Talking to Sofie Valkiers; Fashion Blogger Extraordinaire
How fashionable is Antwerp? This is Antwerp asks… Sofie Valkiers.
The public opinion about whether blogging is an actual profession or a hobby pur sang seems exorbitant. One might say fashion amateurs’ dissenting view on fashion weighs more than the rather descripting picture journalists are painting of a high-end designer’s show. I’m not taking sides here but why have someone publically humiliated if one’s doing things they might actually love. The future of journalism made an extremely curved curve to the digital side of the 21th century, why not embrace that? I see beautiful collaborations. Regan, a war journalist (relevant source isn’t it?) seconds this motion: Adapting the role of an editor to the blogging situation seems an example of how traditional media and bloggers can learn from each other. And when they are willing to do this, then the work of each will be improved. Well here’s an idea.
Anyhow, I’m not getting to the part where I predict the internet plays an enormous yet super important role to fashion ambassadors and lovers and entrepreneurship trumps education but (oops).. I just like to point out that blogging isn’t that much of a hobby, in some cases big business deals are made.
Let me be clearer: I introduce to you Sofie Valkiers. Judging by what the majority of Belgian journalists are saying, Sofie Valkiers is building her way up to Belgium’s fashion empire and she doesn’t seem to make a big fuzz out of it. “I’m not only doing the thing I love most, blogging, I work beyond my limits”. The Antwerp based twenty something girl is now official a big hit in Belgium and her blog fever only got her on top of Belgium’s lifestyle scene. In between her ambition to become a fashion designer at some point in time and her actual collection for Essentiel I was able to trick her into a small interview. Since she only had little time, I needed to stick to my schedule questions.
There are only 24 hours in one day you know?
“It is extremely busy, yes indeed. I’ve been blogging for a few years now and I am not getting tired of it yet, on the contrary, of all the projects I’ve been doing lately, blogging seems to be my favorite part of my job. I created my own world in Antwerp and it’s nice to see people getting all excited about it. I work hard to keep it fresh every day and it became a business. I can make a living out the things I love.” (And here I thought journalism was a poor well to dig in.)
Based in Antwerp, what are the main differences opposed to other fashionably cities you’ve been to so far?
“Mainly, the cosiness of Antwerp’s smalls squares and designer shops. Everything is quite close to each other, living in the center of Antwerp is basically less expensive than living in the surroundings, that ain’t true in Paris or London. Celebrated artist’s shops are near and I love all the coffee corners blended into the fashion district.”
Geert Brullot, co-owner of the legendary shoe store ‘Coccodrillo’ once said Antwerp is not edgy enough to wear all kinds of high-end labels. You are a big fan no?
“Me yes! I understand his point of view though. Lately the majority of the people feel in synch with fashion but this is new to me. Belgians are quite sober I guess. They are still afraid to wear too much color or mixing too many prints. I hope my blog is creating a new perspective which is corresponding to the new fashion awareness of Antwerp.”
You said in Vogue people are mailing you non-stop, I assume your blog is doing its work?
“I try to respond to every email but it is getting hard. I receive a lot on a daily basis so it’s very difficult to answer. Most of them are questions concerning garments, combinations of clothing or blog related. Even from outside of Belgium. It got way more famous than I thought it could ever be. I write both in English and Dutch, I guess I’m double generating an audience. I think that’s great, no?”
So here’s the answer to my question: you DO have an enormous influence on your spectators.
“I hope so, yes, that’s my goal.’
Hopefully we’ll see a lot of bold girls/boys walking through the streets of Antwerp this summer.
“Exactly! From this point, streetwise, it could be a little more edgy. I like to wear leather and shiny feminine garments myself but it is considered crazy by some people so just some color and a touch of studs may be second best solution!”
Speaking of influence, do you think the fashion academy determines the image of Antwerp as well?
“I do. In my opinion the school is still an attraction for a lot of people. Also, their students deserve all the credit for freshening up the streets of Antwerp. In foreign countries they still refer to Antwerp as being the most fashionable city of all and I’m sure the academy has something to do with it.”
According to Sofie these are the main attractions YOU should go to:
Have coffee here: La Chascona – Kloosterstraat, Antwerp
Have sushi here: Roji – Oude Koornmarkt, Antwerp
Have cocktails here: Appelmans -near Groenplaats, Antwerp
Buy Vintage here: Jutka & Riska - Nationalestraat, Antwerp
Buy less high-end but still very nice creations here: ENES, Lombardevest, Antwerp;
In conclusion: Antwerp is fashion and fashion is Antwerp, but we expect you to go bold or go home. And, please share your opinion, dear tourists. What’s your view on fashion in A-town?
Thank you for your time Sofie.
Text by Joke.