If taking a more responsible approach to fashion has become now top of mind throughout the industry, Ronald van der Kemp is among those who has shown us the imaginative possibilities, not just the ethical imperative. Since launching his namesake label in 2015, the Amsterdam-based designer has espoused an ethos of demi-couture – making fabulous, one-of-a-kind creations from leftover materials. Whether sharp ’80s tailoring, dresses worthy of divas or sexy patchwork denim and bustiers, his looks come across as high expressive and individualistic, which is why they invariably make such a strong impression on the red carpet. Facing the climate crisis amongst other global issues, Van der Kemp also happens to be inherently.
What would you like us to know about this collection?
Wardrobe 15: CAN YOU FEEL IT? If we would just all really, really feel it… the world would be a much better place! Sending positive vibes!
Are you a dreamer?
Yes, all my life… more of a daydreamer.
How do you distinguish sleep dreams and life goal dreams?
Sleep dreams are a way to process everything in daily life. Life goal dreams keep you moving.
Had you dreamed of becoming a designer?
Not at first. I wanted to be a ballet dancer.
Why do you think people dream of working in fashion?
Fashion is about everything around us: What is going on in the world, about beauty, creativity, finding new ways and solutions, exploration, expression, theatre, about people, eccentricity, emotion, glamour, craftsmanship etc. It’s never the same and always in turmoil. It’s also an all-encompassing job.
Do you try to write down/interpret your sleeping dreams? If so, what do they — and your subconscious — tell you?
Very rarely. My subconscious and intuition are my driving force; no stopping it…
When was the last time a dream came true for you?
When I started RVDK.
To what extent do you think fashion is about proposing/selling dreams?
Couture should be a dream, a fantasy, an inspiration. I propose my own couture dream trying to make magic with what other people throw away or deem unusable, while hoping to inspire others. I know it’s not much, but it’s my positive and creative way to try and shake up the unsustainable ever-growing fashion ‘dream’ that is becoming more and more like a nightmare.
Do dreams help us make sense of reality or do they help us escape?
I can only speak for myself: Daydreaming motivates me and feeds my creativity. This metaverse ‘dreamworld’ scares me – a personalised cocoon where you create your own convenient ‘reality.’
Do you have a dream that remains unfulfilled?
For the fashion world to wake up and face reality
What is your wildest dream for the state of the world?
World revolution: Love, peace, compassion and happiness!
What is one dream you would like to achieve this coming year?
That we can all feel it!
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.