“To me, clothing is a form of self-expression – there are hints about who you are in what you wear.” ~ Marc Jacobs
The same can be said about your social media feeds. Thanks to the visual aspect of applications such as Instagram and Facebook, they have become an important fixture in the fashion industry. Fashion designers have recognised the massive potential of having an online footprint and consequently have made it a crucial key in growing their brand’s reach and customer base. This is especially true with budding designers breaking into the industry. Dauvia Nijenhuis is no different. She is the founder of the eponymous brand, DAUVIA, which she launched in 2016.
Born in Angola, this fashion designer moved to the Netherlands when she was 10 years old. From an early age, Dauvia expressed an interest in fashion. After she graduated from high school in 2011, she started to explore her passion by wearing her own creations and making designs for her friends and family. Soon after, people began to take notice of her designs and she began to receive orders for her craft. It didn’t take long for the fashion industry to follow suit, with invitations to showcase at fashion shows. From fashioning individual pieces, the self-taught designer graduated to showcasing full collections. She has so far shown her work at AFWEU/Africa-Istanbul and Accra Fashion Week and she’s slated to showcase at the AFWEU/Amsterdam later this month.
Though she began designing in 2011, she would launch her brand in 2016. In the same year, she worked with Vlisco – the Dutch design and manufacturing company responsible for the famous African wax prints. With a new fabric on their hands, Dauvia was one of the few designers that the company selected to produce a collection with it during their 170-year anniversary. In an interview with the fabric giant she expressed that it is the fabric that provides a great source of inspiration, “The fabrics tell me what to make. Whether a top or trousers, the fabric dictates the outcome and I trust my instincts.” In the same year, her work was further recognised when she won the Award for best African designer in the Netherlands.
Her designs reflect the two cultures that have become part of her reality. Drawing on elements from her African heritage and European influence, she merges traditional African fabrics and prints with contemporary, feminine silhouettes to create Dauvia’s signature style. So far, her designs are available in the Netherlands, as well as, at Zeyangel Concept Store in Angola.
With the brand gradually making strides in the industry, it’s interesting to see that she still enjoys to make designs for her family and friends. One of the first images you’ll come across on her feed is a recent image of her mother sporting a new creation made by Dauvia. As she highlights each runway displays, she also takes the time to celebrate her clients. Showing her elation when one of her bespoke creations came out as she and the client had envisioned. And what would social media be without the occasional ‘selfie’. Her self-portraits always portray her donning one or more of her pieces demonstrating that it’s more than a career; but an extension of herself. As we wait to see what this designer has up her sleeve, we leave you with some of her previous work that her brand is becoming well known for.