We talked about her work and production practice with Sofie Aaldering, a multidisciplinary designer who emphasizes the beauty of materials by revaluing them.
Who is Sofie Aaldering? Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am 24 years old and was born and raised in a small village in the Netherlands. Starting at a young age I was always was busy drawing and designing. Most of the times it was clothes, but I also made and other items.
You developed your broad knowledge of fashion design at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht. How do these experiences provide you with a basis for your contemporary designs?
Very much so! The curriculum leaves space for own interpretation and you are being taught how to be open-minded and face challenges head on. I felt free to pursue my passion of materials and elaborate my skillset and knowledge within, instead of being forced towards a certain status a curriculum had set.
Material experimentation and handicraft form the basis of your production practice. Which factors play a primary role in your choice of materials? What is the process you follow when expressing the stories of your designs through materials?
I try to work with leftover or second-hand materials. I think everything can be made beautiful if it gets attention. Because of this mindset some materials have crossed my path that are not standard within the niche. It also ensures that I keep evolving, because every material needs to be handled differently and can bring its own speciality within designs. For designs the materials are the basis. It mostly starts with me experimenting on materials and finding the creativity with them. I have always felt that inspiration can come by if you are busy with something. This is also the reason I have moved my main focus from fashion towards more standing designs.
Your "Finery" collection, in which you use natural and synthetic materials together and which you describe as textile sculpture, offers a form of expression in which the materials are not connected to the human body. We would like to hear the story of this collection from you.
The basis of ‘Finery’ was my graduation collection. It did consist of some fashion items, but like I said before I just felt the inspiration to use the same materials in standing designs like sculptures but also as the basis for textile paintings. At the moment ‘Finery’ is gradually evolving because I feel like it is not finished yet and I have the urge to evolve it further and further.
Can you tell us a little bit about your production process? What kind of an approach do you adopt in the design process to strike a balance between creativity and technical skills?
The starting point are materials. I keep researching, experimenting and evolving my handicraft with them. Most of the time I am molding materials to see what they can add in a work. Since I do the work myself, technical skills ensure more creativity. That is why I find working with materials as a starting point really fascinating.
What do you do for inspiration? Who are the names you follow with curiosity in this field or from different disciplines?
I can get inspired anywhere and anytime. If it is in a shop, being on holiday or at a party. My attention mostly goes towards materials. If I find a new one or something different I take it home, put on some music and just find out everything there is to know about it.
Are you excited about the future, and what are your plans?
Very much so. My life has been a rollercoaster the last two years (since graduation). I received and took many opportunities to evolve myself. Looking back I feel very proud to see what has happened and where it has brought me around the world. I feel very grateful for every opportunity and they give me so much energy and excitement to see what could be coming in the future.