Belgian Fashion Brand
Discover a brand-new Belgian High-End Lounge Fashion Label: VAN WILDER.
Fall in love with the art of simplicity. Be part of our universe representing a sense of relaxed and timeless elegance.
For those who don’t know you, tell us about your background
Who am I? Pieter Van Wilder.
A 30+ young lover of all aspects of lifestyle you can ever imagine.
Fashion Designer – Creative Art Director – Image & Fashion Stylist – Make-up Artist.
After being graduated at College in Brussels and at the Academy, I have worked as a freelancer & voluntary in Belgium and New York to get experienced within different aspects which were required to me to fine-tune my artistic talents. I have traveled also around the world to get in contact with different cultures to set out a base as a human being before deciding to create my own ‘universe’, where fashion – design & general lifestyle goes hand in hand. To be honest, it was a long journey to be the man I am today.
I consider myself a dreamer working intensively to turn dreams into reality. I work to reach excellence in everything I do with an eye for detail & perfectionism with a luxury approach. I am the author of my life and be it fashion, be it lifestyle, be it general well-being… it’s just my form of communication & that’s something I would like to share with the world.
When did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
As far as I can remember, I should be aged 5 to 6 I guess. I was different than the other kids at school. When they found joy in playing football, hanging in trees, playing videogames, etc., I found inner-peace in drawing & playing with paint, dressing the Barbie dolls of my sister (I admit I had some Little Pony Dolls as well) and so on. My mom played a huge part in that story for sure. She was working as a seamstress and had her own atelier at home. I remember as it was just yesterday that we went on a Saturday morning to the market to buy some fabrics and in the afternoon she turned that into a nice outfit. I just loved it. Playing with fabrics, colors & different textures in order to create something ‘physical’… that was an incredible feeling, even till today is this for me the most beautiful part of my job. Because you allow yourself to reflect your inner-you & thoughts and at the same time you have the ability to let people enter into your ‘universe’, to create connections and let them shine bright by giving every single person the opportunity to show & translate their very own personality. This strengthens my belief in making the world a little bit more beautiful. To create that feel-good moment we all are looking for and to let people embrace the beauty in all aspects of life.
What’s it like being in the Fashion industry?
Honestly, it’s a fascinating play garden in all aspects you can ever imagine without any doubt, but far from easy to succeed in at the same time. As a newbie, it’s very tuff to get recognition, especially when you take the risk to launch your own fashion label. You should have the strength and willpower to fight for it every single day and to believe in your own values as a designer being. It takes a lot of your energy level, but at the same time, you get a lot in return as well. Seeing somebody wearing one of your creations, for example, is a feeling you can’t describe. I am sure every designer will admit this.
How is the fashion industry in Belgium?
Every fashion lover will have heard about the city of Antwerp & the famous Antwerp 6 – a selected group of Belgian Fashion Designers who graduated in the ’80s at the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts. To name a few: Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck & Dries Van Noten. It says enough about which important role fashion plays in Belgium. Antwerp is without any doubt a ‘must-do’ on your bucket list when visiting Belgium. Let me know and I will be your personal host for a day!
Besides this, when I look to other designers & medium to high-end labels in general, I really have the feeling that Belgian Fashion is very elegant & refined. It has something powerful and confident. Empowering is probably the best way to define it in one word.
What was your first job in the fashion industry?
Personally I like this question. It’s funny and not something very spectacular, but it turns always a smile on my face when I think back to it. I was still studying – a young guy of 19 – and they asked me to work backstage to prepare all the outfits of the models for a fashion show (steaming outfits, hanging the garments in the right order, etc.). That was my very first paid job in the fashion industry. Not something glamorous, but it felt so good. Later on, I did quite some backstage jobs, to be honest as a runner, an assistant, a runway coach, a stylist & make-up artist.
Talk about the changes in your life since you’ve your own Brand.
Changes… It’s a difficult one. I find myself working 24/7, however, I will not describe it as ‘work’. I do it out of love & passion and am blessed I have the opportunity to do this every single day. Because you are running a ‘small’ business, you have to deal with every single aspect of being an ‘entrepreneur’. To be honest, let me design every single day and I am the happiest man on earth, but running a business is another story.
Maybe something that changed. People get to know you. Media plays a role in it of course. But somethings when I walk along the streets or when I am at a fashion fair or art gallery, for example, people starts to ask you: “Aren’t you designer?”, “I think I saw your picture in a magazine. Do you have your own fashion label?”, “Aren’t you that guy that makes fashion for charity?”, etc. I will not disagree of course that it’s flattering, but it’s not my goal at all to get famous. I find happiness in the things I do and that’s, personally, the most important for me.
How do you choose your inspiration?
In general, the lounge fashion label VAN WILDER is based on the Japanese philosophy where ‘naturalness’ and ‘minimalism’ is the general guideline representing a sense of relaxed and timeless elegance. Taking this into account, Japan plays an important role, but inspiration can be triggered by anything – nature, places you have visited in the past, people, art, … even in everyday activities like listing to music for example. It’s a very personal process you go through and it can be very diverse and sometimes very surprising to forecast. Know… inspiration is everywhere! You don’t have to look for it, it overcomes you.
Tell us about your last collection
I launched very recently my High-End Lounge Fashion Label VAN WILDER and I can only show you my very first capsule collection under a private label, named “Simplicity is the key to Ultimate Beauty!”.
I have been working on this capsule collection for almost 2 years because this collection should perfectly translate my vision, my mission and show my signature as a designer being. Taking this into account I try to translate every single silhouette into a wearable piece of art where detail, the perfect fit and the use of high-end appreciated fabrics meet each other in a minimalistic way which you can customize to strengthen everybody’s own personality.
The fashion label VAN WILDER targets in general modern and independent women and men who want to take her/his outfits from daytime casual to evening chic wear. Besides this, I only work with one size fittings which is rather innovative for high-fashion and I don’t focus on seasons.
This first capsule collection consists of 3 Kimono Dresses for women and 2 Comfort Suites for men. I work with Japanese buckskin, Japanese leather, Italian silk & Bruges lace (to create a link to Belgium because lace is something very well known & I would like to point out it’s a Belgian label). Every single silhouette has branded lining & labeling. Every single detail makes the difference and I have paid a lot of effort & attention to it.
Important to know… in my personal opinion – as a designer being – you need to see the Kimono dress as a ‘luxury basic item’ in your wardrobe and it’s up to you to ‘pimp’ it. Style it with leather sweatpants & high heels, wear a turtleneck sweat under the dress, wear it with a width corset belt accentuating the waist, combine it with black panties and some ankle boots or just with an oversized poncho. Endless possibilities if you ask me! For men, it’s just the same story. The comfort suites can be worn either more classic, but at the same time also in a more sportive chic style in combination with a tank top, a shirt, and some luxury sneakers. A dandy look 2.0 which people will love for sure! You just will strengthen your very own personality! Don’t be afraid. Dare to show yourself to the world.
In one word: how would you define yourself as a designer?
What advice would you pass along to those starting in the Fashion Business?
If you breathe fashion and it turns a smile on your face even when you think about it… just jump on the train. Dare to wright your own story and don’t go the easy way. Know… It will be tuff. It can be disappointing as well sometimes. You can have the feeling of being lonely. Not everything will run as you want to be. But don’t mind. Dare to fall. Get up again. Keep thinking positive. Hold your focus. Believe in yourself and know that one day they will notice you. I promise you… you will get a lot in return as well. Just imagine that moment when you have created something physical and you put your first photos online or even better; sees somebody wearing it! I can tell you : “You will not miss it…”.
With the lounge fashion label VAN WILDER I will be more then only a fashion brand launching on a regular time a new collection. Creating connections, informing people and trying to stimulate the feel-good feeling is crucial. For example, when purchasing a dress out of the capsule collection, women gets automatically a gift card to join a beauty make-up at our atelier in Belgium or a professional make-up studio. Customers can also win a professional photoshoot including make-up & hair and styling. They only need to share a photo wearing a VAN WILDER outfit on Facebook and/or Instagram linked to our account. It’s an incredible incentive and for a lot of them a once in a lifetime experience. Keep an eye on VAN WILDER because we do have some other nice things coming up (also internationally)… all with the same mission : to get in touch with you and to give you a moment of relaxation to blow away of all the daily routine & stress.
Beside these services which I see as ‘standard’, I would like to grab the opportunity to show my love for charity as well with the fashion label. When purchasing a VAN WILDER item a certain percentage goes to a Belgium art project against cancer, named WARRIORS CANCER PROJECT . Having the opportunity to inform your customers to purchase with a mission is an added value to step out of the crowd and to create a feeling of satisfaction. This reflects also one of the reasons why I have launched the fashion label VAN WILDER : Fashion for Warriors | Charity opens the heart
To know more about this Belgian Brand, please visit: Atelier Van Wilder