• Q&A Anneloes van Osselaer
02-07-2013Anneloes won Lichting in 2008 and now works in China

1. When & why did you decide to study fashion?


I was about 15 when I realized I wanted to work in the fashion industry. Then I visited some academies and decided I wanted to go and study fashion design at an art academy in Milan. In the end I only stayed there for a year and continued my studies at AMFI in Amsterdam.

The reason why I decided to study fashion by then was because I was very interested in fashion in general, from styling till fashion history, exhibitions, culture and so on.


2. What are you doing at the moment?


I am currently working as senior designer on the Edge luxury collection of the girl’s brand ONLY (Bestseller Fashion Group) in Beijing China, leading a team of Chinese designers.


3. What is the biggest difference between working in China and the Netherlands?


Haha, good question. I think I could write a bible on the differences in working in China vs working in the Netherlands. Of course there is the culture differences and language issues, which you encounter from day one, which makes working in China very challenging. Things at work take much more time because you have to explain them very clearly and usually repeat them.

On the other hand sometimes I talk with my other foreign colleagues about there being so many experiences each day here, good and bad, which never make it boring! Everyday there’s things happening of which we would think ‘what…?’ ‘This cannot REALLY be happening…’ But then it actually really is!

I would be afraid if I’d e.g. move back to Amsterdam now and start working there, I would soon get a bit bored without all these experiences…


4. Which moment has been very important in your development so far?


I would say there have been lots of moments very important in shaping me as a person as well as my work. From my years of study, winning the Lichting, up till working at G-Star and at ONLY in China.

Winning the Lichting was definitely amazing and gave me a big boost! But working at big companies makes you learn a lot about the reality and how to deal with certain matters as well as with people. And then of course moving alone to China made me learn a lot about myself too. So far it has been very exciting and lots of fun!


5. Were there certain skills or knowledge you felt you lacked after graduating and how did you tackle this?


Yes, absolutely! I was not confident at all starting my first job at G-Star.

But then again there is only so much the academy can teach you in 4 years of studies. The study is just a good basis, but the real learning only starts when working in the fashion industry. The stuff you are being taught at the academy is usually the perfect situation, but often the situation turns out to not be perfect at all and you have to improvise and come up with a solution right away…

I just tried to learn as much and as quick as I could by looking at people with much experience, asking them questions and so on.


6. Did your perception change since your graduation about what you want to become in the fashion industry?


My ideas about what I want to do or become in the fashion industry haven’t changed that much over the years. I just took a different way than I originally had in mind after graduating. By then I didn’t think I would work for a few years at some big brands, but rather wanted to do a master in London. Now I am happy I have got the experience that I have, because I have learned so much and it will only be very useful in the future!


7. What is your ambition for the years to come?


I would very much like to set up my own label in the next coming years. I am figuring out how I want to do it, from where I want to do this and what my label exactly would have to look and feel like and so on.

Otherwise I would also still like to work for a designer / luxury brand, after having gained experience at fast fashion brands for a few years now.


8. Do you have a piece of advice for the new Lichting participants how they can prepare best for the Lichting?


Honestly there is not so much you can do preparing for the Lichting; the collection is already finished. So I believe the best thing you can do is just being yourself, believe in your own collection and go for it!