We were lucky enough to pay a visit to not just one, but TWO of the biggest fashion influencers of the Netherlands – Stephanie Broek and Nicole Huisman. We caught up with the friends on a fine autumn day in Amsterdam, one of our favourite cities in the world.
Photographed by Maxime Van Namen
Shot on location at Conscious Hotel Westerpark
Tell us about a typical day being Stephanie Broek.
After my alarm goes off I try to stay in bed as long as possible. I check my e-mails, messages, Instagram and the news. Then I shower, get dressed and have my favourite raw granola with almond milk or coconut yoghurt and fresh fruit for breakfast.
Latest designer find that you love?
My silver knee-high Stella McCartney boots.
We love your ethical stance on fashion – tell us a bit more about it.
When I was 10, I decided to become a vegetarian because of animal welfare. Eight years later when I was studying journalism, I wrote a story about the meat industry. It broke my heart when I found out how cows are being treated for milk and chickens for eggs. I also stumbled upon scientific research that showed that meat and dairy companies are on track to be the world's biggest contributors to climate change (outpacing even the fossil fuel industry). Lastly, I found out more about the health risks that are attributed to eating meat and consuming dairy. So on three levels (animal welfare, climate change and health) it felt morally wrong to consume animal products, which is why I became vegan. A few months ago scientists published a research that found out that being vegan is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on earth. It feels good to know that on a daily basis I do something good for the planet.
Do you feel as though the fashion industry and clothes production is changing for the better?
I do. Established fashion houses such as Gucci, Tom Ford and Versace are banning fur. Many brands and retailers are switching to organic cotton and I am surprised by how often I find recycled wool, polyester and down in clothing nowadays. Unfortunately there are still a lot of fashion companies that don't take responsibility. That worries me every time I read new research about climate change.
How would you describe your personal style, and how do you keep it original on Instagram?
My style is very contradictory. I always blend masculine and feminine elements. I like that contrast. My style is colourful as well, even though I notice that as I'm getting older it's getting less over the top and more understated. I hardly ever buy a piece of clothing or an accessory if I've seen it on someone I know or follow already. I love online shopping and just look at the pieces itself and think of ways to combine it with pieces I already own.
Amsterdam is home for you, but if you could live in another city, where would it be?
Actually, I think about it a lot. I love Copenhagen, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and New York and I think I could live in all of those cities. But then again, when I travel for work I always miss Amsterdam. I think traveling back and forth would works best for me. Amsterdam is big and small at the same time. It's open-minded, creative and there is a lot going on in terms of art etc, but it small enough to bike from East to West in 30 minutes.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
I am working on a platform that is all about style and interesting people. I can't tell more at the moment, but I've had the idea and the people I am going to feature in mind for a long time. Can't wait until it's finally online!
And lastly, what do you wear to bed?
Pyjama pants and an oversized shirt from my boyfriend.
Nicole, tell us a bit about what you do?
I'm stylist & all-around creative – after my studies at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute, I started my first job as a fashion editor at ELLE, at the age of 22. After 5 years I decided to shake things up a little and to continue freelance. Now, as both stylist (now for magazines like Glamour and Vogue) and online creative, I work on all sorts of projects and collaborations, all within the context of fashion, beauty & lifestyle. This could be working on a fashion editorial for Glamour magazine, creating Instagram content in collaboration with cool brands (Hey, YOLKE!) for my own platform, coming up with social strategies & ideas for brands or thinking along with fashion brands as a creative consultant in all sorts of directions, like design, marketing and social media.
What are your favourite items to accessorise with?
Love me a good 90’s strappy sandal (everything that was in Carrie Bradshaw's or Rachel Green's closet, I want to wear right now!) and a mini-bag, and at the moment I’m craving all the Swarovski-looking bling, especially big earrings, like Destiny’s Child or Paris Hilton were wearing in the 00’s. Also I never leave the house without my rings and I’m a fan of the jewellery brand Wouters & Hendrix that I wear a lot.
Which designers are currently on your radar?
I’m fan of Alexa Chung’s own label, I think she did a great job turning her taste into a clothing line. I love what Gilda Ambrosio does with The Attico and I’m fan of boutique brands like Staud and Little Liffner.
Which item/s would you save from a fire?
All my rings. Some of them belonged to my mother, some of them I bought for myself or were giving to me when something special happened. Like when I left ELLE, the team gave me a super stunning gold ring, with 5 small diamonds that stood for 5 years of working for ELLE.
Where are your favourite hang-out spots in Amsterdam?
The wine bar Glou Glou just around the corner of my house - favourite for long nights filled with nature wines and cheese platters.
How do you keep a work / life balance and how important is it for you to be offline sometimes?
I don’t. Haha, no, just kidding, but it can be hard sometimes to switch off. It is very important for me to keep this balance - me and my friends agree on phone stacking sometimes and when I’m with my boyfriend, friends or family I try to keep my phone in my bag, but I’m still working on becoming a master in that, haha!
And lastly, a question we ask everyone. What do you wear to bed?
YOLKE PJ's of course! What else? ;)
Thank you, Stephanie and Nicole!
Also, a special thank you to Conscious Hotel Westerpark, Amsterdam!