TALENT TO WATCH: RECONSTRUCT

Reconstruct is a young label, started by five young talented women, who studied at the art academy in Rotterdam. The brand exist now only about 2 years but already stars like Rihanna, Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande have worn them on stage. They don’t take no for an answer and don’t want to be set in a box. We visited their studio in Amsterdam, to learn more about them and get inspired.


How did it all start?

We are a team of 5 girls, and we all studied at Willem de Koning Art Academy in Rotterdam. The end show of our study kind of brought us together. The academy didn’t want us to do a show at all, so we, the students, decided to organise it ourselves and show our work. We started a Crowdfunding and got enough money to rent out a location (the Slaakhuis) and ended up working with Dennis van der Broek, an independent artist, who helped us with the set design and choreography. At the show itself the public was sitting with their back to each other and there were four spinning platforms. On every platform there was a different performance of a student, interpreted in their own way, one was
a film, another a traditional catwalk. The public was given headphones and everyone was listening to their music apart. It was a great night, everyone got the chance to show what they have been working on, and we decided to go on together. The show was on Friday and on Monday we had our first meeting. That was in 2016 and since then we have 3 collections out. It all went quite fast.

Fashion week?
Our first collection got selected for Amsterdam Fashion Week, January 2017 was our first show. Then we still didn’t even have an atelier, so everyone would work from home and we would get together once a week. The five of us, everyone is so different from each other, so we worked with a stylist, who would help us put together looks for the show. We still had to make two bombers in one night so ended up not sleeping the last 2 days before the show.
We had great reviews, the phone couldn’t stop ringing after
the show, our Instagram went crazy. The stylist of Rihanna reposted us we sort of went viral. Then he called and wanted to loan some clothes for a photo shoot with Rihanna. We were quite shocked and we also had lost some of our pieces, probably forgotten at the Amsterdam Fashion Week.

We showed a second time at Amsterdam Fashion Week, but the third time we wanted to grow more international. We wanted to reach markets in the US, Asia, London, because our commercial pieces kind of fit here but a lot doesn’t. The Dutch buyers way too laid back, so we have to look further.

For our third collection we got selected for Copenhagen Fashion Week, it was pretty big and only a month before the show we found out we still had to fix a location for the show. It was crazy and chaotic and eventually the Dutch embassy in Denmark helped us. We managed to rent a skatepark, so at the show itself while models were walking the catwalk there were skaters doing their thing, with ReConstruct hoodies on.

How do you feel about collaborations?
We are always open for collaborations, so we got to work with Converse, where we reconstructed a lot of shoes into clothes. We also worked with Dennis van der Broek, who is a graphic designer and independent artist, who worked with us on set designs. He’s working also with Raf Simons and Alexander Wang so it’s really interesting to have his input.

How is it to work with 5 people?
In the beginning it was a bit chaotic, but now we do have a more similar vision and it gets more more defined. That is also part of the identity of the company, everyone is different but we manage to put it together in one concept. Everybody makes sketches, then we make a selection, then the real work begins with designing and prototypes. We choose the fabrics na do our thing and eventually the stylist helps us put it together for the show.

How did you come up with the name?
Michelle came up with it, at the graduation show. We were kind of breaking the system and building it up again, and it really suits all the different perspectives. Also the way of presenting, we see what happens then we reconstruct it in our own interpretation. Not everyone liked it or understood it but now more people do.

What is Reconstruct?
We are not only one thing, we don’t want to be defined with one word. We do what we like. No-one had an idea how to start a brand, we just jumped into it. And at school they didn’t really teach us how to sell our own work, but more how to work for someone else. We have mistakes, and we have learned a lot. Definitely that you have to ask and reach out to people as much as you can. We have gotten some no’s, right now it is sort of getting better, but you just have to keep pushing.

Where do you get inspiration?
Everyone has their own thing going on. It comes from personal experience, the phases of our lives. It comes from the company self. It usually starts with a story. In the last collection the idea was a group of friends. Five guys, the ones you see in high school – overachiever, outsider, troublemaker, bro. Currently we also have five types but with a sci-fi theme. Everyone has come up with a ‘hybrid’ of their own. We first have to make all the fabrics and it all goes depending on how we feel at this particular moment. Then we will get together once a week at the office and see where is everyone.

Where can we find your clothes?
It’s quite hard to find a place to sell your clothes, you usually have to do a few collections to kind of make it clear that you can keep up your brand, to get your name out there. After the first collection we were picked up right away by a concept store in Tokyo. It’s hard because these stores want to have all the big brands so you have to keep asking and not take no as an answer. Try again next season. So right now we already have a second collection sent to the store in Tokyo. We also got asked by a shop in Moscow, where we also have already sent the previous collection. And of course you can shop our stuff online.

Whats in the future for reconstruct?
We want to present at New York fashion week this upcoming July and get to more stores. We really just want to inspire people. The rest only time will tell.

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