Nada Van Dalen

Nada Van Dalen

Nobody on this entire planet is one hundred percent innocent, even your saintly grandmother is guaranteed to have purposefully royally fucked someone over one way or another. In a society that is so obsessed with cancel culture, Nada Van Dalen is creating wearable art that refuses to comply with the regular fashion seasons. These looks are for those who are ready to fully embrace the duality of life, including all the gross bits you decided to keep off social media...

Hey Nada! Who do you make clothes for?
It's clothing for losers, I genuinely hate labels that say they make clothing for strong independent women because they don't even exist. I know you have to think about your target audience business-wise, but to be honest it's never on my mind when I'm designing clothes or building a concept. The last couple of years I’ve discovered that the business-side of my label is not my strongest point and to be honest, it's not my main goal.

What are your main design inspirations?
The dark side of both the world and human beings. From a young age I collected rare freak and rare medical books, my fear of and fascination with the dead came together later. My own fear of death, dying and diseases was so big at a certain point that I decided to embrace everything that had to do with it. After a while it became part of me and now very little truly scares me anymore.

A few years ago I made a collection about serial killers. The starting point for me was an annoyance: It annoyed me that whenever something atrocious like a murder or a mass shooting happens all the people are like '..but he was such a nice kid!' or 'this could have been prevented!'. Despite the fact that it's an understandable reaction, it also betrays the deep rut in which most people's thinking is caught: the basic assumption that your own experience and your own way of dealing with things is the standard for all of mankind.

Whilst working on this collection I became fascinated with compiling serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer in particular. I am not one of those disturbed serial killer fangirls but I was completely taken in, fascinated by the choice of executing your deepest amoral fantasies. I am not at all interested in the actual shock value, but solely in the things it can tell us about the deeper essence that inhabits us all. It’s also interesting that in contemporary society, many are hoisted onto a pedestal, but the moment they make a mistake they're collectively dropped. The worshipped are not actually people themselves, with both good and bad sides ingrained into their characters and in the end, the bad things you see are also part of life and maybe even part of you. 

To be clear: I'm not at all for a total tolerance of everything, but it shouldn't jump into puritanism either.

What’s the concept around your latest collection ‘Love it when you hate me’?
The 'Love it when you hate me' collection was largely based on how both good and bad are are an essential part of humanity, as much as our contemporary society tries to cover it up and deny it ever existed. 

At the same time it also had an autobiographical basis, I fully stopped caring that I cannot please everyone or make everybody like me. In a certain way, I like it when people in the street are scared when they see me. It's also a reflection on the current state of our world, where we constantly seem to ride a carousel of mutual hatred.

How do the looks themselves reflect that duality?
The mood is reflected largely in form and material, using both to play with aesthetics of historical and contemporary extremist subcultures of various ideologies. The prints are the most important part of the collection, and my own work generally, as they add extra layers where multiple conflicting ideological aesthetics can be merged and juxtaposed. 

Do you have specific clothing ideas in mind before you start collating your sketchbooks or do your collages come first?
I have a very specific way of working in which I first start with a statement, then begin to collect as much information and images around it that I consider usable. After that I usually collect everything in elaborate sketchbooks and from that I start drawing my designs.

Why do you think not adhering to seasons works so well for your brand?
As I've said before, the business part is not the most important part of the job for me. The expressive side and the way I can build my own world is far more valuable to me than getting caught up in the rat-race of seasonal production; and in the end, it keeps the job more fun. When you work in seasons, the research part usually gets finished quite quickly. I like that people don't know when they’re expected something new, it keeps them on edge.

Who would be your all-time dream collaborators?
I'd love to work with Harmony Korine! For me, cinematography is such a high form of art and I'd love to venture more into that area. I'd also love to do a collaboration with imprisoned serial killers just to see what the results would be.

If you could remake a film that’s styled entirely in Nada Van Dalen, what movie would you choose?
Gummo by Harmony Korine, starring my dog who's also called Gummo.


interview HATTI REX


styling INEZ NAOMI


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