Contact through contact
An alumna of the Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Meryll Rogge launched her line in 2020, having spent time with those she has always admired. Marc Jacobs in New York for seven years, then Dries Van Noten for four years – this was her initial experience before freelancing. Her design studio is in the countryside near Ghent in Belgium; and on the other side of the computer screen, through linen curtains, I zoom in on a vast backyard, and ask her if she has a green thumb. She replies that she doesn’t garden because she doesn’t have time. “I work with people who are constantly on the move, like me” she explains. Rogge has always drawn. “I know how to sew buttons, I have always been very skilled this way” she says, noting in that her family, quite athletic, never had this manual instinct. And yet today, everyone, including her brothers and parents, puts their hands to work. Her hands are typing: “I spend a lot of time communicating via WhatsApp, and on the computer. She concedes: “The hands are essential, especially at the very beginning of the collection, when selecting fabrics: we can do fittings remotely, meetings in Zoom, but nothing replaces the touch. It’s impossible to dodge this step.”
Putting the pins where they are intended could be her definition of this profession. “But I’m not into the romanticism of the isolated designer who draws at his desk,” assures this entrepreneur who on March 2, presents her collection at the (future) Dover Street Market in the Marais before heading to Tokyo. Highly tactile, with its knits entirely hand-crocheted, and prints made from flowers painted, photographed, retouched on the computer; the collection is entitled “Poor connection.” “There are many prints based on FaceTime pictures. We work on the notion of celebration and gathering post-Covid. It’s time to return to real meetings, to conviviality,” she says. Hand-in-hand with the times, a way to trace a path with freedom. “The main function of a garment is to protect from the elements of nature. If we talk about fashion, it is to feel good, and ‘empowered,’ to face social relationships.” Contact through contact.