Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Sofie Hermans (°1986), I’m a textile designer and I live together with my partner and son in Dilsen (Limburg, Belgium). In 2009 I received a masters’ degree in Fine Arts, specialisation textile design at Sint-Lucas (Ghent, Belgium), after which I got my teachers’ degree in Visual Art at PXL (Hasselt, Belgium).
Being passionate about textile design, I teach at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts (MAFAD) and also use my expertise and enthusiasm to help adults use their creativity in the Fashion and theatre costume design course ( which takes place at the Kunstacademie in Maasmechelen).
The little free time I have juggling two jobs and a family, I spend on freelance jobs as a textile and surface designer, focussing on developing exclusive designs as a visual and emotional surplus on textile, paper and products.
What do you consider your distinctive achievement?
The prints I designed for the breastfeeding bras of Mammae. One of them came into production at the end of 2016. This costumer wanted and received an exclusive, custom-made design, making it possible to stand out between the competition and boost sales. You can read the complete story behind this design on my website. I love these kinds of co-creations, in which I can translate the story of a company graphically into patterns, textile techniques and products. By adding the right design/drawing to textile and paper, a narrative link can be made between product and user.
What are you looking forward too?
Recently I decided to explore electronic-textiles, coupled with a research on functional aesthetics at MAFAD to connect (S)low tech with High tech. In this research, I want to investigate processing conductive materials onto fabrics by surface treatments as embroidery and prints, combined with the use of sensors.
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
I try to join projects in order to extend my professional network. A reliable network is really significant and helps you to conquer any problems that may arise.
Keep looking for challenges and dare to challenge yourself. Also, find out your true talents and only do what makes you happy.
Before I sporadically developed some textile accessories like printed panties, bracelets, scarfs, cushions, … But I noticed that marketing these products wasn’t my cup of tea: it kept me from my true passion: designing.
For these reasons, I prefer co-creating, which I described before.
What are the challenges that we need to come to make about cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
I live near both the Dutch and German border, but I miss some sort of Euregional cooperation and a user-friendly and easily accessible digital platform. Even though at the moment there are several organisations, they tend to work in parallel with each other. I dream of a platform which connects not only all designers (students and professionals) in the Euregion, but also local industry and companies.