Meet the 26 year-old Lena, founder and creative brain behind MAE. Lena loves slow mornings and has a dangerous addiction to chocolat. She's a busy bee, with a mind that never wants to shut up. She's not good at doing nothing and always on the outlook to express her creativity in some kind of way. She adores Lasagna and never says no to Gin Tonic. Last but not least, she can't imagine life without her cat.
1. How did you end up in the fashion industry?
As a young teenager I was seriously obsessed with fashion. I enjoyed going to fashion design summer camps, where I made my own designs and finally had to show them myself on the catwalk. As a shy girl, I didn't really like that second part (haha). After my studies in marketing and business communication, I started my first job in the fashion industry as an account manager. Happier than ever to start working in the world of fashion and to deepen my knowledge in this field.
2. Why did you start MAE?
Entrepreneurship is something that has always triggered me, like a candy that I wanted to taste (hehe). I am a very emotional person and I take every decision trusting my gut feelings. This just felt so right for me to do and it is worth the sweat and tears (no blood).
I wanted to start something in Fashion, that was for sure. At the same time I wanted to do things differently and look at fashion from another kind of view. I attach a lot of importance to the future of our planet, our children and grandchildren. We can't keep ignoring that we have to do some things differently. I realised that starting MAE was the right decision if I would just follow my vision on the future and my vision on fashion. It is so scary to do the right things, but we don’t have to do everything perfectly, we just need to take the right steps towards a better future and continue to learn and share our values. :)
3. What does timeless fashion mean to you?
To me, timeless fashion is non-seasonal, qualitative clothing with a minimalist character that you can combine into multiple looks. Timeless fashion is clothing that you learn to really love, clothes that fit you perfectly and in which you can develop yourself and love yourself. A lot has to do with our mindset. A fashion purchase should not be a moment of happiness that only last 5 minutes. Opting for more favourite pieces in your closet instead of just collecting fabrics you don’t wear. Timeless fashion is about slowing down overproduction and overconsumption, focusing on the true essence of our purchase.
4. How do you see the future of fashion?
One thing is sure: things are about to change – I think most consumers, brands and retailers realise that something MUST happen, but this is just not evident. Everyone will have to do their bit. A lot will change in terms of sustainability, in term of the traditional fashion calendar but also in terms of customer experience. Online is becoming increasingly important and social media are serving as the new shop windows. Customer experience online and offline will continue to be extremely important and retailers will be challenged even more. In addition, consumers have much more opportunities to educate themselves and much more power to challenge brands. I hope this will help consumers to shop in a more targeted way.
5. What are your three favorite pieces on MAE?
I've always had difficulties finding trousers that fit well. For me, trousers should be super easy, comfortable and it is a plus if they extend my legs ;-). So a real essential for me is our Chloe black trousers. I like multifunctional trousers: for example the Chloe trousers can be worn sporty with a trainer and a jumper or classy with a heel and a nice blouse. In this way, I always try to find a balance in my looks, by adding something some classic to a sporty look for example.
Second, I like slightly oversized knits and lately I am a bit obsessed with the colour mint, so my second choice goes out to our Kaia pullover, which is made from 100% PET plastic bottles. Cool right?
Finally, every women needs a little black dress, WRONG, every women needs a maxi black dress, like our Moon Dress. I like layering so in the winter I wear a black pull on my maxi dress or a turtleneck underneath.