FashionZoot meets


Zoot speaks to Dutch designer Winde Rienstra about the inspirations for her new collection showcased during Amsterdam Fashion Week.

Text by Anna Battista

There’s a strange architecture, sculpture and digital fascination in the creations of Winde Rienstra. Her designs are almost structural systems, confluences of complex geometries and ornament, performance and aesthetics, modern technology and traditional culture.

The Dutch designer graduated in 2009 from the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), studied in Australia for a while and, upon her return to Holland, did an internship at Iris van Herpen. In 2010 she launched her label and, since then, her collections have been showcased at various fashion events while some pieces were bought by cultural institutions such as the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.

Her latest collection, presented at the end of January during Amsterdam Fashion Week, moves from the mathematical paintings of Dutch artist J.C.J. van Schagen and plays with density, deformations and transformations. Entitled “Reflections in Facets”, Rienstra’s new collection is based on a series of dichotomies, from strict Vs rigid to relaxed Vs stiff, flexible Vs tense and liquid Vs solid. Patterns derive from variations on cubic structures, while traditional materials are matched with more unusual ones including plywood and glass to create designs in which delicate elements interact with stronger and stiffer structures.

ZOOT Magazine: How was the latest edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week that took place at the end of January?

Winde Rienstra: It was great, stressful but exciting. It went really well and I received a lot of positive feedback, plus the heels were a big hit!

Z: What inspired your latest collection?

WR: My main sources of inspiration were the mathematical paintings of the Dutch painter J.C.J. van Schagen who for years worked on a series based on hyper or multi-dimensional cubes. The patterns distilled out of these cubic structures allowed me to create strict shapes carved out of thin plywood.

The name of the collection comes from the fact that the light reflected by the silk fabric of the dresses alters the way we see these structures: we constantly perceive new patterns when the light changes and hits the facets in different ways. I tried to create further contrasts matching unusual materials, for example silk shines under a delicate corset of thin forming through its reflections with a pair of ethereal wings. For this collection I mainly used silk, wood, cardboard and glass. I love details, so all the buttons employed are antique glass buttons. The shoes, made out of cardboard, were a challenge because I did not study footwear design. Yet I really enjoyed making them and I hope I will be able to produce my own shoes in future.

Z: What inspires you?

WR: Most of the time I get inspired by small objects which I try to blow up and use in my collections. Then I start making some small swatches or tests and I also work a lot with draping on the dummy. Most of the time I just run into things when I am looking for inspiration online. I do find Jugendstil and Art Nouveau very inspiring at the moment.


Z: Is there an architect you particularly like or feel inspired by?

WR: There isn’t a specific architect I’m inspired by and I feel more like a designer rather than an architect when I create my pieces, but I would love to design a building and be an achitect for a while!

Z: Some of your designs seem to be based on 3D elaborations, have you ever experimented with 3D technology in your collections?

WR: I’m open to all kinds of new technologies and would love to experiment with new ones in future projects. While I’m definitely going to experiment with 3D printing, I’m still fascinated by more traditional techniques and by their applications to my collections in a modern way.

Z: Is there an artist you’d like to collaborate with?

WR: I would love to work together with an architect, a product designer or even design the costumes for a movie like those from the Star Wars saga, creating pieces for characters à la Queen Padmé Amidala. Yet I must admit that I also like working on my own and making everything by myself since I’ve always been inspired by Leonardo da Vinci and him being a “uomo universale” – a universal man. In some cases, though, it is obviously better to work with professionals from different fields and disciplines who may be able to teach you other skills and techniques.

Z: Would you like to showcase your collections in other fashion capitals?

WR: In future I would love to show in London, Paris and Tokyo. I would also like to see if I can start producing my own footwear and accessories. In the meantime, I’m trying to focus on combining travelling with designing my collections through an artist residency programme. It would be great since, in this way, I could learn more about the sartorial traditions of other cultures and I could then integrate such skills into my designs.

Images of Winde Rienstra’s collection Reflections in Facets” © Peter Stigter

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