Ask A Designer: The Creative Minds Behind 4funkyflavours
4funkyflavours manages to create collections showing homage to their DJing backgrounds and music, in alignment with making their brand about the people who purchase their clothes.
The brand is unapologetically focusing on not taking itself too seriously while having fun at it.
I love the uniqueness of your brand name. What’s the story behind it?
4funkyflavours: The managing board of the company includes 4 people: The Founder and CEO Jurgen van der Sanden, Astrid van de Vijfeijke, Michael Schakenraad and Hanneke Reijnen. They are four very distinguished personalities, each with their talents, qualifications, and handwriting – the core 4 funky flavours. Each of our seasonal collections (for men, women, and kids) also has four different drops, each with its unique accents and key elements.
For more than a decade, Jurgen had a well-known record store in the Netherlands. Together with Michael, they also performed as DJs in Europe, where they shaped the music scene. When Jurgen began 4funkyflavours in 2009, he aimed to bring the fun and funk from the music world into fashion.
At that time, only a few brands managed to distinguish themselves on creativity and quality level, and Jurgen was convinced that the fashion should be more fun, original, and, most importantly – colourful!
At that time, none of the company founders had any experience in fashion, but what they had was motivation and drive to create a new and exciting brand. Often we hear that our designs are distinctive in a positive way and stand out because of recognizable handwriting without being predictable. That has always been our goal – to bring something unique but united to the fashion world, and hearing that gives us more energy and inspiration to try and find new levels to reach for.
Music is the key inspiration source for our collections. Similarly, as DJs are mixing different music styles, we want to challenge people to play with our collections – to express themselves and mix & match the different fabrics, prints, and styles to get a unique look.
We make sure the ingredients are there, the consumer decides how far they dare to go with wearing colourful graphics and unusual patterns.
Besides, we also bring back the connection to music by creating a specially curated Spotify playlist for each collection. Each item has a song name, so it only makes sense to wear our collections and listen to them!
Your clothing is bright, bold, and comfortable. Who is your customer?
4funkyflavours: Our collections are for anyone, any age, race, gender, or style. We like to encourage our customers to be open-minded, try new things, stand out in the crowd, and most importantly – express themselves and who they are without putting any boundaries on themselves as well as live life with music and happiness!
You have a significant reach in the EU. Why is The United States presence vital for 4FF?
4funkyflavours: We still have a lot to learn about the American market and the differences between areas, states & cities, and the consumers and their needs and wishes. But we are very eager to get serious about this in the near future and hope that the American public will embrace us as much as the European public has.
Any plans to open a 4FF official brick & mortar store in the States, or are you going to sell online strictly?
4funkyflavours: We have to review our plans and see what the near future will bring with the pandemic. We have already started distribution with our retail partners in the States, and it is going very well. Online will remain a big part of our strategy, but maybe in the future, we will open 4funkyflavours brand stores in key cities and locations. Time will tell.
Whose responsible for designing your collections? Is it one or two individuals or a group of people?
4funkyflavours: We have two head designers: Astrid van de Vijfeijke en Hanneke Reijnen who shape the story of each collection. They work on the collections together with a creative team, assisting them with many tasks needed to complete the whole process of bringing a new collection to life. All of the design processes are happening in-house in our headquarters in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
Sketches, new pattern designs, graphic design, model drawings, and the quality control to make sure everything meets our standards – both Astrid and Hanneke oversee it all so you could say that each collection is like a new family member; to them that they have brought to life!
When designing your collection for each season, what comes first: The color palette or the fabric choices?
4funkyflavours: We work on our collections similarly to how musicians work on their music. The inspiration comes from the world around us and our experiences. Beautiful, impressive buildings with tile patterns, experimental music from new musicians, going to a new restaurant, traveling to a different country, or simply a flower that bloomed on the side of the road.
Sometimes it starts with a colour, sometimes with a pattern that flashed by on the street, or sometimes we just fall in love with a new fabric, and then this is the starting point to create and design a new garment. The same as each item, also the inspiration and design process are unique.
I love the ‘no rules’ vibe of your clothing. Is this intentional? If so, why?
4funkyflavours: We have tried to approach fashion just as open-minded as we were approaching music. Not sticking to styles or preferences, but constantly trying to surprise and achieve the best result through new and unique combinations. Just like building a DJ set, we also try to inspire our audience with all available ingredients: no rules, no limits, no boundaries, but our imagination.