by calling their new girls collection roxy “heart”, board sports brand quiksilver makes a statement for passion and dedication. the new collection addresses all those girls who have been fans of roxy’s youthful, fresh designs for years but are now looking for more “grown up” and subtle outfits. the “heart” clothing line combines inspirations from the world of fashion, sports, art and music. in addition to the brand’s own ideas, roxy europe’s head designer valérie thévenot also wants to work together with a different guest designer from the art or fashion industry every season. in the following interview, the talented fashion designer talks about her view of “grown-up street wear”, the fascination of surf culture and the idols who have influenced her career.
dear valérie, do you have any idols that particularly influenced your work as a fashion designer?
my idols are yves saint laurent and marc jacobs. yves saint laurent was a fantastic visionary. his precise approach to work and his exemplary feel for structures have been a great influence for me. and i admire marc jacobs for his self-concept, for the way he combines opposites like structures and deconstructive avant-garde or old looks with modern inspirations. i love his idea that clothes are inanimate and only come to life through the individual way we wear them.
did you always want to become a fashion designer or was it more or less a coincidence?
actually it was more of a coincidence because i actually wanted to be an aerial acrobat. i come from a middleclass family and as a kid my parents didn’t really buy me the most fashionable clothes. i always felt a bit awkward because my friends looked so cool and sometimes laughed at me. back then i started to think that you needed to look good in order to be happy and successful. looking back, it might have made me prouder to work as a doctor or for an aid organization. however, as a young girl, fashion designer seemed the most “helpful” job to me.
from all the clothes you have designed in your career, do you have a favourite piece?
not really. i fall in love with a new favourite piece every season. this season it’s the quilted army jacket with metal buttons. it always has to be a versatile piece of clothing that makes you look good from dawn till dusk, in all situations.
what inspired you to create the roxy “heart” collection?
we first launched the roxy sportswear brand 13 years ago. our initial customers have now grown up, they have different needs, lead a different lifestyle and wear different clothes. with our new collection, we still want to be part of their lives, no matter how old they are or where they live. that’s why we created a more “mature” ladies collection that still radiates the roxy spirit.
your new “grown up” street wear collection addresses women aged 25 and above. how does it differ from your younger clothing line?
both lines are rooted in the fascinating surf culture, so they have the same foundation. however, the materials, colours, cuts and patterns used in the roxy heart outfits are more unusual, maybe even a bit more revolutionary. the typical “heart girl” still carries the spirit of board sports in her heart but is now more mature and self-confident. she knows what she wants and has a sure instinct when it comes to combining different styles. she is less influenced by her environment and takes greater fashion risks. instead of copying others, she inspires them with her style.
roxy heart teams up with different co-designers every season. at the moment, you’re working together with london-based designer zakee shariff, who has already created collections for the likes of urban outfitters or topshop. what was it like to work with her?
zakee shariff is a very special person. she’s an amazing artist and one of the most admirable people i’ve met in my life so far. and it all reflects in her work: zakee’s patterns and graphics radiate a very positive energy. working with her was very harmonious, like puzzle pieces perfectly falling into place.
why do you think is the surf and boarder lifestyle so popular?
i think it fascinates people because it’s what they dream of. it’s this unique mixture of total freedom and deep respect for the ocean, the idea to be able to control the dangerous and beautiful element of water, even if it’s just for a few seconds. few other sports disciplines are characterised by this kind of awareness and close relationship with nature.