5 Minutes with Nathalie Vleeschouwer
The Nathalie Vleeschouwer brand is for the self-confident woman with strong personalities, who want to look elegant and aren't afraid of colour. Nathalie designs 2 collections a year for both her eponymous label, which she launched in 1990, and her maternity label Fragile, which she launched in 1990.
In 2011 however, after 22 years designing for Fragile, Nathalie longed for a new story. To underline the authentic nature of her new creative offspring, Nathalie gave this collection her own name: Nathalie Vleeschouwer.At the age of 21, Nathalie (Born in 1967, Belgium) left the Antwerp Fashion Academy to start her own fashion range, Fragile. The brand is world famous for being the first fashionable maternity line. Last year Fragile celebrated its 25th birthday and is still running strong.She is mother to Felix (23) , Lion ( 18) and Poppy (13), has a walking partner dog Pastis and is in all assisted by husband Jan. Together they run the house Natale alongside a team of 15.
From the initial range of dresses in attractive stretch fabrics, Nathalie Vleeschouwer has evolved into a full image. Since the first spring – summer collection in 2011, the label has grown into a well-known concept in the Belgian fashion scene and has an exclusive network of attractive boutiques both at home and far beyond.
We chatted with her to find out more and the ethos that fuels her brand...
Who is the woman you design for?
I design for every woman, regardless of age, who has an active lifestyle like myself, but wants to feel comfortable and elegant at the same time. I wear my own pieces all the time, so I need to go to work with them, take them on holiday with my family and dress up for meetings and parties. That is why I find it very important that you can wear my collection for different occasions and that their easy to combine.
What are the inspirations behind your collections?
I work and live in Antwerp, a beautiful, young, fashionable, cultural town that inspires me every day. Besides that I am on the road a lot, both for work and with my family, and I always soak up the impressions that new surroundings have on me. I can also by very inspired by fabrics themselves as they can be so rich in colours and textures. Inspiration is always around the corner, I can not imagine not being inspired by everyday life!
What is the ethos and core values behind Nathalie Vleeschouwer?
Respect for people, society and the environment are an important part of the values at Natale. Our products are made without child labor , under pleasant working conditions and a fair wage. Since the creative, commercial and administrative team are all under one roof in Antwerp, the impact is limited to the environment. Production wise we try to minimize the impact on the environment. Therefore, 50% of the production is still made in Belgium (for over more than 20 years now!). Production outside Europe is regularly controlled by ourselves.
What does style mean to you?
Style to me means being comfortable in your own skin. That is why a beautiful dress is more than my cocoon, it's my instant feel good remedy.