10 Year Anniversary

This summer we’re celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the Hellen van Rees Atelier! What a ride it has already been so far. Starting the atelier in a spare bedroom in a flat in Hengelo, straight after graduating from the MA Fashion at Central Saint Martins. Time for some thoughts and reflections by Hellen:

“There have been many memorable occasions, from traveling around for shows and presentations across Europe and even to China, while collaborating with Vogue Italia, Fashion Scout and may others, getting noticed by LVMH in Paris and winning the Humanity in Fashion Award in Berlin… While always staying critical, and becoming even more so over the years, towards the fashion industry and -system. The ever-growing need towards designers, brands, to push more products, more collections in a shorter and shorter timeframe, always felt unnatural to me. It is a system of marketing, of commerce, but what is the sense to keep investing so much time and energy continuously into new products, that it is hollowing the creative energy the quality and authenticity that fashion is built on. What is the point of new, if new is so continuous? If the product is so limited in a moment on social media and a moment in a store, before going into sale?

The impact on both the ability to reinvent ourselves as creatives and to approach our “metier” more in line with the current time and the future in terms of environmental consciousness, social consciousness, and economical consciousness, it makes no sense.
While having a company in this system that was surviving in it already for 5 years, the biggest moment for me was to change my approach towards the system. It meant losing most customers and losing the many opportunities to travel and show new work, which is, admittedly, also very exciting.

My approach changed towards re-editing my previous collection to a steady, continuous collection, and gradually adding new products. At the same time, because I’m even more a material designer even that a fashion designer, which means, always more research on the material side is behind a product. I wanted to explore newer possibilities, beyond what was available or possible in the commercial world of fashion. I started working on projects with scientists, projects with a multidisciplinary, collaborative nature. This led to new highlights such as presenting prototypes for posture correction, breathing therapy, winning Dutch tv program “Briljant!” and even helping someone with an extreme reaction to sunlight to be able to go outside on bright summer days, with protective garments.

Al these experiences, the inspiring people met along the road and steady growth in all aspects of my Atelier is something I can look back on with happiness, the more so because it is a great fundament to build on in the future years to come!” – Hellen van Rees July 9th, 2022.

The anniversary was celebrated with a party on July 7th, where new additions to the collection were presented, along with larger-than-life artworks of these pieces. They will be available through the web shop after July 11th, and by appointment in the HvR Atelier in Enschede.