First off, how are you?
We're doing well, thank you!
The world is slowly getting out of the corona lockdown measures. How was the lockdown for you?
Well, we both weren't together during the lockdown. But we actually had a pretty quiet time in the beginning. It was a little bit scary because we had just started the agency. And everything was kind of falling apart a little bit. We were losing jobs, things got cancelled — it was scary for us. But then at the same time, the whole world had stopped so we were not the only ones. And this gave us time to work on things that had to be done that we didn't have time for before previously. We were able to do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, like getting things together, communications and catching up with our dancers. So we spent the time well, but we're happy it's sort of over now. Jobs are coming again, more and more things are happening and exciting things are coming. So we're happy that it's over!
You both run The Fashion Composers, a modelling agency representing dancers of the highest caliber. How did the idea come about?
We've been dancing for more than ten years together in the company, where we're of course surrounded by beautiful dancers every single day. At one point, we started seeing potential in our beautiful dancers to move gracefully and elegantly in front of the camera. And thought, why not use dancers for fashion, for photography, for film. This idea slowly started to become something that we wanted to do. We decided — you know what, let's start an agency! Let's just be bold and take the risk together to do this. Even though we knew it would perhaps be hard. Because most dancers have a very limited availability due to their demanding dancing schedules. But we still wanted to do this for the love of art and fashion and we just think the combination of dance and fashion could be a golden combination. And there isn't an agency that represents dancers like we do. That's why we felt it was time to create a network and a movement. Not only an agency but a whole movement with these amazing dancers. And because we've been dancers ourselves, we understand the dancing world and how it works. I think the understanding toward dancers is important because it's hard to combine dancing and modelling, but there is a way. And we really wanted to create that way together and make it possible to show off these beautiful dancers. That's kind of how it started.
How did it feel, entering into a world that already had its established structures and systems?
Looking back at it, we were very naive. But I'm happy we were naive because everything was new to us. We came from the dancing world, which is a beautiful, but also very hard world. And stepping into the fashion world, was very fresh and new to us. And we've learned so much in this last year. Stepping into it, we weren't scared. Because we figured we're not a normal modelling agency so we don't have to compete with them. It's just something new. But it was a big learning process. All the behind the scenes work, all the presenting the dancers. Everything was new and exciting. It also helped that we had a very strong own voice. We were able to be little bit naive. Because we didn't feel like we had competition in a way. It was very fresh. It was our idea and vision we wanted to put out there. We entered in a very good way. And we were so lucky to have so many amazing people around us that helped us in so many ways. That I think without those people it would have been a much harder road.
There seems to be a harmonious marriage between fashion and performing arts — ballet specifically. Why do you think that is?
First of all, ballet dancers know how to move elegantly. They know their body so well. They've been training for, in most cases, over twelve years. Their movement is already an expression. Then, adding on fashion, you have double expression. And I think that is a golden combination. It pops. Even the slightest movement they make is already such a difference. Ballet enhances that fashion feeling, that movement and emotion that is already there. On a much deeper level than perhaps other models. And I think it's an artistry that dancers have in themselves already. And on camera, it just comes out.
Can you describe a Fashion Composer model? What do you look for?
We keep the artistry as its core. So we never want to maintain the standard sizes that most model agencies are looking for. We do try to look for the perfect combination between model and dancers. So it's important for us that of course dancers are on the highest level of their game, that they are photogenic and have a great character. It needs to be a bit of everything. Diversity is very important to us as well. That's why we also work with other types of professional dancers, not only classical or contemporary, but we have an amazing hiphop dancer as well and we're looking for many other fields of dance too. So artistry has its core and then it's a combination of qualities like being photogenic and having a great character. That's a fashion composer.
From what we’ve experienced on-set, one noticeable characteristic of a Fashion Composer model is modelling from head to toe. It seems like such a small element, but it can make all the difference in a photo. In that regard, are there ‘rules’ or ‘codes’ that models have to follow, being both a model and ballet dancer?
I don't think there's necessarily a code. What we really like when dancers are modelling, is when they have their own personality shining through their movements. I think per dancer that's so different. The only condition is that they are a professional dancer. Just having that professional background gives you confidence and is a foundation to knowing how to perform and behave in front of the camera.
What are challenges you’ve come across so far in the modelling industry?
So far, we've met so many nice people and so many beautiful people that were open for our agency. We did learn a few things the hard way because we were new and excited. So what we've learned is that there is competition in every field that you do. And not all people mean the best for you. I think it's important to surround you by the people you trust and people who have faith in you. And there's a sense of wanting to help people out. And going for your gut feeling - that's very important as well. Because in the end, the modelling industry is tough and rough.
From Iris van Herpen, Viktor & Rolf to Vogue Italy and Hermès, these are only a few names in your portfolio. What other brands do you hope to see in the future? What is the dream?
Many dreams. It will be great if one of our girls or boys would be on the cover of Vogue. We would also love to have our agency in the biggest cities in the world. New York, London, Paris, Milan. We're working towards that now. We hope that those branches will be led by former dancers. We think it's important that the owners understand the dancer's priorities. Having an agency with a worldwide network, a worldwide agency. And also, creating our own production from A to Z, from creative direction to choreography. Big dreams ahead!
Finally, what do you hope to accomplish in the industry with The Fashion Composers?
Bringing the art more into the fashion world. Our quote is stop posing, start composing, and that says it all. We don't want superficial pictures but we want to add another layer to the fashion world. To bring art that fulfils your heart. We know that dancers can do that on stage and we want to bring that part of the art in the fashion world a lot more. And to us it's not just about moving, but we want to start a movement with our fashion composers and in the end have fashion composers all over the world. Artistry, having all these individual artists out there, who have their own say and own movements. That's something we would love to see. We hope we can mean something for this world in the long term.