What happens when you put two young fashion designers in one room to make their own label? It results in a creative and mind-bending collection. Anouk van de Sande and Vera de Pont, recent graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven, teamed up and became ANOUKXVERA. They have just launched their first sports collection: The Hairy Boob.
As the name indicates, this collection combines female body parts and men’s hairy features made abstract. The leggings trace the contours of the body and the accompanying shirts outline boobs in several sizes and states. We spoke to Anouk and Vera about this combination.
It seems humor is intrinsic to your collection – what role does it play in your designs?
Anouk: We love to design happiness. People can be hard on themselves, especially in stressful situations, us included. AnoukxVera is right there in your face! It’s provocative and so much fun to look at (and for us to design). It puts things in perspective.
Vera: Yes, humor is very intrinsic to our lives and personalities, it is a big part of why we started working together in the first place. You should see Anouk’s home, it’s wonderfully weird with striped carpets, material samples and a crazy fantastic red cat called Knetter.
We both studied in the same department, called Man&Identity, at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Here we really learned to dig deep and translate our personalities into our design handwriting. Since humor is a big part of our personalities, it is inevitable that it shows.
Anouk: A friend of us was wearing a pair of leggings during Dutch Design Week and we were having so much fun seeing all the people secretly taking pictures of her bum. People are so ashamed of boobs and bums. But we’re looking at them anyway.
What made you decide to combine the hairiness of sportsmen with boobs? Can you explain your thought process?
Anouk: Because of the unexpected combination: the perfect sexy body and the thing we are all fighting against – hairy, mushy, sweaty and smelly bodies. The latter served as our inspiration for this collection in its most extreme way. Because what’s fun about the perfect body?
Vera: I love this question! Yes exactly, we liked the humor of translating something undesirable into something sexy. And the paradox of it.
Our leggings are funny looking yes, but also very sexy. And in the end, very abstract. You will not immediately see our inspiration, and that’s what we liked.
We contour the human figure in a playful way. We wanted to create something that would make you laugh, but is actually very serious. That is what I love about fashion, it can be both at the same time.
As young fashion designers – how do you make sure your work gets noticed?
Anouk: Our label screams for attention. I think the visual appearance needs to be strong by itself. People need to start talking about it: ‘Have you seen this AXV legging, so funny, look at that ass!’.
Vera: We create worlds, and make them visually tangible. When we think about selling our work, we talk about tiny factories on wheels. Free to go and to create on the spot. We prefer to be in contact with the people who buy a legging to make it personal and keep our clothing exclusive. Perhaps that is how we get noticed, who knows. In any case, if the vision or identity for your work isn’t clear – then other people will also not understand it.