FASHION ENTHUSIAST RENATE SHARES WHY SHE LOVES OILILY AND WHAT THE BRAND MEANS FOR SOUTH AFRICA AND FASHION
Growing up in the south of Holland in Eindhoven, today known as the design city of the Netherlands, I was surrounded by a culture of beauty. Studying in Amsterdam was a great eye-opener, because the city is rich in fashion, art and fun. Being a woman, I love the fact that fashion is an expression of creativity, available to everyone. It’s full of surprises – the colours, the fabrics and the designs. Since I was little, I’ve loved clothes and dressing up like a princess. That never changed, luckily enough, and working with a brand like Oilily was a natural progression. I loved its bright colours, quirkiness and original designs, and when there was an opportunity for me to bring it to Africa I just jumped right in. An old friend told me he couldn’t have thought of a better person to bring it here, because whenever he saw Oilily items, they reminded him of me, which is such a huge compliment. I hope the brand will stay unique and original as it has been for the last 50 years, and I hope it’ll spread like an inkblot over the African continent. It works so well in South Africa, in terms of bright colours and cheerful designs – it truly fits a rainbow nation. Oilily has even inspired me to live better; I’ve never loved working as much as I do now – in fashion and in the most beautiful country. It couldn’t be better than this. I really enjoy showing the brand to people in the fashion business as it somehow always makes them happy. It’s almost like opening a magic box – the range goes from handbags to cosmetic purses, beautiful silk and woollen shawls, even cosmetics. There is something for everyone. I love reading, running on the beach, travelling, having long lunches with friends, unpacking Oilily samples from the latest collection, and spending quality time with my son and my husband. I love clothes that are different, that have quality and originality. I love skirts and dresses and I don’t really follow what’s ‘in’ at any particular moment. I have skirts from Dries Van Noten that I bought more than 10 years ago and I’m still wearing them because they’re beautiful. I love black, because it’s always easy, but at the same time I have very colourful pieces. I never get tired of beautiful clothing. Working with this brand has made me realise many things about myself, how impulsive and inquisitive I can be, but with Oilily, which has quirkiness and an element of surprise, I know it’s a suitable match! I enjoy life with it and I look
forward to growing with it.
Clockwise from top Renate Brouwers; scenes from Oilily ad campaigns; signature items from the colourful range.