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We asked the Rotterdam based graphic designer


We asked the Rotterdam based graphic designer Roel Van Eekelen to share his thoughts on the ready-to-wear collection by Marije de Haan; a men’s wear designer who showed her Autumn/Winter collection at the Mercedez Benz Amsterdam Fashion Week in January 2015.

Marije de Haan
The Marije de Haan Autumn/Winter 15-16 collection is made up of basic items such as classic comfortable shirts, T-Shirts and trousers with a unique twist. The use of color is based on the color palette of Francis Bacon; a dark , moody base of blue, black and gray with carefully chosen color accents like stripe print, bright blue, powder pink and a red spot . The collection includes a shoe line in collaboration with the Dutch HUB Footwear. Besides basic pieces, the collection also contains exclusive pieces like the weird looking brain-like head pieces , which stands at the the intersection of art and fashion.

Roel van Eekelen
How did van Eekelen translate the brand using his own signature? And what is his background in art? We asked Van Eekelen a few questions.

An Artistic View: How did you approach the brand?
Van Eekelen: I did a little investigation in the brand Marije de Haan. Which I liked right of the bat. The current collection has fresh colours contrasting with toned down darker colours, like beautiful navy tones and shades of grey. Something that is there by no accident since she is looking for these contrasts in her work. The collection also has a beautiful red blobby shape printed on shirts. The masks that, I think, have a link with the work of Francis Bacon. I translated these into the salmon coloured backgrond shape. I like to strip a collection like this down to the bare essential by using its colours, silhouettes and shapes. And really try to catch the vibe of it.

AAV: How did you start out as an artist?
RVE: As most creatives I started out as a little kid drawing some crazy creatures and non-architectual approved buildings. At primary school I really got into the whole graffiti thing and with that goes an alias. Somehow the letters MAZE fitted together really well. MAZE became MR MAZE. I have been making work under this name till about two years ago, I think I have outgrown the work and name I had back then and try to focus on a bit more mature work lately.

AAV: Where did you study and what did you major in? Why did you choose this direction?
RVE: Besides this primary school where I got all the freedom to draw what I wanted and a middleschool where I didn’t. I studied Digital Media Design which was at the time really up and coming. Making flashy flash websites and stuff, not something I saw myself doing for the rest of my life. But my first love was and still is illustration. So I went to Willem de Kooning academy where I am almost graduated as an illustrator. Doing what I really love since I was a little Roel.

AAV: What inspires you, and how does this reflect in your work?
RVE: I try to take interest in a wide range of diffirent things. As an image maker I am really driven by images and esthetic things. A beautiful chair or a nice combination of colours in a random alley. Today I saved an image with extremely styled hair which is so unnatural by the smoothness it almost becomes an art object by itself. I really like to have small and simple ideas that have big impact when realising them as spacual things or well made illustrations.

AAV: How would you describe your style? How can we recognize a true ‘Van Eekelen’-art piece?
RVE: Hopefully it’s the fun and joy, that’s what I am aiming for. And im all about fresh and bright colours to complement this joy.

AAV: What is your added value to the art world?
RVE: I would like to have a curator one day that will have some brilliant answers on this question to put me in the safe zone.

AAV: How would you describe your ideal art world ?
RVE: Personally I am not a big fan of the ego’s and pretentiousness that comes with the art scene. I would rather see someone make a big turd and just present it like it is; a big turd. Maybe the art scene could use some more turds. And smiles.

AAV: What is your view on today’s Men’s fashion?
RVE: A lot of black and long tees going around. I like black though, not a big fan of the knee long tees. But I try to keep myself up to date on mens fashion. I just can’t afford the stuff I would like to buy yet so am wearing mid level brands myself. Brands like Our Legacy, Acne and APC are doing great things. I was recently reading an article about sub cultures, the bounderies between all these seem to slowly dissapear. Which leaves fashion with an eclectic mix where everything seems accepted. A development I like, so I don’t get frowned upon when wearing runners with a blazer and a white oxford shirt on top. In the end I really like to get rewarded when spending a bit more money on a quality garment that will last.

AAV: Which (fashion) brand would you like work for one day?
RVE: I would like to get to know more up and coming fashion designers and help them out where I can. Although I wouldn’t mind working for bigger brands like Hermes, Kenzo or Acne too.

AAV: What projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the future?
RVE: Currently I am diving into my graduation project which will keep me busy for the next 3 months. After that I will set up shop to start creating and working together with great people who are like minded. Just wait and see I suppose!