Bibi van der Velden, born in New York, always had a true heart and passion for design and fashion. She gave us a few moments of her time and told us all about it.
“The ability to be creative and to sculpt, are definitely also favourites in life.’‘
Name a few of your favourite things in life
Well, obviously my children and my family. But also my work, because it’s such a big part of my life and who I am. Furthermore, the ability to be creative and to sculpt, are definitely also favourites in life.
What role does fashion play in your life?
Although I do not approach my jewellery designs as a fashion object, they are definitely linked to fashion in a certain way. The points of sale are often strongly connected to fashion. For example, my designs are sold at Dover Street Market and Bergdorf Goodman.
For me personally, fashion is absolutely a way of expressing myself. Fashion is something that I find interesting and I enjoy to play around with. I am also a collector, so from a collector’s point of view I find it interesting because there are so many elements that inspire me. I have a big collection of vintage, antique and embroidered items. The embroidered jackets that I design are more a kind of side project and linked to this passion (find the item here).
Describe your style in three words
Eclectic, details & sculptural.
What is your golden rule of styling jewellery with fashion?
Don’t take yourself too serious, try to mix different forms, materials and styles. An element of humour is really important. Try to avoid sets at all costs! I am a big fan of mixing stuff up – so the vintage jacket, distressed denim but wear it with crown jewels. If you are wearing complicated stuff, try to go for more basic jewellery perhaps.
New York or Amsterdam?
Amsterdam, of course, that is where I’m based.
I do travel a lot for my work. Amsterdam is a perfect home base to have, because of the high quality of life and its accessibility. The city is small and everybody gets around by cycling on bikes. This makes it very easy and quick to reach different destinations in one day.
Tell us more about your home (old school)
My husband and I had been searching for a project for quite a while. Finally, we found this old school. This was exactly the kind of project that we were looking for. A lot of light, height and room for us to go wild in, in terms of design. We renovated it over a few years. The redesign was so much fun, we were able to create a space exactly according to what we needed, wanted and what we liked. The living room is situated in the former gym: ’ the kids are climbing and swinging on the ropes all day, it’s perfect’.
’’Make the clothes fit you, instead of the other way around’’
What does sustainability mean to you?
When it comes to fashion my advice is: Make the clothes fit you, instead of the other way around. Meaning, remake your clothes, buy vintage and style it to your own personal taste. This is something which I do a lot, I have a favourite seamstress, Aggie, she re-makes a lot of my clothes into a design of my taste.
Next to this I am an ambassador to support the sustainable path of gold mining. I am involved in many ways constantly considering how we are treating this planet. Not only by making the smallest impact possible, but also considering how can you can give something back and make a (sustainable) contribution to the world.
Describe one ordinary day at work for you (if there is one..)
The interesting thing about my work is that no day is comparable or the same. For example last week we had to visit paris fashion week, we have started to design a new collection and recently I travelled to Thailand for production. It is all very dynamic. Also, currently I am starting something new: a platform Auverture. It is an online platform showcasing niche fine jewellery brands. The focus lies on story telling around the products and collections by diverse designers.
’’The fun thing about inspiration is, you can literally find it in anything. Usually, in the most unexpected places.’’
Where do you get your inspiration?
The fun thing about inspiration is, you can literally find it in anything. Usually, in the most unexpected places. One thing that definitely inspires me, are materials. So I source a lot of materials: that is often my starting point. I start to create something around a specific material. Also, nature is a big source of inspiration to me. Nature is something that never ceases to fascinate me. It is a never ending source of inspiration.
How does fashion connect to your jewellery design?
My design approach comes from a sculptor’s point of view. The design stands alone and does not need a body (context) to come alive. But as I explained before, there is a certain link to fashion of course. However, when designing my jewellery I try to stay clear from what’s in fashion, because the designs that I make should be timeless and therefore able to travel a lifelong journey with you. They are definitely not something of which you get sick when it goes out of fashion.
Tell us a bit more about your latest collection
My latest collection is called the Galaxy Collection. A beautiful collection with peacock coloured Tahitian pearls combined with rose-gold and blue sapphires. It has everything to do with the galaxy and the waning of the moon. In a few months time we are launching six new collections, always an exciting period!
Where do you see your jewellery brand in 10 years?
Bibi van der Velden is an exclusive fine jewellery brand. We make limited edition or one off’s. We’re very picky where we sold, now our main market is based in the US and Europe. We are expanding in Asia. Auverture, being a website, is going to be more widely accessible. Whereas Bibi van der Velden is a covered brand that is only exclusively available in certain top stores. This will also be our main focus for the upcoming 10 years and that is how we want to grow.
Any tips or advice for young entrepreneurs in design?
Never give up, you have to have a lot of persistence. Stay optimistic the first few years and never, never take no for an answer. But try to approach people in a fun and friendly way. Finally, do not start your own business just because you want one, you need a good idea/product, so be honest to yourself.
The one closet that you would like to own would be from..
Starring: Bibi van der Velden, explore Bibi’s jewellery designs here