Roger GerardsCreative Director of Vlisco
Textiles and their Stories
“Our designers have their own ideas in designing the textile patterns, but we never communicate their starting points,” says Roger Gerards, creative director of the fashion brand Vlisco. “By that they are the fathers of the drawing. The consumers in West and Central Africa see and read the Vlisco Designs and by giving them a name, they baptize our product. The consumers become the mother of our product. They possess them, forever.
Dutch design beloved in Africa.
Established in 1846 by Pieter Fentener van Vlissingen, Vlisco is the Netherlands’ oldest and largest textile manufacturer. The batik textile was initially exported to what was then Dutch East India (now Indonesia). And by several causes, and over many years, the product became popular in West and Central African. Nowadays, Vlisco is the biggest fashion brand in West and Central Africa, where the fabrics are considered a status symbol, African and an ongoing inspiration to local tailors and designers. In Helmond (Netherlands) an international team of 48 designers and assistants, design four collections a year.
More and more the Vlisco designs and marketing is an inspiration for global fashion brands, designers and fine artists.
Gerards studied Cultural Anthropology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen and Fashion Design at the Academy of Art in Arnhem. He became head of the design department at Vlisco in 2007 and was appointed creative director in 2011. His tasks include the conception of new seasonal offer, product innovation and brand communication.