Arriving in Nimes was an adventure to say the least. To give a little perspective, Nimes is a small city located in the south of France, in the region of Provence, known for its rich Roman heritage, laid back ambiance and quaint stone streets filled with authentic French delicacies – a French lovers dream come true. However, due to our lack of knowledge of the French language, communicating with really anyone became more of a challenge than I had ever experienced. So when we met Inge, a fashion designer that was fluent in, Dutch, French AND English I not only fell in love with her beautiful designs, but I was also so relived to finally be able to communicate successfully with someone!
We met Inge at a night market that is held every Thursday in the streets of Nimes, beside the Maison Carrée. The market consisted of local artisans from around the South of France selling jewelry, clothing and other handmade gems unique to the area – so naturally I had my eyes peeled for local fashion.
Inge de Jonge
“Inge de Jong” is a French clothing brand created by Inge herself, that focuses primarily on women’s apparel, and also on kids + mens fashion, along with jewelry and home décor. She began her journey in the fashion world by studying textiles + sewing at the School of Fine Arts in Rotterdam. She then worked as a model for many years, winning numerous awards for her creative fashion designs, which later inspired her to create a collection under her own name. She now operates a successful boutique, atelier and workshop in the south of France.
“A story of the love of yesterday’s garment re-imagined for today.”
Inge has a passion for reusing + recycling as she aims to give a “second life to beautiful materials that would otherwise be wasted, discarded or forgotten” – She calls her garments “Messages d’Armour.” Her collections are all produced locally and handmade from unique European fabrics with lace and pearls from old milliners that are all primarily recycled or reclaimed. The narrative around her brand is a direct reflection of her frustration with consumerism and belief that “today’s market favors mass production that is executed in a crude manner and limits the traditional quality and conventions of pret-a-porter.” As a result, she manufactures her designs in a much simpler way, collaborating with local seamstresses, which allows her to pay extreme attention to all the details of her designs, while working closely with her clients to produce personalized pieces that celebrate the quality and history of the material.
What first drew me to Inge’s stand were all of the brightly colored, vintage patterns and the eclectic feel of the clothing, + jewelry hanging on display. Inge creates her collections to reflect her personal style, consisting of bohemian and romantic silhouettes that are made of “fluid fabrics that evoke elegance and well-being.” Her ready-to-wear line is meant to bring confidence and beauty to her client’s wardrobes, as she curates fabrics that are transferable to both summer and winter.
The most unique aspect of her line is not only that it is fashionable and chic everyday wear, but that each piece is “painted with memories of old” that tells a narrative. As I picked up some of the pieces that caught my eye, Inge had a story to tell about each one of them, usually mentioning where she got the fabric and the era it came from. I adored how each piece was a part of history that was now reworked into something beautiful and different from other ready-to-wear designers.
Choosing what to purchase was so hard, as there were so many options and pieces I loved to choose from. I ended up purchasing a beautiful pink lace bracelet and a pendulum white cotton tee with 3/4 sleeves and lace fringe, from her 2015 spring/summer collection.
Check out Inge’s full Spring/Summer liner here and stay up-to-date on her current collections and fashion shows by signing up for her newsletter!