From Priya Ahluwalia to Richard Quinn: 5 Fashion Designers Share How Their Mothers Influenced Their Work

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“She loves my clothes. She will wear a bow coat at the Fashion Awards. She’s interested in things that go through production from an early age… My parents and my siblings, we’re all such a close family. They always come to my concerts. My sister now works alongside me, so it really is a family business. Around fashion week [autumn/winter 2022], there was this huge storm, but my mum was visiting Ireland for work. On the way back, I was like, “I don’t think you’re going to make it.” And then she got to the show, but she had to take a boat and brave the storm. She was like, ‘I wouldn’t miss this for the world.'”

Charlotte de Geyter with her mother Bernadette de Geyter who, she says, was never afraid to experiment.

Eva Donckers

Charlotte: “My mother was never afraid to try different styles and experiment. If I see the clothes from her past, which she has kept so carefully over the years for me to wear, I imagine she must have been a bombshell! Lots of 90s Ralph Lauren crop tops, mini skirts and chic little tennis dresses. I love that in all my memories, she was confident and in touch with her femininity… We’ve always had such a close friendship, and it’s like our lives have brought us to work together. I studied at the fashion academy in Antwerp, while my mother was a buyer for many years. After graduating, our creative partnership came very naturally. Our communication is so important. It is vital that we listen to each other because we both represent different women, different generations. [In working together] I got to know my mother in such a different way, as a woman who is in a different chapter of life, with different desires, different goals of dressing.

Bernadette: “Charlotte [went] at art school to draw and paint very early. She created these… super personal scrapbooks, sometimes filled with stickers, scraps of paper she liked, magazine scraps. These books became his obsessions. She was always thinking about how to improve them and could work on them for hours. From time to time, she showed them to me with great enthusiasm and passion. [Now] she likes to challenge herself and our client. Often his experiments have become our bestsellers.

“When it comes to design, I like to give Charlotte the freedom to try anything. We both give each other space and are always open-minded to listen to honest opinions of the other. Charlotte does exactly what makes her happy and she doesn’t like to force herself if it doesn’t feel good to her. I started trying that too, and it led me to become much happier.

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