Last week the I Love Belgium team met up with Barbara Repole and Sebastien Pescarollo, the creative brains behind the young design studio Piece Of Chic. Everything they touch changes in overwhelming prints.
The magic happens in a renovated mansion with an overwhelming view on the Brussels’ Avenue Louise. In this creative environment Barbara and Sébastien go crazy on fabrics. Piece of Chic provides fashion brands with strong and colourful prints. Based on their own style and trends they’ve already created prints for Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss, and of course their very own brand By Piece of Chic. We will let the designers do the talking.
ILB – Where are you from and how did you two meet?
Barbara: We grew up in the Wallonian part of Belgium together, where we met in secondary school. We have been seeing each other for about fifteen years now. After secondary school I studied stylism and worked as a Belgian stylist. Sébastien studied graphic design and worked in a communications agency. About two years ago we decided to create our own business. This was a good way to combine our competences, me in fashion and Sébastien in graphic design.
ILB – Why did you come to Brussels?
Sébastien: We came to study in Brussels and stayed here because we fell in love with this city. The capital of Belgium is a good place for creative people to meet other creative minds.
ILB - Every season you come up with a collection of silk dresses with overwhelming prints. I adored your winter collection with the animal prints! This summer your patterns are deadly cool too! Where did you get your inspiration this time?
Barbara: We both had other thoughts for the summer collection of 2012. I wanted to make something romantic with lots of flowers and a summer vibe. And Sébastien wanted to do something more rock and roll. So we came up with the idea of ‘Highway to Hell’ capturing a funeral wreath, combining flowers with a darker side. We collected our flowers from a real cemetery and started photographing them in combination with e.g. Madonna figurine.
ILB - We also love your etiquette that says ‘Totally made in Belgium’! Can you tell us a little more about your design process?
Sébastien: The creation is our daily job, all our patterns are created here in our atelier. When we start making a print, we always make a 3D creation with real objects to make our own pictures. Afterwards the challenge is to add fairy dust to the pictures by playing with the colors. For our own collection we have chosen a simple fit dress because our patterns are already strong.These are printed and made in a factory in Belgium.
ILB - Besides your little collection of silk dresses, you have a lot more going on, right?
Barbara: Indeed! We create prints for fashion brands ranging from swimwear to daywear. Loaded with different prints we present our work to fashion brands on international trade fairs like ‘Indigo’ in Paris. The difficulty is that fashion designers have a very specific image in their head and need to choose something that is applicable in their collections. That is why we need to follow trends in color and pattern design, but we always try to stay true to our own style.
ILB - You have done pattern designs for different Brussels designers, is there a special band with the Brussels fashion scene?
Sébastien: We started Piece of Chic with the idea that there was a demand for innovative and creative pattern design in Belgium. This caught the attention of other young designers and soon we started doing collaborations. Niyona asked us to make pictures of Brussels for the inside of her bags. Unfortunately the bigger Belgian brands weren’t ready for our daring prints. We realized quickly that our market passed the frontiers of Belgium and suddenly we were selling to big fashion brands such as Cos, Topshop, Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs and Nike.
ILB - You also have a blog where you share your daily inspiration. Where do you take this inspiration from?
Sébastien: We surf the Internet a lot, we visit a lot of blogs where we collect a big part of our inspiration. We also take inspiration from other designers and the things we see and do every day. In return to share this inspiration, we created our own blog…
ILB - We ‘re here at your atelier in the Avenue Louise area in Brussels, we can suppose you have enough to choose from to go lunch. Can you share some of your favorite lunch addresses with us?
Barbara: We share our atelier with other friends with whom we take long lunch breaks. Our favourite lunch place on Wednesdays is ‘La Régence’ for a very nice steak with salad for only 7,5 euro. L’Amour Fou is another very nice place for burgers, a lot is happening out there at the moment (concerts, runway shows, etc). Close to Chatelain you have Sixième Sens, a very nice bagelplace. We are very into American food I guess.
ILB - And our famous last question: why do you love Belgium?
Barbara: I have travelled a lot after studying and I lived in America for a while. But I prefer Brussels because here I feel at home. People are friendly and accessible. The city is not too big and there is a very welcoming atmosphere. Belgium in general inspires us a lot: Belgian candy, Belgian food, the colors of the Belgian flag,… We both have Italian roots but we feel very connected to Belgium…
ILB - Thank you very much, it was very nice to get to know Piece Of Chic better!
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