Nanna van Blaaderen

European finalist International Woolmarkprize 2015/2016

Tonight, Dutch designer Nanna van Blaaderen will represent Europe during the womenswear final of the prestigious International Woolmarkprize 2015/2016 in New York. For me, she already is the winner because of her unique vision on fashion that is profoundly related to the world of today.

Inspired by animals and women, fascinated by the rich potential of knitting and committed to our environment, Nanna van Blaaderen developed an authentic signature that is reflected in fashion collections and home textiles.
Her designs fuse craftsmanship and innovation, with the intention to create knitwear that is both comforting and sophisticated.
The high quality Nanna van Blaaderen collections – crafted almost exclusively from merino wool – aspire to give modern woman softness and at the same time aim to pay a tribute to nature.

You developed 3D alternatives to fur. You seem to have a strong fascination with animals?
‘For as long as I can remember I have been moved by both the fragility as well as the strength of the animal kingdom. In nature, we see intelligent and beautiful appearances of hides, furs, feathers and scales. Seduction is combined with functionality, protection, warmth and the freedom of movement. I wonder how a woman can feel beautiful and protected like a leopard in it’s majestic hide. How can she feel comfortable with what she wears whilst remaining her elegance? For me the answer lies in design that offers a sense of security, but that is also strengthening the feminine force.
For my Woolmark collection I developed three-dimensional, fully fashioned machine knitted and fully fashioned hand knitted designs inspired by the skin of zebra’s, leopards, giraffes and reptiles.

The needs of a modern woman in today’s demanding times are a recurring theme in your design process?
‘Independent women are juggling careers and family. Their lifestyle sometimes equals top sports. I’m fascinated by the fact that over the course of a century, female identity has changed from immobile, to nonstop mobility. From a mere strolling showpiece in constricting corsets and crinolines, limited to needlework’s and tea parties and without much control over her life, she has been freed from conventions in a matter of decades. In a relatively short time, Western women have undergone this intensive emancipation process and can now measure up to men.’

You have a preference for merino wool since you established your own label in 2011?
‘From the outset of my career, I endeavour with my designs to use fabrics that are as gentle on the skin as they are on the environment. Intuitively I identified merino wool as the best fibre for my collections. The soft, light, breathing properties of the yarn come close to human hair. Thanks to these vital qualities, merino wool feels natural to wear, even when it’s summer.
I believe in season-crossing items that women can wear again and again thanks to the sustainable, all natural material and the timeless shapes.’

What are your plans for the future?
‘Research and craft are very important to me, as a basis to create truly sophisticated design. Now, after having focussed on product development for several years and building a solid partnership with three Dutch textile factories and a number of hand knitters, I now feel ready for bigger steps.
Being the finalist representing Europe for the International Woolmark Prize 2015/2016 offers a great opportunity to present my collections to a growing group of retailers, who want to make more conscious choices, just like me.
In the future, I hope to be able to contribute to a better environment and bring the world of design and nature conservation closer together. Then the circle would be truly closed.’

The finalists of the International Woolmark Prize – J Koo (Asia), Bianca Spender (Australia), Teatum Jones (British Isles), Nanna Van Blaaderen (Europe), Taller Marmo (India, Pakistan & Middle East) and Tanya Taylor (USA) – will be judged on 12 February, 2016 in New York as part of New York Fashion Week. The finalists will present their work to an esteemed judging panel of international industry figures, including:
– André Leon Talley, fashion author and consultant, former Editor-at-Large, American Vogue
– Imran Amed, Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Business of Fashion
– Tim Blanks, Editor-at Large, Business of Fashion
– Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-Chief, W magazine
– Julie Gilhart, fashion consultant and International Woolmark Prize mentor
– Thakoon Panichgul, Chief Creative Officer of Thakoon
– Colette Garnsey, Director, Australian Wool Innovation
– Stuart McCullough, Managing Director, The Woolmark Company

1 1a.jpeg 2.jpeg 2a 3.jpeg 3a.jpeg 4 4a.jpeg


Images: collection Resilence & collection Sheer by Nanna van Blaaderen / Photography: Paul Bellaart / Styling: Jetteke van Lexmond


Sign up for Style News