Every month, we put the spotlight on a Brussels creator. This time it is Alice Van Innis, who you might know from her own clothing and textile collection, but also from GC De Platoo’s colourful façade.
Alice Van Innis grew up in an artistic family where a lot of viewing, making and drawing was going on. Her work with set and costume designs started at art school, where she studied word, and subsequently she studied textile design at KASK in Ghent. She now makes colourful fabrics and clothes, but also integrates her work into architectural projects such as that by Burobill Architects for the Vives service centre. She also inspires participatory arts projects like “Zachte wegen”/”Routes douces”, a trail with a hundred flags in the North Quarter.
What comes first when you make something? The drawings or the fabrics?
Alice Van Innis: The idea in my head is the first thing and then I sit down with pen and paper, paint and brush. I do the basis of everything I do by hand, because I find a line drawn by hand more beautiful and interesting. Years ago, my father (artist Benoît, ed.) gave me the same orange box of pens he himself once received from cartoonist Sempé, who recently passed away. Those pens let you really add personality to your lines.
I have a great love for clothes and because my focus is on drawing and colour, the cuts I use in my clothing designs are usually very simple. I do not like it when there is too much going on at the same time. My aim is to make clothes that people love to wear and to cherish.
Your designs are both abstract and figurative, but always colourful and cheerful.
Van Innis: I am not afraid of colours so they sneak in everywhere. Just look at my green ceiling. (Laughs) It brings joy and hope to a world that is sometimes dark.
You also work with social partners, have transparent prices and use ecological and ethical materials.
Van Innis: I am not 100 percent there yet but that is the ambition. I cannot choose from hundreds of fabrics because I only use GOTS-labelled ecological fabrics that have to be produced in ethical working conditions. The confection is made in a social sewing workshop in Brussels. I don’t want to make something at the expense of others.