New York has always been a source of inspiration for creatives. From writers, to artists, poets and designers, the city that never sleeps always seems to provide the right canvas for the creation of the most exciting ventures.
One of these creatives is 35-year-old Meryll Rogge. A former student of Walter Van Beirendock at Antwerp’s Academy of Fine Arts, Rogge initially ground her teeth with an internship in Marc Jacobs’ design department, then growing into the position of lead designer. However, New York can be intense and after 7 years working in one of the meccas of creativity, Rogge relocated to Antwerp to work for Dries Van Noten, then deciding to go freelance.
After long deliberation and research, in February, before Europe went into lockdown, Rogge presented her newly launched collection inspired by the city that never sleeps, during fashion week, in a showroom overlooking Le Carreau du Temple in the Marais.
Taking cues from Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale’s outfits in “The Last Days of Disco,” Whit Stillman’s late 90s ode to New York’s early 80s club scene, Rogge dedicated her first collection to the city where she spent her twenties and grew up into the creative she is today.
“The will has always been there even before I enrolled in Antwerp. I knew I wanted to start my own collection one day, I just didn’t do it for such a long time because I also wanted to work for these amazing people that I looked up to. So I felt like it was a rush and I needed to be in a good position in my life to be able to do it, and also find the money to do it,” she explained over the phone from Ghent. “This collection was made with my savings. I needed some time to scrape money together, and I just needed to feel strong enough and capable of doing it. I still don’t feel like I’m completely ready but that’s okay, I have accepted that I am going to learn on the job as well, which is fine.”
Working from her bucolic hometown of Ghent, Rogge launched a collection of contrasting flavours, playing with masculine and feminine dichotomies.
However, and unlike many brands which are born from marketing, in the case of Rogge, it happened quite organically. Being on one side, highly attracted to everything that is masculine, so classic menswear, workwear, easy, and well cut out pieces that you can wear on a daily basis, but on the other hand extremely finding herself extremely attracted to everything that is very feminine, old couture, very colourful, Rogge established a series of contrasting guidelines which she would be using for future reference for the brand.
Merging these two flavours together, was also her own way of creating a wardrobe for a woman always-on-the-go, as although women work and have to be practical, they shouldn’t lose all the femininity.
“It’s a little reflection of my friends, on what’s going on, without losing the creativity, the imagination or the message you want to get from clothes, there's an attraction that just happens,” she stated.