the option to buy the garment finished or to sew it themselves. So buy a sewing kit at a lower price. It’s a concept where I don’t only want to focus on sustainability but I also want people to see clothes as something very valuable. I wear clothes that were made by my mother and grandmother, for me clothes are something very precious. I think they are passed on from generation to generation, which I feel has become lost now due to fast fashion. The quality is not there anymore and people now wear things once or twice before it is thrown away. If you have a garment made by someone you know, like a friend, it becomes more valuable as it then has a story. So that’s the idea and the concept I want to create, showing the value of garments.
I have received good response on this as people buy my sewing kits even if they don’t know how to sew, so they get someone in their family to make it for them. In such a case the garment becomes a whole experience. That’s what I really like about the whole concept.
What value are you trying to create through your work?
For the customer I try to create a whole different experience. With the sewing kits it brings people together. By making people understand what it takes to make a garment will make them appreciate why things cost money. So even with clothes made in a different part of the world, they can appreciate what garment workers are doing. My garments are not cheap because through the whole process I only want to buy fabrics made sustainably. I only want to support producers that have sustainable and social values. Like the Cotton I buy is from a producer who helps build schools in their communities and give education. I only work with production houses who pay the right wages to their workers.