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Wendy Andreu designs and makes 'Regen', waterproof accessories from rope and latex

"I always wanted to be both a designer and a craftswoman"

French designer Wendy Andreu graduated cum laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven this year with her collection, Regen. The pieces, made from rope and latex, are both waterproof and beautiful. 

Cum laude

Wendy Andreu's Regen was on display at two different locations in Eindhoven during the latest edition of Dutch Design Week, both at Design Academy Eindhoven's (DAE) graduate exhibition and at Modebelofte in the Bijenkorf. There's a reason Andreu graduated cum laude from DAE; the promising designer was also nominated for the René Smeets Award for the student that performs the most professionally during the design and production process. She didn’t win, but with her innovative, aesthetically pleasing designs, she was certainly in the running. 

© Ronald Smits
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© Ronald Smits

Rope and latex

Regen is made of double-sided material that’s covered with waterproof latex on one side and cotton rope on the other side. The accessories can also be worn on both sides, and with the latex on the outside, they're even more watertight. "The idea was born two years ago when I was experimenting with rope and latex," said Andreu. "I discovered that latex sticks to the cotton fibres and they acted like they were glued to each other. It turned out that this new fabric was waterproof, so I thought of rainproof accessories." Andreu then developed a production system, and in the end, a collection and a brand. The entire process is done with moulds, which gives all of the products three-dimensional shape without the need for any sewing machines. "Because the rope is wrapped around the mould, there's also no wasted material." 

© Ronald Smits
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© Ronald Smits

Craftsmanship and design

Andreu spent the first three years of her studies at École Boulle, a design school in Paris, before she started at DAE. "I fell in love with the mentality of the academy here and the kind of hands-on work they do. In France, craftsmanship and design are seen as two completely different disciplines, and it was hard for me to position myself in that bipolar view of creation. I always wanted to be both a designer and a craftswoman, and the Design Academy offered me the opportunity to express myself in both fields. I'm really happy with it!" 

© Ronald Smits
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© Ronald Smits

Dutch Design

Andreu gave her project the typically Dutch name, 'Regen'. "It's really funny, because when I say that in France, the pronunciation is an immediate conversation starter." Which begs the question, does this Frenchwoman sees herself now, after her Dutch design education, as a Dutch designer? "I think I've become really influenced by Dutch design," is the designer's answer to that question. "I love the freedom to express myself and I love Dutch design. Everything is possible here; there are a lot of designers and designers existing here alongside each other. That creates a lovely industry. But I also really appreciate the London design world. I interned there at Studio Toogood, which makes unisex jackets. The work of designer Erica and Faye really inspires me, too. If people want to call my design Dutch design, that's great, but personally I concentrate more on what's important for me: designs with a focus on materials and processes." 

© Ronald Smits
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© Ronald Smits

Next stap

So what's the next step for this recent graduate? "That's hiring someone so I can expand, I make everything myself at the moment. I'm going to be at the Premiere Class accessory trade show in Paris this January. Then I'm hoping to get bought into some stores, until now my accessories have only been sold in a store in Brussels and a gallery in Saudi Arabia. But I myself am going to stay in the Netherlands for the time being." 

Picture credits: Ronald Smits

© Ronald Smits
5/5
© Ronald Smits
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