post __ No comments

A #GIRLBOSS talk and atelier visit with LRNCE

Charlotte Everaert / August 31, 2015 / Interviews
LRNCE designer atelier visit

I love meeting new people who are full of ideas and not afraid to share them. Laurence Leenaert is one of those inspiring people. I met her during the Oona Press days in April, and after a few words I decided that I wanted to share her story.

Laurence Leenaert is the designer behind Belgian label LRNCE. After studying Fashion Design at KASK in Gent for three years, she decided that starting her own brand was far more interesting and enlightening than getting a Master’s degree. That might have been the best decision of her life. As a true go-getter, she’s been working hard on her dream for almost two years now. I met the spontaneous #GIRLBOSS at her atelier to be submerged in her creative world.

LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit

At first glance, anyone can see that Laurence is an ambitious girl full of plans and ideas who works on her label with a lot of dedication. Working late and being busy with ten things at a time is daily business to her.

Last month, she moved to Morocco to follow up and be closer to the production process of her beloved backpacks. She used to make every piece herself, but since her brand is getting more and more exposure, it has become nearly impossible to keep up.

What will you be up to in Morocco? 
I’ll be busy expanding my label. I would love to design kimonos and shoes. My first kimono design is already up and running on the webshop. I love to wear kimonos and I believe it’s valuable to add them to the already existing backpack collection. I’ve got a thing with coats so it’s a logical next step to start exploring its wonderful world. Whilst I’m in Morocco, I also want to make shoes. I went to Marrakesh a few years ago and met a shoemaker who wanted to teach me his trade!

#GIRLBOSS lesson no. 1: Get out of your comfort zone. Never stop learning new things and skills.
LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit

How did it all start? 

In my third year at KASK, we had to create our own collection. I started with a collection that  consisted of bags and soon realized that this was something I wanted to go through with. I quit school and went for it. I visited the Rewind store in Gent and asked if they were interested in selling my backpacks. Luckily, they were very positive about my collection. They helped me a lot. Then I contacted Hunting & Collecting and from there the ball was set rolling.

#GIRLBOSS lesson no. 2: Nothing will happen if you don’t act. Don’t sit around waiting for it to happen. You’ve got to work, hard. Grab every chance you see.

What do you love about being a #GIRLBOSS?

I love to involve other creatives in my projects. I work with Corbin Mahieu for the prints of my backpacks, he is a graphic designer and a good friend of mine. He created the graphics for my webshop and lookbook. I love his work. Tiny Geeroms, another friend, made the pictures for my lookbook, she is super talented. I believe it’s important to work with young people. The atmosphere is really laid back whenever we work together. We meet up with the model, photographer and me and just go with the flow whenever we shoot. It’s spontaneous and the best way for me. It’s really fun to work with so many creative young talents. We made my latest lookbook together and it’s so cool to see that everyone participated in creating it.

#GIRLBOSS lesson no.3: Together you are stronger than on your own. Involve other creatives in your work and grow together!
LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit

What is the downside of being a #GIRLBOSS? 

If you have your own company or brand, you are never able to NOT think about it. It’s always on your mind. For instance, when I went to Berlin for my internship, I was constantly keeping my eyes open for new fabrics, inspiration, patterns,… I saw everything in function of LRNCE. It’s something that I can’t turn off. Being your own boss is not a nine-to-five job. I don’t mind working late, I can see the value of it. When you work for someone else, it would be a different story.

#GIRLBOSS lesson no.4: Don’t think it’s gonna be easy. It’s gonna cost you a lot of sweat, blood and tears. Be prepared to always have your business on your mind. 

What have you learned along the way?

I’ve learned that people can change your life. I went to Morocco a few years ago and slept at an Airbnb of a woman who was an artist and made bags in her spare time. Every time I go to Morocco, I stay with her. She has been living there for over ten years and knows everyone in Marrakech. She gave me all of her contacts that could be useful to me. It is crazy that you can attain so much by meeting one person! I had never thought of moving to Morocco…

#GIRLBOSS lesson no.5: Be open towards everyone! Even if they don’t look cool or interesting at first sight. Talking to and being open towards everyone can lead to so many opportunities and ideas.
LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Morocco and its colors, symbols and religion, astrology, cults,… Also really small things I see or find on the street. My friends are also a big source of inspiration. I make collages, with magazine pictures or stuff I find. I saw ropes in Morocco that I want to use in my designs. I try things out when I’m designing, I never draw the design out first. I love to experiment.

#GIRLBOSS lesson no.6: Inspiration is everywhere. 

How do you see your future, both personally and with LRNCE? 

That would be a breakthrough in Japan. I would love to sell my stuff there. There is so much going on in Japan regarding fashion. They have the money and they’re fashion forward. Other than that, I want to keep making a lot of memories and doing impulsive things like moving to Morocco. It makes me feel alive.

#GIRLBOSS lesson no.7: Never stop chasing your dreams. Do more of what makes you happy!
LRNCE designer atelier visit
LRNCE designer atelier visit

I hope this interview was as inspiring as it was for me! Do you dream of becoming your own boss one day?

Be sure to let me know your thoughts!


xo, Charlotte

Don’t want to miss a post? Stay updated through Facebook / Instagram / Bloglovin / Twitter / Pinterest