Japanese Influence for gifted Dutch Gray’s School of Art Student’s Clothing Collection

A creative Fashion and Textile student from RGU’s Gray’s School of Art has found inspiration in Japanese construction workwear in designing her recent clothing collection.

Pieternel BaakPieternel Baak, aged 21, is originally from the Netherlands but relocated to Spean Bridge in Scotland with her family at the age of three. She now lives and studies in Aberdeen and will showcase her work at the upcoming Degree Show.

Pieternel had always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer and from a very young age had started crafting outfits for her toys.

“There are pictures of me at the age of nine hand-sewing dresses for my Barbies and dolls,” she said.

“On top of that I vividly remember setting up a stand next to my mother’s stall at village fairs to sell Barbie clothes that I had made, so I guess it all kind of stemmed from there.”

In designing her final year fashion collection, Pieternel decided to focus on Japanese construction workwear.

“I initially started looking at western workwear and dungarees but when researching I found the contrasting Japanese construction workwear very interesting so decided to focus on that more.

“Functionality and comfort is regarded highly in traditional Japanese workwear so all my pieces are loose-fitting, have pockets and are adjustable in one way or another.”

Initially specialising in womenswear, Pieternel decided to design a unisex collection inspired by construction workwear. 

She took further inspiration from the curves and angular forms of the ramps in skateboard parks.

“I liked the idea of it being a ‘one-size’ collection that both male and females could wear. The Japanese worker trousers reminded me a lot of those super baggy trousers that skaters used to wear and this is echoed in my final year designs.”

Growing up in the countryside with five siblings, the young student says she always wanted to go to university and experience city life.

“Having grown up in a rural village with a sizeable family, the idea of living independently in a city seemed very appealing to me.”

“I have enjoyed it so much, will be very sad to leave. It has flown by. When I look back on my work pre-art school in comparison to now it’s evident I have learnt and developed a lot both as a designer and person.”

During the third year she took the opportunity to go to Amsterdam on a three-month placement.

“I definitely learnt the most during those months as I was working in industry and to a professional standard. Without a doubt the best few months of the past four years!”

In future Pieternel hopes to move to Amsterdam to pursue a career in fashion.

The Gray’s School of Art Degree Show 2018 takes place at the art school from June 16 – 24. 


Release by Rob Smith
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries