"Humor has always been an essential part of my approach."

Interview with Stephanie D'heygere

16 April 2024

Meet Stephanie D'Heygere, the creative director of D'heygere. Her name is synonymous with innovative accessories and jewelry in the world of fashion and design. With a rich experience at leading fashion houses and a determined commitment to innovation, she has made her mark within the fashion world. Discover the conversation MAD Brussels had with Stephanie!


Can you tell me more about yourself and the journey you've been on so far?

"I come from Courtrai and graduated from the Antwerp Fashion Academy. Then I did various internships at some well-known brands, which gave me a better insight into the different options and departments within the fashion industry. One of the prominent labels where I interned in accessories, and where it all really started, is Maision Margiela. It made me very happy to discover my passion for accessories there! At Maison Margiela, I got my very first real job, where I worked for about 4 to 5 years. This was truly a top experience and helped me settle well in Paris; I was determined to stay here. After that, I worked for 2 years as a freelancer for other prominent labels such as Jill Sander, Y/project, Vêtements,... before transitioning back to a permanent position at Dior for a year. After that period, I resumed my freelance work and felt a desire for something new. By this time, I had gained a lot of experience and began to think about starting my own brand."

"After a year of preparation, I launched my own brand D'heygere in 2018. Besides my freelance work, I am still involved in it daily. Recently, I did something completely new, which was designing a co-working space in Antwerp. I found this new challenge super enjoyable, which is why I am now considering whether I could pursue object design in the future. It's a world I'm not very familiar with yet, but I'm itching to try out new things. I think as a person, you always like to leave your mark on everything you do, so we'll have to see what the future holds."

Gentle Monster x D’heygere

In addition to your freelance work, you have also collaborated extensively with bigger names. Can you explain how that came about and how those collaborations have inspired and challenged you?

"I love collaborations! When seeking partners, we look for brands that have expertise we may not possess, especially regarding a particular product. A great example is our collaboration with Gentle Monster. I had wanted to design eyewear for a long time, but I didn't have all the necessary knowledge for it. That's why a collaboration with Gentle Monster seemed intriguing. I then sent them an email with a presentation and hoped they would be interested, which they were in this case."

In your designs, you often incorporate humor and approach everyday objects very playfully. How do you see humor evolving within the fashion industry?

"Humor has always been an essential part of my approach. I appreciate people with a sense of humor. Laughing is just such a great experience! In fashion, I think it's important not to take things too seriously. If you look back at the history of fashion, you always see humor coming through, such as with Schiaparelli when she launched her brand. It's not something that occurs with all brands, but it has always been present in the fashion industry. So, I don't believe humor is really evolving in fashion; it's more linked to the personality of the designers. Then it's up to the customer to decide whether this interests them or not!"

D'heygere x Deewee

In our upcoming exhibition 'Fashion Moves' you exhibit two pieces, one in collaboration with Souvenir Officiel and the other with Deewee. Could you tell us more about the collaboration with Deewee? How did it come about, and where did you draw your inspiration from?

"The collaboration with Deewee was truly a dream come true for me. Since my teenage years, I've been a huge fan of Soulwax and later 2ManyDJs. Somehow, I got to know the guys from Deewee a little better. It felt like they were also interested in my brand and aesthetic, and we just started chatting. Then the reopening of the ModeMuseum Antwerp was approaching, and Flanders DC wanted to combine designers with other creatives for it. I immediately thought this is the perfect opportunity to do something together with Deewee, it came at the perfect time."

"The design naturally had to be an accessory with a link to their music, so I came up with the idea of a signet ring with a USB stick containing an exclusive track from them. You can only listen to that song if you've bought the ring! I think only about 80 people know that song now."

"We displayed our pieces during the reopening of MoMu, there was even a sales opportunity, but we only sold one ring then. I thought oh no, this is a disaster! Afterwards, we waited a bit and shot a campaign together and did an official launch on our channels. In one day, everything sold out, it was bizarre! It taught me that the success of a product really depends on how you present it and who your target audience is."

Canister Hoops

What are sources of inspiration for you?

"A major source of inspiration for me is the everyday objects I use in my daily life. Sometimes I design a piece of jewelry to fulfill a practical need, albeit in a rather broad sense (laughs). Take, for example, our Canister Hoops, earrings with a tube where you can put something inside. I love flowers, they are one of the most beautiful things in the world, but there are already many designs out there. So, I looked for an innovative way to combine them with jewelry. That's how I came up with the idea of incorporating a fresh flower into a piece of jewelry. Another example is our photo cap, a hat where you can insert a photo. I remember how people used to keep photos of their friends or loved ones in their wallets, and I thought: why shouldn't everyone have the opportunity to see those photos? So, I came up with the idea of putting those photos on a hat! These little features may not necessarily make life easier, but they sure make it more fun. I'm also always on the lookout on the street, in a café, or on the metro, to see how people carry things or use them in creative ways. Small details like seeing someone tuck their metro card under their watch can inspire me for new ideas. Additionally, art is also a significant source of inspiration for me, especially art with a hint of humor or absurdity."

Campaign 2021

What advice do you have for beginning designers? 

"My advice is to gain experience in the fashion industry before starting your own brand. It's invaluable to understand how everything works, such as the timeline and establishing contacts with manufacturers. By working in the fashion industry, you get to know a lot of people, like stylists, photographers, and journalists, all of whom are crucial for launching a brand. It's important to both intern and take real jobs. During an internship, you learn a lot, but you're not fully part of the team."

"Furthermore, I don't believe it's necessary for a brand to present something entirely new every season. I believe in working on consistent concepts to build a true brand identity. Sometimes it feels wasteful, not only for the manufacturers who put a lot of work into these innovations but also financially. I believe this doesn't have to be the only path to success in today's fashion industry."