A DAY IN ROTTERDAM


when i was invited to join EASTPAK on a trip to rotterdam, the plan was three-fold. ONE, join a group of female influencers, journalists and bloggers to meet with rotterdam's most creative and entrepreneurial women to listen to their stories and be inspired by their actions. if you've read my new series on kick-ass women around here, you know i was up for that. TWO, take atour of rotterdam's hippest places, shops, coffee bars and restaurants. basically half of this blog is devoted to that kind of design- and experience-inspired travel, so yeah, bring it on. THREE, get to know the AMINIMAL collection eastpak designed for busy women on the move, and take home your favorite. hell yes, count me in.

like so many people my age, i grew up in the nineties collecting eastpaks like they were going out of style. but that was the thing - they never did go out of style. i had backpacks in different colors and prints, messenger bags and i even faintly remember a fannypack, though i'll probably deny having had one if you ever confront me with it in real life. in short though, eastpak was a huge part of my life during high school.

i wouldn't say i fell out of love with the brand after that, but as with all great friends you meet in your teens, you kinda lose touch a little bit. but then - again, as with many great high school friends - we ran into each other again. me as a fashion journalist, eastpak as the originator of one designer collab after the other. and suddenly it was as if we never left each other's sides. i fell hard for the A.P.C. backpack i got for christmas last year, and now i'm completely in love with the FLASK CHEETAH kindly gifted to me by the brand.

back to the trip - which started and ended with great coffee by MAN MET BRIL. we were treated by a little street concert by SEVDA LIZA, and we met the inspiring ladies behind cultural center HIP HOP HUIS, lunch bar PICKNICK, music festival MOTEL MOZAIQUE, and fashion brand C.CRUDEN, among others. i really loved our visit to concept store GROOS, where everything sold is designed locally, and to BARRELPROOF, a great little cocktail shop where we tasted locally produced BOBBY'S GIN.

rotterdam - you were pretty amazing. our schedule was pretty packed, so i barely got to take everything in, but that is the perfect excuse to go back soon. if you're considering a trip, make sure to check out the brand new KING KONG HOSTEL in rotterdam's hip witte de with street.

TIMELESS CLASSICS


the main reason why i am collaborating with FRANCIS FERENT on a series of style posts, is that i have shopped at one of their stores for most of my style-conscious life. i think it started around when i was 16. i had several little jobs to earn money, almost all of which went directly towards beautiful clothes. every summer, i had a bit more to spend on the new collections, because i had worked a student job for most of july. my dad used to take us to belgian coastal town knokke for a couple of weeks in august, and on the days the sun didn't shine (plenty of days, in other words) i would scour the gorgeous stores for the best investment pieces of the new season.

my dad has always been very style savvy, too, so he would encourage me and he would often let me pick one additional item - his only demand that it would be a true timeless classic and i would wear it for years to come. so basically, each of those wonderful summer holidays, i was training my eye for those basics that aren't basic, those items that can lift your wardrobe to another level but that you never get tired of. and you guessed it right - most of the times i would find that one item, my holy grail, at the francis ferent shop in knokke.

that is how i got to know the shop, and that is how i still regard it - as a place for fundamentals that aren't boring, for elegant, timeless pieces you fall in love with and keep for years and years. i still have two sweaters i bought when i was either 17 or 18, and i still wear them regularly. quality trumps quantity in my book, because even though i know i'll have to shell out a bit more for one item, i know it will make me so happy to wear it for such a long time.

at francis ferent in brussels i was wearing a truly timeless and gorgeous black blazer by HELMUT LANG // pants by SEVEN FOR ALL MANKIND // tee from JOSEPH (it has a cute little belt that i put behind my back) // GIVENCHY sneakers (ok, those are maybe not so timeless, but they sure are cute) // and the prettiest little bag by MULBERRY

photos by matthias rabaey // this post is in collaboration with FRANCIS FERENT, but all opinions are my own

BLACK & WOOD


so two emails landed in my inbox earlier this month, days apart, and though the companies who sent them out have very little in common, they both sure know how to style and photograph their products. i loved the images so much, i wanted to share them with you - and it wasn't until i started pasting them into this blog post that i noticed how good they go together. i've been a little obsessed with the black and wood combination lately - so that's probably what attracted me to the pics in the first place.

the posters are made by PAPER COLLECTIVE, a copenhagen-based company that creates limited edition posters in collaboration with artists from around the world. they launched last year, and these two designs are part of their first new collection for 2014. if you needed more convincing to check them out - they offer free shipping when you buy two or more posters, and donate part of their proceeds to a selection of charities. go, click, shop.

the other two pics are from the IKEA 2014 PS COLLECTION - you know, the yearly capsule collection that makes you rush over to your nearest ikea location like there's no tomorrow, every single time. this year, they commissioned designers to come up with solutions and products for small living spaces. i especially like the triangular wall shelf, designed by KEIJI ASHIZAWA.

photos by IKEA and PAPER COLLECTIVE
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