Cross-stitch, comfort, quality and vivid colors are the signatures of Ilke Cop, the label created by a young Belgian designer of the same name who recently caught our eye.
Ilke Cop’s work is based on ethical and environmentally responsible production with the use of high-quality fabrics and artisanal techniques.
She’s won numerous awards and just recently presented her S/S 2016 collection at Who’s Next Paris and shows no signs of stopping.
Her first collection for Autumn/Winter 2015-2016, “Extinct”, used iconography from dinosaurs as the main theme and alluded to what we lose along the way from childhood to adulthood. Cross-stitch with dinosaurs that take you to a naïf world with a distinct touch of sophistication.
Her second collection for Spring/Summer 2016, “Carnivorous Carnival” is based on the culture of travelling and the circus and will be available for sale in March 2016.
The team at So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins talked with Ilke Cop recently about her show at Who’s Next Paris.
SO CATCHY!: Why did you decide to focus your life on fashion?
ILKE COP: My interests always resided in the cultural world. These interests were much broader than the fashion world. I did always have a special bond with clothing and this was prominent from when I was little. I loved playing dress-up and had a very distinct view on what I should be wearing.
When I was 18, I decided to study Art history, but after 4 years of studying, I still felt a longing to develop the more creative side of me. When I started my academic fashion education, I knew I wanted to do this every day. It was never a plan to start my own label so soon after graduating, but it just felt right. Creating something beautiful, that speaks to people, is the best feeling ever.
SC!: How would you define the style of Ilkecop?
IC: ILKECOP stands for high quality garments that stand out from the crowd. The clothes are feminine and edgy but also have a fun feel to it. There should always be a side to a garment that is interesting, that makes you look at it twice. This is what I try to convey in my collections. The wonder and fun of fashion.
SC!: Can you tell us about the process of creating one of your pieces? From the sketch to the sweater.
IC: Everything starts with colour and fabric. To me fabric is one of the most important elements of a garment. We’re not used to quality fabrics anymore. I try to go back to the basics and pay special attention to the way a fabric feels or looks. Than the fabrics tell me a story. The story always has a light side and a darker side, like life. Then the story develops into garments. The shapes, the function, it always flows from the story. After pattern making and prototyping a sample is made. And you have a collection!
SC!: We have seen a lot of cross-stitched garments in your first collection, not very common nowadays…
IK: The skilled embellishments of historic fashion and design really interest me. I think a piece of clothing can become even more beautiful just by the effort that has been put in. The cross-stitching was all done by hand in Belgium. I did a lot of it myself. This gives a collection content and depth.
SC!: What kind of woman wears Ilkecop?
IC: Someone who loves fashion, isn’t afraid to stand out and cares about the ethics of fashion.
SC!: Define the perfect garment for you…
IK: Something you feel comfortable, beautiful and unique in.
SC!: Where can we buy Ilkecop?
IC: Collection A/W1516: Stores in Brussels: Rose Shop + Superstrat + some pieces online @Notjustalabel
Collection SS16: coming to stores in March!
I have no personal webshop yet.
SC!: What’s your next step?
IC: I’m already working on the winter collection for 2016-17. I would love to build my label slowly and make progress in the ecological and ethical pillar of the company. Making more use of eco-fabrics etc.
SC!: Fashion is changing very fast: 3D, ethical, cruelty-free… Where do you think fashion design should be heading?
IC: Definitely towards circular fashion. Zero waste, controlled production etc. More consumer awareness about these issues.
SC!: Your impossible dream is…
IC: No dream is impossible! 😉
SC!: You can’t stop wearing…
IC: My various pink pairs of shoes and my boyfriends pyjama’s.
SC!: Your inspiration comes from…
IC: Art and art history, folklore, stories, different cultures, my family and friends,…
SC!: Your favorite fashion designer is…
IC: Hussein Chalayan, Dries van Noten, Raf Simons, Bruno Pieters
SC!: Your favorite young fashion designer is…
IC: My amazing fashion friends! Kim Stumpf, Ine de Haes, Doriane van Overeem, Nele Berckmans, 21-12, Jovana Markovic, Marieken Meeuwssen, Mai-Gidah, Cunnington & Sanderson, Brit Wacher, Pitchouguina, Botanica Workshop, Léo, Comme les loups, Avalanche Bags … Check them out, they make amazing stuff!
SC!: Instagram Accounts or websites you follow…
IC: @Notjustalabel, @Anothermagazine, @amagcuratedby, @chalayanstudio
All images courtesy of Shari Ruzzi Photography
MUAH: Crystal Die
Translation and layout by Michael Padilla