“It’s true that my client doesn’t really care, except if they are really interested in the brand and want to understand what I want to say with that. But, otherwise, it’s a way of broaching serious subjects in a fun way to change people’s ideas that fashion is not just trendy and cute – there is something stronger behind it. When I design it can’t just be clothes, it has to go further, especially in the world today. I don’t consider myself an artist, but for me it is important to have something to say.”
On the less intellectual side, she aims at designing clothes in a way that encompasses women’s multi-dimensional personalities and, as such, steers clear away from type. Her clothing is equal parts comfortable and sexy – a bit of soft and feminine thrown together with an element of hardcore and tough.
“I want to connect two different worlds – the feminine, floral, delicate, poetic, romantic, but really a clash with punk, rock, protester,” she says.
As for Van Overeem, her soft side comes out when she speaks about her mother, who two years ago opened a second hand store “Pauline Carton Boutique” at Place Rouppe, and who is her biggest fan.
“She is really supportive,” she says, gushing bashfully. “At La Cambre she was always there. At her boutique she has photos of me and news clippings everywhere.” She is clearly honoured to have made her mother, who Van Overeem says was the reason she got into fashion, proud.
“She taught me a lot. She would say, ‘Look, this is English couture. This is silk. This scarf was made by hand. This is lace from the 1940s. This was embroidered by hand’.”
As for Van Overeem’s hard side, that’s evident when she speaks of one day going to London or New York to tough it out in fashion scenes there. Or when she mentions her resolute Made in Belgium principles, describing how important it is to keep the local trade alive, lest it disappear completely.
Where her designs will lead next is anyone’s guess, but with fashion in her blood and a fierce desire to break the status quo, Van Overeem is sure to surprise, delight and inspire.
Van Overeem works with English textile designer Philip Jacobs of Westminster fabrics and collaborates on accessories with Giuseppe Virgone who designs for Natan and Edouard Vermeulen.