As I always say, fashion is a way of living. It’s not just wearing something, it is the highest expression of who we are or who we aspire to become. Our imagination, our views, our dreams are on the clothes we wear, that’s why I love discovering new talents and their universe, to see what’s hidden behind their creations and how our lives are so intertwined with fashion.
I get to know a lot of creatives, photographers, stylists, designers, but it rarely happens to meet someone who joins together two passions in one, like Odette Denijs, a 33 years old Dutch photographer who launched a slow fashion brand, AUDEE, where abstract images from her photography works, come alive on wonderfully crafted, ethereal silk scarves, arousing imagination and daze.
The mantra is “not about living up to others’ expectations of who you should be. It’s about showing the world who you are and having absolutely no shame in doing so. Because we deserve to feel good about who we are. And letting ourselves shine through in the fashion choices we make, is one of life’s simple pleasures.”
Tell me more about your background.
I am born in the Netherlands, with Italian roots. I hold academic degrees both in public international law and international development studies. My most favourite place in the world is Cavo, a small village on the Italian island of Elba. Since I can remember, I’ve been a visitor of Cavo every year during the summer. Six weeks of reading books, falling in love, walking around in summer dresses, listening to radio Deejay…
“With AUDEE I want to make people happy. I want to inspire women with original and dreamy designs”
What do you want to convey through your photography?
My aim is to create a sense of wonder and confusion. I want to surprise myself and others. I want to experience this feeling of excitement when patterns, movement and organic forms come together in a beautiful unity.
How did the idea of a brand come up to your mind?
As my photography portfolio grew (my work was featured in New Dutch Photography Talent, an edition of GUP Magazine, i-D Magazine and exhibited at various venues including the Volkshotel and Glassworks in Amsterdam) a little voice at the back of my mind persisted in asking; ‘Why do you take photos? What’s the story you’re trying to tell? Is this how you want to do it?’.
During this journey, I realised that I wanted to head into a new direction with my abstract photography. Slowly the idea grew that my prints could also be used differently. I often saw a room in front of me where everybody wore my prints and where all the walls and furniture were covered with my photographic prints and patterns as well.
That was the beginning.
You say: “ If you have a longing for a slower, more meaningful life with fewer, but higher quality pieces in your wardrobe, AUDEE is for you.” So your brand expresses more a lifestyle than a style?
I believe that a brand is capable of embodying so much more than a style alone. Lifestyle, values, ideas, art, politics: all give context and colour to our lives. Context for each brand, phenomenon or news fact is essential as context helps us to engage with the world around us, to understand the world a little bit better.
In a world where everything is fast and disposable, slow fashion brands like AUDEE can face some difficulties. How would you manage them and how would you like to make a change in this frenetic world? Nowadays with the internet, small companies and slow fashion labels can actually survive because of the fact that they sell online directly to the customer, cutting out the middle man and following their own rhythm.
You started with two scarves, The Blue and The Poppies, using a special technique. Would you like to share it with us?
With my photography I search for patterns, movement, and organic forms that come together in a beautiful unity. I explore new shapes found in the multiple layers created by the photographic technique I use, transforming the details of plants, flowers and trees into intriguing new patterns and structures, creating confusion in what we see, challenging expectations. These are the basis for the imagery found on AUDEE’s silk scarves.
Why did you chose to produce in Italy?
From the beginning, I wanted the scarfs to be produced in Europe, under good circumstances. After researching many different manufacturers in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy, I discovered a really nice silk scarf manufacturer near the shores of Lake Como, Italy, with many years of experience in the silk industry.
Do you imagine an AUDEE clothing collection?
Who knows, stay tuned to find out!