We met Ronald van der Kemp, RVDK, the world's first sustainable haute couture label. The brand has made it its mission to show the world that ethical fashion can be glamorous and exciting
Source: RVDK, 2019 Couture case
RVDK Ronald van der Kemp worked for over 25 years as a designer and creative director for international luxury brands like Bill Blass, Celine / Michael Kors, Guy Laroche and Barneys. Before he started a label under his own name. The turning point began for him when he noticed that the Luxury fashion creeping in the footsteps of the Fast Fashion Industry followed.
"Couture brands are now represented in every major city with several branches. The same products are sold everywhere, with constantly new deliveries. The exclusivity of high fashion has been completely lost and the focus on design, detail and craftsmanship is a rarity. "
Ronald van der Kemp as a pioneer of Ethical Haute Couture
The beginning was not easy. As RVDK launched his own label in 2014, he received little encouragement. "People thought we were crazy - even some of the most progressive industry insiders did not believe in our concept."
Ronald van der Kemp's goal is to establish ethical high fashion while banishing the lavish ways of the fashion system. The label stands for a completely new concept of the wardrobe: consisting of individual limited edition statement pieces that are seasonal and timeless, reflecting the woman's personality, emphasizing her strengths and her character.
"We prefer talking about the wardrobe because it's long term. Collections, however, are tied to a short season. Wardrobes are made up of individual pieces that each have their own identity and together make up a wardrobe. "
Back to the heyday of haute couture
RVDK combines high fashion with a sense of nostalgia and the longing for the heyday of haute couture. Back, when luxury fashion was still an expression of intimacy.
The wardrobe accentuated the personal style of a woman with exquisite pieces by the favorite designer. "I want to bring back the feeling of timelessness of vintage couture pieces from the 70s and 80s."
Think back to times of Grace Kelly, who developed her legendary fashion style in close friendship with Christian Dior. Dior even dedicated the label's first baby collection to the offspring of the style icon.
I wanted to give clothes a soul again
Each piece of RVDK is handmade from high quality materials as well as remnants of material in small ateliers in his home country Holland. A deliberate contrast to high-tech factories.
"I wanted to give the clothes a soul again. Creating clothes with a story and perhaps a little imperfection that shows that human hands have created the piece. "
Of course, upscaling is difficult and true to the set approach at every step. Collaborating with other brands and developing creative solutions to leftover and legacy assets is a great way to promote both sides.
Luxury fashion as a guide in the fashion industry
For the future, Ronald van der Kemp hopes that the large companies will split up into smaller and more flexible companies that are actually able to change their unsustainable practices. "We all have to slow down and realize that if we all want to live in this world, continuous growth is simply not possible."
With the hope that people really want and even need the clothes which are made, he hopes that the production of countless collections each year will stop. Companies can think about alternative and modern sales opportunities and services.
"Luxury should play a leading role in the fashion world. In its heyday, couture was the source of inspiration for women and the fashion industry as a whole. Luxury fashion has a responsibility to influence people's opinions and should therefore be at the forefront of sustainability to set the tone. Luxury clothing should be timeless. "
Source: RVDK, Ronald van der Kemp
To open the eyes of all fashion addicts, Ronald van der Kemp recommends personally looking at Stacey Dooley's BBC documentary "Fashion's Dirty Secrets".