How did the collaboration with Xandres come about?
Josje: “Xandres noticed on my Instagram that I make hats and that I love the creative side of hat-making. The label didn’t have any hats in its collection and thought it would be a great idea for us to join forces and do something about that. I’m really passionate about hats. It was a perfect match.”
What inspired your passion for hats?
Josje: “I started making my own hats years ago, because I couldn't find any that suited my style and the shape of my head. I love being creative in all kinds of areas. Hats are a perfect example. To get to the bottom of the hat-making process, I studied fashion design - more specifically, hat design - in Antwerp. During my pregnancy, I got back into it, and Xandres noticed, thanks to the photos I was sharing on Instagram.”
Did you get carte blanche for your Xandres design?
Josje: “I had a few ideas in mind and I discussed the shape, colour and material with the Xandres team. The idea was to design a hat that would fit into the autumn collection. I kept that in mind. Many people think I have a very distinctive, striking style, but for Xandres I created a really stylish design that can easily be combined with many different looks. The idea is that you can wear this hat with pretty much all of your outfits.”
“The crown of the hat is different from your usual creased style. The brim is also unique: not too floppy but quite sleek. In fact, sleek designs are trendy right now. A sleek hat - without any frills - is a great addition to the Xandres autumn collection, which includes a great many structured fabrics, like corduroy and wool. It tones things down. This hat is made of sturdy felt, which doesn’t lose its shape. We opted for a pink shade, which is accessible and goes well with any hair colour.”
Do you feel a hat is a must-have in every woman’s wardrobe? If so, why?
Josje: “Yes, I’m convinced every woman - and man - should have at least one hat, even if it’s just for special occasions. Personally, I wear a hat every day. And I’ve noticed that more and more people on the streets are wearing hats too. I would advise everyone to buy one good-quality, versatile hat that goes well with a range of different outfits. Hats keep your hair and face dry on a rainy day, and they’re a nice added touch to your outfit.”
"For Xandres I chose a very stylish, easy to combine design. The idea is that you can wear this hat with all your outfits".
How would you describe your personal style?
Josje: “It depends on the phase I’m in. I like to alternate: I can go from very colourful and exuberant to plain and elegant. As for hats, I usually go for larger models, but in my wardrobe I have a mix of large and smaller hats. My head is perfectly suited to hats - thanks, mum! - so I can wear many different models. A larger hat goes really well with anything from raincoats to jeans and a blouse. Small hats - fascinators - often have a more festive touch.”
Is the hat you designed for Xandres a larger model?
Josje: “Yes, it’s a somewhat larger, sleek hat that looks elegant, but not over the top, and suits many women’s styles. It’s a mix of elegant and rugged. You can choose how to wear the hat: on your forehead or more towards the back of your head, for example if you have short hair or a few playful loose strands of hair on your forehead.”
Xandres selected you as an inspiring woman. Which women inspire you?
Josje: “The first name that comes to mind is Michelle Obama. Also, as a hat lover, I think Alicia Keys is an inspiring woman: she always wears her hats in a surprising way, and she exudes positive energy.”
What are you up to professionally at the moment?
“I’ve just launched my book ‘Goed bevallen?’ (‘Good birth?’) and I’m currently spending a lot of time giving readings. I also designed this hat for Xandres. For the time being, music is not a top priority, but that’s OK. That time will come. I’m not a big planner to be honest. Go with the flow, that’s my motto.”
Like every new mum, you need to strike a balance between your family and your professional life. How do you clear your head and make time for yourself?
Josje: “Exercising helps me forget all my worries and clear my head. I do functional training, a type of power training. I also love the outdoors, walking in parks and forests. And I like to read, although lately I haven’t had much time to do that. It takes a lot more planning (laughs).”
What are your dreams and ambitions?
Josje: “I would love to continue to build on this hat adventure, either with my own collection or through custom orders, I’m not sure yet. Time will tell. In any case, it’s one of my big passions. Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the small, everyday things in life, and I’ve been trying to choose projects that really suit me and make me happy. Maybe one day, I hope to design a hat for Maxima to wear during Kings Day.”