How did you get started with Blue Eleven?
I am a trained fashion designer and it started for me in 2016 when I just needed stuff for my portfolio. I realized I liked doing it too much and a lot of people kept asking me, "Where can I buy this? How can I get it?," so I started an Instagram account to get some followers and to put it out there. I realized that people really liked it, so I decided to make a brand out of it. In the last few months leading up to The Lingerie Selection in New York, I really focused on making the brand.
Where does the name come from?
My sister helped me come up with the name. Blue is my favorite color. Everything I have is blue, even my phone is blue, and it makes me happy. Eleven comes from the fact that my sister and I were born 11 months apart, so it's a sisterhood brand. That’s why we called it Blue Eleven, and it also sounds nice.
You say your brand is “ethical lingerie”, what do you mean by that?
The fabrics in the collection are sourced in Paris and are all made from sustainable fabrics. When you think about sustainable fabrics, you may not think about recycled polyester. You only think about organic stuff like cottons. It is much easier to find and source those organic types of fabrics, but there is a shift in the fashion industry now. The fabrics I source are made from yarn that is made from waste that they take out of the ocean and recycled fabric from old clothes. The fabrics used in the collection are recycled polyester.
Where do you get your inspirations for the designs?
I am always inspired by vintage. I like the 1950s. I like the 1980s. And I like Marie Antoinette. I love watching old movies. I also get my inspiration from architecture. I love architecture. I am from Amsterdam, so we have a lot of square buildings. I also get inspiration from music. I like Yuna, this Malaysian singer songwriter. She has a moody airy vibe and lifestyle and it's sort of romantic and that is infused in my collection.
What is the philosophy of your lingerie brand?
Blue Eleven Lingerie is made for women to make them feel beautiful, to make them feel powerful for themselves first. Of course you can wear this lingerie for someone else, but I hope you can wear this lingerie without feeling like you have to be validated or have to show someone your beauty, because you feel it on the inside. Whenever you wear your favorite lingerie set, you feel like you are on top of the world. That is how I want all women to feel when they wear my lingerie.
Talk to me about this shade of blue.
I wanted the blue to be one shade lighter, but it is hard to find unless you make the textiles yourself. So I found one fabric that I liked and I made a piece took a photo of it, and I built the collection and other pieces around that piece. That is what's so great about starting your own business, you do not have to be so strict or need to make like exactly five rompers and three tops. I can just create whatever I want.
Where can you find your pieces?
The Lingerie Selection in New York City was the first time we showed our collection ever. Hopefully there will be some vendors that will start to carry our collection in the United States. When we get back to Amsterdam, we will contact some stores. There are a lot of sustainable stores in Holland and a lot of platforms for ethical fashion.
My brand is a sisterhood brand. We want to connect women with each other and make them feel like they are not alone on and offline. So we want to plan some events around the brand as well, mostly in Amsterdam because we are based there. Eventually, we want to bring everyone together and are planning to have a blog where we interact with our customers so they don't feel like we are a brand where they just buy something but rather feel a connection and see it as a lifestyle where they feel like they are heard and seen; where they feel like they are not alone. I have had those moments.
Everything is online, and that is why people don't feel connections anymore. Through this brand, we hope to bring that back and make everyone feel more connected.
@joirychelle / #designer #lingerie #ularadonata @blueelevenintimates #photo @beckyyeephoto / #sustainable / blue eleven intimates / ethical lingerie / joi rychelle model yoga teacher / lingerie / Model / ocean waste becomes lingerie / photo by Becky Yee / recycled fashion / recycled polyester / Ulara Donata