Josephine Colsen worked for years in the fashion industry and textile industry, amongst others for the house of Yves Saint Laurent. Years later Josephine devoted herself as a teacher for young designers at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Today, she dedicates herself to her eponymous jewelry line. Josephine remains a true inspiration from up close.
What was your first fashion experience?
I was about 4 or 5 years old when I started to design my own shoes and dresses. I also remember trying to make long hair with a scarf. The feeling of a material and of clothes has always fascinated me and it still does! But especially how clothes make you feel. I remember an assignment I gave the students once, it was about a sense of chic, and it was the only time I used that word during school. For me, chic is a word I believe someone can only use when you know its true meaning.
We can say clothes are very much about experience and development right?
Yes. When I grew older the idea of development in fashion kept me experimenting with material. Sometimes I tried to change my shoes! I took a shape or a special material and glued or tied it underneath my shoes. I tried to change things, but it always had to stay close to my personal sense. Material in that way has always been very interesting for me!
Can your explain a bit more about your vision?
I always try to approach things with a new perspective. Developing a prototype directly with material to experiment with shape and experience proportions is my way of working. I think it is really important to try and realise a design in the true material. For me it is very important that ratio and intuition are in balance during the design process.
Did you find it hard to give your opinion to the students?
Never, while teaching I was always honest towards the students. If I saw something I didn’t like, I told them; it didn’t matter who he or she was or how good or bad they were. Not everyone could take that you know, but then again the process to a great product is never so easy. You need to go through all kinds of phases.
What would you advise the younger generation of designers to keep in mind?
Personally, I find it very important that clothes are easy to wear, that they make you feel comfortable. Conclusion; making good, interesting and innovative fashion designs, that are not too difficult to wear, is very difficult.
PHOTOGRAPHY Meinke Klein - INTERVIEW Peet Dullaert HAIR AND MAKE-UP Chiao Li Hsu, Jennifer Mackintosh and Harie von Wijnberge