Spotlight: Conscious fashion designer Abelone Wilhelmsen

Slow fashion designer Abelone Wilhelmsen likes to keep busy. Not only does she design and create her own menswear and womenswear collections, she is also starting up her interior line and owns a concept store.

And that is not all, she is also a service-provider, helping people organise their home and wardrobe. Last but not least, Abelone organises accessible workshops inviting people to take an old, beloved item of clothing and upcycle it by turning it into a tote bag, cushion or kimono.

And what is the one thing that binds all of these things together?

Abelone wants to show people that there is a lot of love and craftsmanship that goes into every piece of clothing that you wear. It is her responsibility as a slow fashion designer of the future and it is the basis of everything she does with her Scandinavian Conscious Lifestyle Brand. Some of the ways she does that:

  • Her interior line is created together with Cellmade, which means the products are made by inmates in the Bruges’ prison.
  • All fabrics that are leftover from production will be collected and turned into new designs (cushions for example).
  • Her concept store is a conscious slow-fashion store where she combines art and design with innovation and local brands. It’s a purpose-driven business, showing customers that it can be done this way, without working with child labour or with faraway countries without a transparent business model.
  • Her workshops promote creativity and upcycling. Showing people how to take an old jacket or favourite bedspread and turning it into something new to enjoy in a new way. 

Abelone is still starting up and growing her business with the goal of going freelance full-time in 2023. And what has she learned from this process? How important it is to be really clear in what your services are, what you are doing but also what you are not doing. It’s vital to have a clear concept so you can build long term relationships. The second most important thing is transparency and clear pricing. You can’t be fast, good and cheap. You can only focus on two out of three. For example, an organic sweater made in Belgium of good quality will cost some money. 

Abelone’s advice for other freelancers? Be honest with yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Of course you are researching what others are doing and learning from them. But don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Stand still, take a moment, feel it in your gut. You are a unique person, a unique designer, with a unique story. Be convinced that at the right time, the right people will come to you.

Trust yourself! 

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