TALENT TO WATCH: SABINE STAARTJES
I’ve known Sabine Staartjes for a while now, and always
had a thing for that positive vibe she always carries with
her and her creative work process. I was curious about
what her story is and where she came from and went by
her studio, when it was still at the Beethovenstraat.
Could you tell something about your background
in fashion and why have you chosen a career in
My interest in fashion started when I was quite young. I
used to have glasses, because I had very bad eyes. My
mother thought that was terrible. I had glasses in all
sorts of bright colors, and to make it look as ‘good’ as
possible my mother thought to combine those glasses
with my clothes. My mother was a seamstress, she always
made clothes for me. So I was very quickly accustomed
to having clothes that others did not have. Around the
age of 12 I received clothing allowance, but when I went
shopping i couldn’t find anything. I bought basics and
made them into a whole new item. My mother was more
executive, but I noticed that I also liked to think about it,
coming to a certain idea. And that actually started because
I went shopping and could not find anything, I started
making my own clothes.
And then, which education did you do?
I first started studying fashion and clothing at an MBO
school. I noticed that it gave me a amazing feeling when
I made something and it was finished. From that moment
it was my passion. In the meantime, I still made my own
clothes. I wore them and I received a lot of compliments
and questions as ‘where did you buy that?’. At some point,
people asked me to make something for them too. From
then on I thought; I want to continue with this. I want to
go to art school and I want to have my own label. Because
what I want to make is not there yet.
What did you do after your MBO?
I really wanted to go to the art academy, but I wasn’t
admitted at first. I was very young, and really wanted
to go there but couldn’t explain why. Then I worked in
the theater for a year. In that time I really become more
mature. We went on tour, then slept for instance in
Centerparcs for 6 weeks. After that time I did well at the
art academy, because I had to be independent there. At
art school I made many reversible and multifunctional
things. I once made a tent where you could sleep in and
wear it as a dress during the day. Those kind of things I
find really interesting. Something with a double function.
Then you graduated as a fashion designer. Was that
Yes it was! i knew i wanted my own fashion label but i didn’t
want it to be only high fashion. I also want to offer something
for the small wallet. All of my art academy classmates wanted
to create artistic, high fashion outfits. My father once said to
me; if you have to do something you’ll do the opposite. And
that is actually also typical me in everything I do. Also how it
is organized in the fashion world.
What do you think of the fashion world? I think it’s
quite a tough world.
I think I have created my own world in it. And made my own
niche. I’ve seen a lot, and a lot in the fashion world is fake. I
am too sober-minded for that. Only when you’re ‘someone’,
people talk to you and I really hate that. I prefer to dress an
unknown person who thinks my clothes are fantastic, than a
famous one who treats you like garbage. Who does well, who
Well said. Which skills should a fashion designer have
in your opinion?
I think you need a stylistic feeling. You can stick clothing to
someone, but if it doesn’t suit that person, that person doesn’t
feels it and does not exude it. Highlighting the strong points
and covering the bad points. But, also look at someone’s skin
and hair color, and which colors suit. Oh, and that you do
things for a reason, be positive, and keep going.
Can you say that from experience?
Yes. When I started studying fashion at MBO, the whole world
told me; that’s impossible, because the fashion industry is a
hard world. I wanted to try it anyway, and if it didn’t work I
would do something else. After the art academy people asked
me what I was going to do. And when I said that I wanted to
start my own label, everyone thought it was too intense for me.
And the more people told me I couldn’t do it, the more I had
something like: I am going to do it.
Did this experience make you a stronger person?
I think so. I had to learn quite quickly to be self-confident and
to put my insecurity aside. Knowing what you want, setting
goals. Sure, I’ve had nervous breakdowns. Last year I was
working for about 3.5 years on my label and I was feeling very
down. I really thought: why am I still doing this? So much work,
for so little money. But I soon thought; Sabine, what are you
doing? You have the best job there is. Sometimes you need
those realization moments.
Where are you most proud of, a highlight from
My solo show. I got that offer last summer, to show in I-dock.
But, I have an opinion about everything. Everything has to be
right and perfect. From the beginning. So it was quite a
commitment. Even the welcome drink should be in my colors.
Everything has to breathe Sabine Staartjes. That is something
I’ve learned during my internship at Bas Kosters. If he touches
something, it’s Bas Kosters. Right away.
Were you nervous?
Absolutely not, though you might think so. It was feeling like
my birthday, but professional haha. All the beautiful people
were there. And that is wonderful to see, what you have
gathered around you. And everyone who helped, that gave me
such a good feeling. That we all have set up such a bold show.
My family, so proud. My friends, but also my network which
actually are my friends. Those lines are so thin. My best friend
who is at the door and welcomes everyone. You’re really doing
it together I am the designer, but I’m not doing it alone. That’s
also really Studio Sabine Staartjes. It’s a community.
What did you feel after that show?
The adrenaline raced through my body. I had so much energy,
I could give another show at that time.
Wauw. I could imagine. Are there coming any new
In February we will show again, with a new collection. I am
very busy with that at the moment. And professionalizing my
company. At a certain time I want to hire personnel, yes that’s
really my goal.
Text: Miray van der Bend
Photography: Miray van der Bend