Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Monique Eillebrecht, freelance garment designer and tutor at MAFAD (Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design). I graduated in 1986 from the Academy of Arts in Maastricht, the fashion department.
After my graduation I left Maastricht to live in Randstad together with my husband and worked for O’Neill, Soap Studio, Flaim and Miel Mode. In 1997 we moved back to Limburg, where I started working as a freelance designer for various Dutch brands amongst them Nomad, Bad Boys, ANKY, Setter. The last two brands are still my clients. In 2010 I co-launched LÖV, a fashionable, functional, fair raincoat brand. In 2012 the brand terminated especially due to the crisis.
Together with my husband I live in Maastricht. We have 2 daughters, studying and living on their own.
What do you consider your distinctive achievement?
For almost 20 years I work as a freelance designer, I still love my job and have sufficient clients.
My expertise on high-tech fabrics and adapting them for sportswear distinguishes me from other designers.
The experience of launching a own brand has broaden my knowledge, makes me more than just a designer.
What are you looking forward too?
I’m looking forward to fund a creatives community in the big garage of 200m2 under our house. It should become a vivid space for all kind of creatives and various activities.
Next to that I hope to contribute to the new developments of the design department at MAFAD.
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
Love your work/job! If you don’t, you will not manage to stay in this working field.
You shouldn’t do everything on your own, work together and consult other professionals (like a bookkeeper, a text writer etc.)
Take every opportunity.
What are the challenges that we need to come to make about cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
The province or city should subsidized more buildings with ateliers with shared functions, like a working place with various machines, a café, a kinder-garden, a front office etc. or initiatives for this.
Academies should provide a kind of aftercare for just graduated designers and artists, to give them extra help with starting their own business, exhibitions and applying for a job, perhaps in a kind of consulting hours. 4 Years study is too short to learn everything about cultural entrepreneurship.