Photography: James Rees / Creative direction: Robert Phillips / Model: Dirk Vaessen

Dirk Vaessen

Dirk Vaessen creates concepts and designs for and around the human body such as shoes, garments, postures, masks, and bags. He started at the age of 15 with an MBO in shoe making and leather goods making because he wanted to make his own heels in size 45 (10.5), which was not widely available at that time. After graduating he did a BA Product Design at Artez (Arnhem NL) to develop himself as an artist and designer. After graduating he joined a Master Footwear at the London College of Fashion (LCF) at the University of the Arts London (UAL) (London).

The collection BRAVE HENDRIK is a response to people's stereotypical image of themselves. The accessories offer new freedom in visualising identity. When you are born, you are labeled according to your gender identity. This label is used for making the first choices for you: pink or blue, Cinderella or Superman, short or long hair. In other words, gender identity determines which values and standards society places on you. The collection BRAVE HENDRIK’S NEW IDENTITIES intends to address this black-and-white typecasting in society, suggesting and inviting people to be brave and show as many sides of themselves as possible. A person's character is more fluid than just being male or female. Dirk's designs allow people to explore how they want to be human. 

Dirk Vaessen: I'm a designer who places a form first in the process of creation. I play with all kinds of materials by making quick samples of shapes. I see myself as a conceptual designer, working with the stereotypes of society in order to question fixed concepts. With my work, I hope to inspire people and show them that identity is something fluid. I hope to inspire people to not take their identity for granted and always explore how they want to be human. 

Let us consider ourselves normal and let us be weird according to others.