Hellen van Rees is a Dutch fashion/textile designer and researcher. She has studied Fashion Design at ArtEZ, Arnhem (BA, 2009) and Fashion Womenswear at Central Saint Martins, London (MA 2012). She trained at Giles (2008) and Iris van Herpen (2010). Hellen won the Humanity in Fashion Award and has been shortlisted for the LVMH Prize. Her work is published in the books ‘Fashion Made Fair,’ ‘Sustainable Thinking’ and ‘Unfolding Fashion Tech,’ i.a.
Hellen founded her company in 2012, and through the years discovered her unique position between fashion, art and science. After starting out with seasonal collections and showing at London, Paris & Milan Fashion Weeks, she decided to find her own way by converting to a Slow Fashion approach. She started working more directly with customers and focusing more on research and development of new concepts and materials. Collaborations with partners like Vogue Italia and Hessnatur, but also the University of Twente and Saxion UAS made Hellen into a designer who’s comfortable moving between different worlds; combining fashion, design and art with technical and scientific research. This also led to advisory roles at i.a. the Dutch Creative Industries Fund.
Hellen is mainly working with left over materials, recycled materials or sustainable alternatives, her aim is to generate as little demand for virgin materials as possible.
FASHION AND TEXTILE DESIGN
Her contemporary slow-fashion collection is available to purchase through the webshop and by visiting the atelier. The collection is focusing heavily on the development of authentic handmade textiles (crafts) in combination with newer technologies such as laser cutting. Items are contemporary, but based on classic silhouettes, maintaining an impact through their aesthetics (bold textures and raw finishes), but also wearability (comfort and easy to combine into different outfits). Hellen is mainly working with left over materials, recycled materials or sustainable alternatives, her aim is to generate as little demand for virgin materials as possible. Fabrics are created especially for the garments to be made and garments are created on demand, leaving little to no waste. Hellen’s design and development processes are hands on, discovering new ideas and solutions for materials and shapes by experimenting.
RESEARCH AND PROTOTYPING
Since 2016 Hellen is also involved in research and the development of prototypes, by taking part in mostly collaborative projects. E.g. a Wearable Breathing Trainer for children with asthma & breathing disorders, conceptual pieces showing future visions on sustainability and design for repurposing, integration of OPV modules (solar panels) and textiles that respond to humidity.
Hellen always aims to share knowledge, either in (scientific) publications, interviews, advisory roles or through talks. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to collaborate or discuss possibilities.