Interview: Erik Frenken from Avelon

One of the most exciting brands at the moment just launched its collection at SPRMRKT Amsterdam and its very own webshop. I’ve spoken with the creative mastermind of Avelon, Erik Frenken. He designed for Viktor & Rolf and after being head designer of Avelon (which was part of Blue Blood) for 1,5 years, he desided to become one of the owners of this amazing brand.

After Avelon parted from Blue Blood, did you move into a different direction with the brand?

No not really. After four years at Viktor & Rolf I came on board at Blue Blood to boost up Avelon. I had to work with the DNA that was already there and from there on I had to build up the brand Avelon. I designed two seasons for Avelon at Blue Blood and bit by bit it just evolved in what the brand is today. The AW11 collection will showcase what Avelon stands for.

Who is Erik Frenken?

Erik Frenken is someone who wants to focus on just one thing and be the best at it. I don’t know if I can compare it with top sports. But I’m fascinated by the fact that those people can do their sports 24/7 and be the best in what they do. That’s how I work, when I’m working on something I want to be the very best at it.

You have worked for some of the biggest designers, has it always been a dream of you to have your own label?

It all went naturally. Ninety percent of the students at the academy want their own fashion label. After I finished at the fashion academy inĀ  The Hague I wanted to study at St. Martins in London to do a master. There I came in touch with people from all over the world… From Japan, USA, Korea, New Zealand, Germany and UK. Everyone had their own vision, influences and background, I’ve learned a lot from them and I find that very important. I also came in touch with great names like Gareth Pugh and Jonathan Saunders, who made me realise it was a lot of hard work and a huge struggle to have your own label. After talking a lot with experienced people, they suggested that I first gain more experience before starting my own label. After working a lot, moving to Italy, designing for Viktor & Rolf, being a creative director, I was ready to start my own label… Someone offered me this opportunity and I grabbed it with both of my hands.

Didn’t you want to start a label with your own name – Erik Frenken?

Well, Avelon is a very beautiful name, it sounds international and it really sounds better than Erik Frenken (in English). And this brand isn’t just about that one genius designer. We are a group of people that work hard to deliver beautiful creations with Avelon.

Do you have any advice for young and upcoming Dutch designers?

Start working at an existing company and work hard, learn about the industry, study the business, increase your talent, train your creativity and gain experience. Eventually someone will recognize you and help or invest in you. Have patience and never give up.

What is your favorite item from the latest Avelon collection?

The black jeans I’m wearing today. It all started with these pair of jeans – the bestseller and eye catcher.

What will be the trends for 2011?

We have mixed the clothes for men and women at Avelon a bit… The women’s collection is more cool and the men’s collection is more feminine but still tough and masculine. We think layering will be the new trend for the summer… Long shirts and tees with a short (transparant) top over it, especially for men. And ofcourse the chino.

What is your life motto?

“I’m not young enough to know everything” Always stay open for other peoples opinion. You can learn anything from everyone. Everybody has a story. When you are young you think you know everything… But in this stage of my life I’m not young enough anymore to know everything. So it’s a way to tell that when you get older you realise there is stil much more to learn in life.

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