When Dionne from Friends of the brands organizes an event you know it’s going to be amazing and a lovely opportunity to meet new brands and the people behind them.
During this event, I met Esmee and her beautiful Kimonos. Esmee is a beautiful soul, like a breath of fresh air and very enthusiastic and passionate about her work. The bright colors and patterns of the kimonos were calling my name and all I wanted to do is touch the beautiful fabrics, admire the patterns and designs. So I did, and much more.
Fast forward to my last international trip earlier this year to beautiful Bali (yes, before the pandemic) where I was wrapped in a beautiful Kimono design by Halsduk by Esmee while swinging from a swing enjoying life 78 meters above the ground. That moment where meaning, truth, and happiness converge. Like every time I wear this piece, it transports me back to that special moment, I would love for you to get to know Esmee and get acquainted with her designs.
Which words would describe you best?
The first thing that comes to me is that I am positive, cheerful, and spontaneous. I am a go-getter and always see possibilities. I am sweet and loyal. When I get hungry, I become insufferable, Haha.
What is your background and how did you get started as a designer?
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My father has businesses in different countries in Europe. Entrepreneurship brought me up. Initially, I did not want to join the family business and chose my own path. I completed a study in Tourism and worked for a number of years for a large hotel chain in the Netherlands.
My parents had a high-end furniture shop (Italian furniture) which I also helped with from time to time. Eventually, I ended up in the family business. After a few years, we decided to stop the furniture store and focus on special chairs for people with disabilities. After more than 20 years I decided to quit the family business and follow my passion for fashion. That’s where the adventure with Halsduk started.
Where does your passion for Kimono’s come from?
Actually, it all started with a scarf. Halsduk is Swedish for scarf. During a fair in Amsterdam, I wanted to stand out and look special. From the silk scarf (Halsduk Fäglar) I had a kimono made. At that time it was meant to attract attention for my brand and not even directly meant to sell kimonos. The reactions to both the kimonos and the scarves were overwhelming. It was at that moment that the idea arose to develop kimonos as well.
Halsduk is a mix of Scandinavian and Japanese design, why combine the two?
When designing my scarves I was mainly inspired by Scandinavia. Think of the landscape, the folklore clothing, and the colors you see a lot in both fashion and interior. The kimono was added later. The kimono is originally Japanese. The way I see it, these two worlds have something in common. Namely, a certain serenity, subdued, timeless, and stylish. It exudes a certain serenity, which I feel very comfortable with myself.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I don’t draw inspiration from looking specifically at the following fashion trends. My items are often created purely out of a feeling or when I’m working specifically for an assignment. In the simplest or unexpected moments, I can be inspired. When I walk through the woods or across the street, read a book, or watch a movie. But also by art or deepening myself in the history of certain cloths, materials, and fabrics.
I strongly believe that the clothes you wear are a form of expression, communicating without actual speech. If your designs were telling a story, which words describe the story best?
That’s a good question. Halsduk is for the self-confident woman who dares to stand out. With Halsduk you underline your character, your style, your choices. When you wear a Halsduk you feel powerful and feminine.
I read in a newspaper article (Volkskrant) that future fashion should be sustainable and slower. What are your thoughts on this, and what is your vision towards fashion for the future?
I couldn’t agree more that something has to change. However, this will not be easy. The fashion industry has been out of balance for a long time, you can’t just change that. Making it more sustainable is quite a process. Sustainability is not only a matter of being aware of sustainable materials, but there is a lot more to it.
I think the Corona crisis has opened many eyes. I hope this is a start to change the way of thinking of both designers, the big fashion chains, and consumers.
Personally I have been very clear in my concept at the start of Halsduk. Producing in small quantities, no overkill of stock, timeless and high-quality items, working with natural materials and recycled materials such as recycled denim and working with Dutch ateliers. By having as much as possible produced in the Netherlands, I not only have a view on where and how the products are made, but I can also keep the numbers low, communication lines are short and I have limited transport pollution.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? Last but not least…
My list for 5 years from now is pretty clear. It started with my Sales plan for 2020. After the outbreak of the Corona crisis, I thought for a moment that I could throw away my whole plan, but the crazy thing is that somehow things are already coming my way, while I only planned it for 2 or 3 years from now.
In 5 years Halsduk by Esmee will be a brand that is well known in the Netherlands as well as abroad. Besides, scarves and kimono’s more beautiful products will be developed that fit the concept of Halsduk. Together with another designer, I designed a limited collection.
And there is my own Halsduk by Esmee shop in the Netherlands. And to complete my wish list, I hope one day Queen Maxima will wear a Halsduk item.
I always like to make a little jump to beauty, as I believe in the total package deal when it comes to personal appearance. What are your favorite beauty products and why? (skincare, make-up, perfume)
I love beauty, body, and facial care. My girlfriends once said with a joke, you really have a cream for everything. Over the years, that has become less and less and I limit it to the essentials. But I secretly remain a bit addicted to it.
For my face, I use the care of QMS. I noticed that my skin was getting a bit duller and of course I’m not 25 anymore. QMS ensures that I have a beautiful and healthy glow on my skin again. In addition, it lubricates very nicely, it smells nice and it matches nicely with my makeup from Estee Lauder. I spoil my hair with Aveda’s shampoos. My hair can change from dry to limp. Aveda’s shampoo brings my hair back into balance.
I like to take care of my body with the products of Molton Brown. The fragrances are really delicious. For a moment I imagine myself in my private spa. Really enjoy!
I used to be a big fan of Boucheron, but in recent years I wear Diptyque 34 every day and on a night out I use Portrait of a Lady.
Find Halduk by Esmee HERE