atelier de l'armée
& wandler

joost doeswijk en elza wandler
November 2017
Isrid van Geuns - Recruitment - Specializing in fashion and luxury
interview by Isrid

'We respect each others talent'

Joost: “I come from a production and technical background and my jobs included working for Lobatto Fashion, Scotch&Soda and G-star. In between working I enjoyed traveling and I met my wife Elza on one of my trips. She has a branding and styling background. While traveling Peru, we hashed out the concept of Atelier de l’Armée; producing bags from used army materials. We decided to buy a sewing machine and started out right at our kitchen table. You know it will be challenging when you find yourself on Google, doing a search on: ‘how to make a bag’ to gain the necessary know how. In 2012 we were ready to launch our small collection online.”

'Once you find something you believe in and start nurturing that with energy and love, it is bound to grow.'

A proper studio
“We started on The Floor at the WFC in 2013, after a mutual friend had decided to leave and we were able to fill his spot. Moving to the WFC was a necessary step to operate on a more professional level since we were growing tired of filling up our house with raw materials for production. We experienced a positive development in growing our collection and the materials needed which opened up the room to hire interns. We started off small but these days we find ourselves occupying a larger space. Only a small part is used for storage, the main space being a functional studio. Elza has been working full time at the studio for the past three years now, so we were able to hire a person to do the stitch work. We still produce all of our bags ourselves.”

“Recently I had a t-shirt made which said ‘Elza knows best’. Our partnership works well and you can’t make things happen on your own but Elza is the driving force behind it all. The dream to create our own label and our own world is what motivates us to every day. We respect each others talent. Once you find something you believe in and start nurturing that with energy and love, it is bound to grow.”

Published in the WFC 50 year anniversary book
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