Liz : We urge people to stop buying disposable items. All of our clothes are durable and go well together.Fashion is about mixing and matching and combining new pieces with older ones.
Slow fashion is sustainable. How eco-friendly is Heart of Gold?
Liz : Sustainability is key. We pay special attention to searching for the right colours and high-quality eco-fabrics during the design process. We pick them ourselves in a small atelier in Portugal. There, we work together with artisans who are specialized in bio-cotton.
Dirk : Our partners are pioneers when it comes to reducing water, energy, and chemical use.
Liz: In the past, we loved working with Japanese textiles. But by choosing to work with ateliers close to home, we can keep our ecological footprint as little as possible.
From apparel to home textiles, the baby's universe is expanding.
The name 'Heart of Gold' is a reference to Neil Young's song. How important is music when designing fashion?
Liz : Do you know the song? It sounds like a nursery rhyme. It's sweet, naive, and very catchy. The phrase 'I want to live, I want to give' is very generous and genuine. It perfectly describes the mission of our label.
Dirk : The musical reference is an ode to our son, Camille. He was a talented singer/songwriter, and he's very close to our hearts. In one of his songs, he talked about us and the drawing table. Our two other children, Colette and Maurice, have never known us otherwise. We always designed clothes with them in mind. For twenty-five years now, we have been in this business. I don't see myself partnering up with anyone else, besides with Liz, my ex-wife.
Before Gold, you ran other labels. Can you, with your decades of experience, tell us how children's fashion has evolved?
Dirk : When we started out, we were marked as a Belgian brand. Back then, it was a quality tag that really meant something.
Liz : At trade fairs, Belgian children designers shared one booth, just like the Antwerp Six did in the mid-Eighties.
Dirk : What we created was considered edgy, quirky, artistic, and slightly pretentious. We're both graphic designers, and our first collections were very graphical and bold. With most brands and children's stores now gone, the fashion business has changed drastically. Me and Liz, we are die-hards. We just won't quit. The older we get, the more we feel the urge to create and take risks. As we went from 'Gold' to 'Heart of Gold', our focus changed, and we recruited new team members.
Dirk : With children's clothing, you think about certain characters. But when designing baby apparel and home textiles, you consider the parents. As parents ourselves, we wonder how we want to dress our little ones and decorate their room. When a child is born, moms and dads are on cloud nine. They want to surround their babies with love, warmth, and tenderness. With our label, we want to hold on to that precious and intimate feeling. Hence, our fabrics are soft, colors are desaturated, and the prints are subtle.
Liz : They are essential. Every season starts with a careful selection of a unique colour palette and matching fabrics. We put a lot of thought and care into it. All of our pieces are garment dyed. Pieces are made first and subsequently stained. This particular process enables us to achieve a softer and cuddlier feel and a worn look. The toned down and desaturated colour palette has become part of our signature style. The same fabric is used for clothing and home textile. What made you decide to add an extra layer to the concept?
Liz : What we do is quite unique. Many brands specialize in children's and baby's clothing, but not that many offer home textiles. The home is a new, exciting playfield that we wanted to add to our label.
Dirk : We are very familiar with clothes. But textiles end up in an interior, which is an entirely different domain. The older we get, the more we like to be challenge. (Laughs.)
Liz : The launch was so successful that we are adding new pieces to our collection.
Dirk : It's fair to say that instead of slowing down, we take it up a notch, one step at a time.