“It’s easier to launch a new brand, which includes other difficulties of course, but it was simpler, in any case for me. But in this instance, I think it’s worth stretching out a bit. Today, there is a shortage of established companies. This brand has an effect on people in Belgium. Everyone knows Mer Du Nord and people like the brand. It’s true that this was a bit tarnished in its last seasons, but now we’re giving it another life, which it deserves. It’s a Belgian brand that is renowned and fashion comes from Belgium so it was a super challenge for me.”
To wake up this “Sleeping Beauty”, as she refers to it, she first spent six months focusing on getting to know its DNA and remaking the code, before thinking about collections. It was important, she said, to first identify the fundamentals of the brand, which came down to two things: timelessness and high-quality material. The newly-launched spring/summer collection has an androgynous theme, and Nebbout Chekly turned to men’s clothing for inspiration for the designs, which are exclusively for women at the moment. Oversized boyfriend shirts feature highly, as well as men’s silk pyjamas intended for loose summer streetwear.
The poplin cotton is made by Thomas Mason in Italy and the embroidery is also done in Europe; the printing happens in studio. There are plans in the works to add a men’s line starting with a capsule collection – a few pairs of pants, a coat – and next year they are going to add accessories to their women’s line, introducing bags and shoes.
“I want to go much, much further with this company. We have boutiques in Belgium, and we opened a boutique in Paris in Le Marais. The idea is to really develop the online site because it’s a storefront window that is accessible to everyone around the globe. The next step will be to work on exporting the brand, especially to Japan and to South Korea. But for the moment the concentration is on Northern Europe.”
In these times, converting a fashion house from passé to trendy is not as easy as waving a wand and turning Cinderella’s rags into a ballgown, but here’s hoping MdN goes on to thrive in the ever-changing world of fashion and lives happily ever after.