As Co-Founder and Creative Director, Baukjen de Swaan Arons is the woman behind the newly renamed Baukjen label. It was her vision to create a styling solution for the time-short, modern woman who wants maximum style with minimum effort. We catch up with her ahead of the latest collection launch to find out what makes her tick, the inspirations behind the label and what’s next for Baukjen.
What is the philosophy behind Baukjen the brand?
Our newly re-branded Baukjen line was designed with a focus on creating understated, everyday looks that you can really live in. It’s all about minimum effort and maximum style. The London style and way of dressing is very much reflected in our collection and how we put looks together -it’s about mixing it up, putting the unexpected together, but at the same time it’s about building the perfect uniform of essentials to live in every day such as the skinny jeans, luxe tee and biker jacket.
What do you think women are looking for in their clothes?
Every woman I know is super busy, has very long to do lists and time is a scarce resource. Women need clothes that fit within their lifestyle, that are easy to wear, have a great fit and last for years. I am one of those women and understand how important it is to have clothes that you can go about your daily life in and look and feel great about yourself in.
I think women are expecting more from their clothes in the sense that they want pieces that will work in all sorts of different outfits, like a coat that they can wear to work and then dress down with jeans at the weekend. I think women in general have become more demanding and rightly so – I certainly have.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration is everywhere, films, travelling, magazines, blogs. I’m constantly taking pictures. It’s also about looking at how women dress around the world and sometimes it’s just about the stitching detail of someone’s coat, and you think ‘wow, we could use that’.
What is it about fashion that you love?
I feel so much better when I feel happy with how I look – I love the confidence that fashion gives you. Plus there is always something new around the corner, I love how you can break rules, and that something that wasn’t done a couple of years ago is suddenly cool again. It’s exciting, dynamic and ever changing. That’s probably what I love most about it.
Did you always want to work in the fashion industry?
Yes, absolutely. I grew up in a very close family with lots of creative cousins that included a fashion photographer, stylist, graphic designer and architect. One of my closest cousins is a stylist and was always off to gorgeous locations. Her life looked so glamorous and exciting. I’m 10 years younger than her and used to visit her as a kid and she would explain how the fashion world worked. Right from the start I found it fascinating and so exciting, she really was an inspiration to me.
You’re Co-Founder and also Creative Director, how do you balance the business side with the creative?
I balance it because I have to! But I don’t always find it easy. I have to shift my mindset a lot. It’s very common for me to come out of a meeting where we’ve been talking about fabrics or colours to go into another where I’m discussing cash flow. It’s challenging at times.
How do you see Baukjen developing?
It’s grown a lot but we’re just at the tip of the iceberg. Our focus is to offer great collections and styling advice and slowly we’ll be adding more product groups, including footwear and jewellery. We ask our customers for feedback on a regular basis and I like to hear what they say as it helps steer our direction.
How do you relax?
I love to read when I can find the time and nothing beats a long soak in the bath. A walk with some of my favourite music on is great for unwinding at the weekend and I love having dinner with my friends and family. In a busy life, it’s all about enjoying the simple things.
What is your favourite…
Cecconi’s in Mayfair for fantastic Italian food.
Part of London
Can I have two? Hampstead where I’m from and where I live and I also love Notting Hill.
London, I love the diversity and all the cultures, it’s such a great place with so many things going on. I must admit I also love Amsterdam, cycling from one place to the next, the beauty of it, the food is also great plus I have endless cousins that live there.
Italy, I love Tuscany and I’d love to go to the Amalfi coast. I’m also hoping that at some point soon we can go to somewhere far away like Bora Bora with the kids, where hopefully no one will call us and we can enjoy a few weeks of relaxed bliss!
The Hayward Gallery, here in London.
It’s quite old and I haven’t watched it for ages but I love When Harry Met Sally!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I try to read it every year.
And finally, who would be your dream dinner party guests?
Cate Blanchett, Piers Morgan, Denzel Washington, Grace Coddington, Michael McIntyre and Jamie Oliver.