As the darkest months of the year are approaching, we all dream about white sand beaches, palm trees and sea shells… As part of our series of interviews with creative people in Brussels, wet met with a young woman who has made it her mission to bring exotic feels to our grey capital through fashion accessories. Gaelle (30) is the founder and creator of her own sea inspired jewellery brand called “Richelle Things”. The young Bruxelloise with fashionista looks started her own jewellery line about a year ago: “I want to offer people a constant feeling of escapade, the feeling of an eternal summer, especially here, in our tiny cloudy Brussels.”. WeLoveBrussels met up with the young creator for a chat.
- Could you tell us in a few sentences: who is Gaelle ?
Gaelle is just one other ambitious young woman from Brussels. After my studies in languages and business communication, I started working in a field I cherished a lot: fashion ! I have been working for some years for different stylists and fashion brands. And then recently, I wanted to give free rein to my imagination by launching “Richelle Things”.
- You are born, raised and based in Brussels. What are the things you like the most about your hometown ? And what do you dislike ?
Let’s start with the negative sides. The problem of Brussels I guess (compared to other big cities like Paris, London or Barcelona) is that everything is too scattered. It’s not easy to see the vibe of Brussels outside the little city centre. For me, it’s still too sleepy.
I also think that more facilities should be offered to its people. For example, more public places (like museums) should have a free entrance. Most of the big cities have free museums and I think it’s the best idea to provide people and tourists an easy access to our cultural richness, because we have everything to make it happen here. Another example would be the city’s connectivity. We should have more easy access to Wi-Fi spots, again compared to other places I have been, we are some way behind.
But on the other hand, we are lucky to have the best beers and fries in the world. We can’t deny that we are known for our food culture, no? And I love to eat so it’s a chance for me to live in a city that makes the best waffles, the best chocolate and the best fries. Brussels has also some hidden gems and even after all these years I still discover things like a little street, a little bookshop or a little museum. There are so many nice places and it’s so enjoyable to walk around the city, raise my head and find in front of me a beautiful art nouveau building, a beautiful spot or a little green area.
- As a fashion enthusiast living in Brussels, how would you describe the fashion scene here in Brussels ?
Brussels is creative and we got lots of hips and high-end areas with impressive designer boutiques. Also, these last few years, the amount of events dedicated to fashion has been booming. But in my opinion there’s still a lot to achieve. It’s important to continue to make efforts and to keep on growing in order to make our fashion culture reach a higher level. Working side by side with our Flemish neighbours from “the” fashion city Antwerp could be a great idea, right ? I’m convinced we have everything it takes to become an international key player in fashion.
- Even though you are a real Brussels’ city girl, you recently launched your sea inspired jewellery line. How did you come up with this idea ?
I know it all sounds contradictory, but that’s the exact concept actually. Yes I’m from Brussels but I have always been addicted to sunny destinations and dreamy beaches. So for me, launching “Richelle”, a jewellery brand based on seashells, was an obvious choice. “Richelle” is an invitation to dream and travel. I want to offer people a constant feeling of escapade and I want them to wear a little piece that will give them the feeling of an eternal summer, especially here, in our tiny cloudy Belgium. In my opinion, there is a lack of exotic concepts in Belgium and in a way, I guess I wanted to fill that shortfall. Why would you buy your holiday’s accessories from American or Australian websites, if a hometown girl creates your own piece of heaven ?
- Can you tell us more about the creative process of your jewellery-making ? What is the inspiration for your designs?
My inspiration comes from everywhere and everything. It can be walk on a beach or just by looking at someone wearing something special, watching dreamy pictures,… there is nothing specific. Literally everything lends to my imagination but it’s definitely my wanderlust that gave me the idea to develop the concept here in the most unlikely place to do it.
Also, sea inspired jewels are current and trendy in the fashion world. Big fashion brands have been creating seashell jewellery accessories too. They mix it with their winter collections for example. It’s really trendy to mix everything nowadays. So in that regard, I’m also responding to a trend, a demand.
- What are the challenges you were/are facing regarding your jewellery brand ? Is it easy to launch such a project here in Brussels ?
Actually, the big challenge is to make people wear beach inspired jewellery. Brussels is not an exotic city, and most of the people here a bit narrow-minded and more traditional when it comes to fashion. They think seashells necessarily mean sunny holidays. Well of course you can easily wear seashell items during the summer but with “Richelle” I want to go much further: I want you to wear seashells at any time ! That’s also why I make seasonal pieces and special shots for specific events. “Richelle” is diverse, just as people’s tastes are. It goes through very discrete daily items to the big gold pieces wearable during evenings. You got different sizes, textures, colours that make the items unique and sophisticated. So it’s not limited to the little anklet seashell bracelet you are wearing at the beach.
- What’s your message for the people living in the city?
Don’t be scared to break the rules, be enthusiast and don’t hesitate to open up to new trends. Be a little bit of “Richelle”.
Curious to find out more about the dreamy, sunny and beachy world of Richelle? Follow her on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/richelle.things/). If you want to meet the young creator and share your passion for seashells and jewellery, you can meet Gaelle during the Christmas Designers Market on December 8th 2019 in Brussels (https://brusselsvintagemarket.be/nl/agenda/118/christmas-designers-market).