Nannet van der Kleijn studied fashion design at Montaigne in Amsterdam from 1981-1985. She has 30 years of experience in the fashion industry and is interested in all facets that are necessary to make the industry work. Society fascinates her. Nannet has the talent to read the zeitgeist and to translate and implement it into a brand’s identity. You could describe Nannet as an architect of brands. These days she likes to call herself a ‘stroller’. In the sense of that she likes to observe, to listen, to research, to connect and to translate, everything that’s necessary into a product. The end result of her work is always a product; either a collection, a book, a game etc.

What makes your wardrobe green?7882-16
It contains pieces that are from 1978, so the oldest piece is 37 years old. I cherish it and still wear it. It’s a snoopy sweatshirt with the print: I’m Perfekt! The Yohji Yamamoto shirt and trousers I have are from 1985. I also own a jacket from Comme de Garçons that I bought in 1987. I still wear it because it’s beautiful.
I’m not sure if you can call that sustainable but I really find it important to support and stimulate the local economy. I would never order sunglasses online from the US, instead I look what is near me. I’m surrounded by people that make beautiful products. So if I buy sunglasses I get monkeyglasses because I know the guy that started it and they are made from biodegradable plastic and the company helps save the orangutan.
Besides buying local I also think it’s important to support the economic cycle of young designers. That’s why I buy from Monique van Heist, Avelon, Atelier MariaLux, because they are based here and partly produce here. Of course the clothes have to feel comfortable and match my wardrobe as well. But I would always check their collections first before anything else. I am not the person that is in need of something new, but if I find something I like and have the budget for it I’ll buy it to treat myself. I support Richard Sennett’s (writer of The Craftsman) view on sustainability, where usage and recycling is explained as a very human process

Can you tell us something about your wardrobe?
I have a closet where I can lay as well as hang things in. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts and I want them hanging. The pants, sweaters and t-shirts lay neatly organized by kind while the clothes hanging are all mixed up. I mix it up on purpose from time to time. It makes me able to find new and surprising combinations. I like to keep on surprising myself.

Do you keep things neat?
After I wear something I hang it in the bathroom by the shower. It’s my own way of dry cleaning and it can also air there. Some things I only bring to the dry cleaner once in three years, because I don’t find the dry cleaning system a good way to clean, it’s very chemical. Also I know a lot about textiles so if for example I have a silk garment where the label says dry clean I just wash it by hand with baby shampoo and centrifuge it in the washing machine.

Are there clothes in your closet that you don’t wear?
No, I wear everything. Some pieces I hardly wear though, like once every five years. But I still cherish and keep them.

What’s your process of getting dressed in the morning?
It depends on how I feel. If I don’t feel like thinking about it I just put something on. But my second consideration is what I am going to do that day or who am I going to meet. I adjust my outfit to the circumstances or situation I’ll be in. I like being a chameleon like that. To adjust usually has negative connotations, but I do it to make it pleasant for myself and the other. I would never dress in shocking clothes, it doesn’t have to be about me.

Do you have any dress rules?7565-1
I always wear tights. I would never wear open shoes to companies. I also avoid showing cleavage. One of the things I find very important is good quality underwear. In the Netherlands it’s something we are not raised with, it’s seen as not worth the expense. Because of my profession I started appreciating underwear more. I see it as an investment and it’s really worth everything. Good clothes fit better and actually even bad made clothes will look better. Cheers to the lingerie shop with a bra specialist. It’s such a relief when somebody with experience can advise you.

Do you wear makeup every day? Perfume?
I always wear a little bit of mascara and a little lip pencil.
I didn’t wear perfume for 15 years. I started wearing it again since MariaLux, she creates perfumes together with her husband ‘The Nose’. They use very pure ingredients. Her first perfume series were based on three loves (Truly, Deeply and Madly) and one of those was my grandma, when I put it on my skin it smelled like my grandma. My dear grandma who taught me about the tactility’s in life, from cooking to textiles. That felt like a gift. So since three years I just wear this perfume, it’s called Truly.


Can you tell something about your style and taste?
You could describe my style as unexpected classical. Because it can be surprising if I wear cowboy boots underneath something classical. If I wear all black I like to combine materials, to create different shades of black and depth. Or I like to wear a pronounced piece.

7712-8What does fashion, clothes and style mean to you?
The word clothing is the most important one for me. I love clothing.
What I like about fashion and that’s my profession is that it’s a translation of the Zeitgeist: colors, garments, materials, wide, small, long, short. There is logic to it all and that fascinates me. I like fashion because of this logic and that it’s an expression of the people, a translation.
Style and lifestyle, if you look at it personally, it shows something of that person. I don’t like the word Lifestyle and the way it’s used, but it shows the style of life. Like the couple from Paris I told you about with the knotted top (FREDFARROWBRITTAVELONTAN), they always look a certain way and you can read their style of life from it, hippie like, but constructed hippies. So the way people combine garments makes you read them.

Do you talk about clothes with people, with who?
Yes, when I meet someone I always say something if I find something interesting, like a nice jacket or nice garment. Usually when I meet somebody for the first time it can help me in the conversation to get to a different level. Because those are choices that are close to the skin.

Are there things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Yes, I can be inspired by how they combine things. Like Iris Apfel and Diana Vreeland.

Do you have an outfit that you’ve worn for a couple of years?
Black combined with black. For example black trousers with a wide blazer and a black t-shirt underneath, that’s timeless.

When do you feel most beautiful?
When I feel that my eyes shine. I also had a period that my eyes felt dull. And my husband also fell for me because of my eyes, he was mesmerized by my eyes. I also feel it, for example if I talk about the knitting industry I can feel my eyes shine and I feel it in my whole body. For me it has nothing to do with clothes. It’s about subjects that are close to me.


If you could build up your wardrobe from scratch, what would you do different? Or would you do something different?

How and when do you shop for clothes?7913-18
Random. For practical things I have fixed addresses, for example tights I always buy from Wolford. Other than that I don’t really need things. I do go to specific events where I can buy pieces from for example Monique van Heist.

Do you have shopping rules?
Because I know how it’s made and what the costs are, it’s really a price versus quality issue for me. I always look how it’s made on the inside, that’s a habit. There was a print from Diana van Furstenberg that I really liked, but I know she partly produces in America and partly in the Far East and that there is a difference in quality. When it has an English seam (also known as French seam) from the inside and it looks good on the body and I find it worth it, I buy it. But if the inside has a lock seam, I don’t buy it, even though I love the print.

How does money play a roll into this all?
I’m very inconsequential. I always have money and I never have money. Only one year, in 2011, I didn’t buy anything at all when I participated in the Free Fashion Challenge. And that was very easy for me, I didn’t feel a need for shopping. Also because I bought a sufficient amount of socks, tights etc. to start with.
It really inspired me to make new combinations with what I already have, I still like doing that, I get very happy when I find new combinations. But I do think you need a sufficient amount of clothes that really suit you to be able to make new combinations.

If you buy clothes do you think of the person that made it?
Yes, always, because that’s also part of my profession. I’ve been working in the fashion industry for thirty years so it’s inevitable.

7819-13Do you have favorite shops?
I like what Sprmrkt does, it’s not totally my style, but I always find beautiful pieces, like the sweater from Avelon and the black furry coat. I always tend to go to shops that have a very personal approach, where one person is curating the shop in their own way.

How do you know that something you buy will be long term?
I see something and I feel it and I wear it and I feel it and when it’s right, I buy it. I’m also really critical on proportions, a piece has to have the right proportions, it’s like the golden ratio, if a collar is too big in relation to the rest I won’t buy it, it has to be just right. But this process happens unconsciously.

Has there ever been a change in your buying habits?
Yes, this is where my chameleon behavior pops up, despite the fact that I have a base formula for my wardrobe choices I also adapt to my surroundings. I meditated for ten years in an environment where people wore a lot of white. Slowly my wardrobe became much lighter. I also wore very little make up, everything became more pure. But it always stayed tactile. Only the colors changed to white, light grey and beige, I didn’t wear anything black at the time.
Also when I worked as a creative director for AMFI (Amsterdam Fashion Institute) I would wear blazers more often. I would wear them in my own casual way. I also started wearing more dresses instead of pants and sweaters, that’s something that stayed and I’m happy with that change.

Has there been a change in the way you look at fashion and clothing?
Yes, because I work in the industry I know what the cost is of something, literally and figurative, so not only the numbers. I’ve been in India, Italy, Portugal and China for production, so I’ve seen the circumstances in which clothing is produced. If I would be very consistent than I should not wear black, because the pigment black it’s very heavy for the environment. The base garment is first bleached and then they use a heavy black die to get it really black.

Do you have tips for other women?
To dive into your own wardrobe and to change things around so you discover new combinations and to try out more daring combinations. In general women tend to get a kick out of buying something new, although you can also really get a kick out of finding new combinations with your existing clothes.
Also to buy locally and to stimulate the local economy and keep it healthy. Sustainable also stands for healthy, you see that also with food, organic and local food is also healthy, literally and metaphorically.