1.- The interviewee
As we said in the presentation post of this brief interviews series, Hilde Heyvaert is our first interviewee. She is a Belgian fashion & costume designer and editor with a college education and training in Graphic Design.
House of Secrets Incorporated is her independant designer identity and, now that her old column, ‘The Steampunk Wardrobe’, is no longer in roulation due to the discontinuation of the Gatehouse Gazette magazine, she provides handy information for steampunks and dieselpunks on The Gatehouse blog.
2.- The Interview
2.1.- Steampunk Jewelry in general
Q.- Hilde, you have been fashion editor and reviewer for the Gatehouse Gazette since the very beginning of this initiative. Could you tell us how did you get involved in this project?
A.- Back in the day (somewhere in 2008) there was pretty much only Steampunk Magazine, and whilst that was a great initiative, it wasn’t the easiest to submit to, and it wasn’t released in a very timely manner (no one ever really knew when the next issue would be out). So at some point someone on the Smoking Lounge forum ventured that we might as well make our own magazine. Something everyone that wanted to would be able to easily submit to, and something that would have a steady release. We ended up going for 21 bi-monthly issues, covered a myriad of topics and ran several colums and had over a dozen contributors so I like to think we did a pretty good job on that.
I was involved from the start, because I thought it was a great idea, and I thought it would be really cool to have a column that helps people getting to know some of the substyles of Steampunk and Dieselpunk and help them with ideas for outfits and costumes. Especially if they’re on a budget.
So basically I got involved because I happened to be around when it was suggested and started and thought: oh here’s a good idea!
The Gatehouse Gazette may be no more by the way, but we haven’t really quit, we are now The Gatehouse blog so Nick, Marcus and I are still very active doing what we were doing before, just in a different format.
Q.- Furthermore, you studied a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and you are specialized in advertising. And, as if that were not enough, you are a self-taught fashion and costume designer. All this background gives you a really broad perspective on the Steampunk scene and aesthetics. What’s Steampunk jewelry for you?
A.- On to my masters! That aside, to me jewelry is a necessary part of fashion (any fashion, not just steampunk) because it really adds to an outfit or costume, just like accessories. It can really complete what you’re wearing. Or make a casual outfit just that little more special.
Q.- Which influences should it have then?
A.- I don’t think anyone or anything should necessarily be influenced by certain things. I think that inspiration can be found anywhere as long as you keep your mind and eyes open.
Q.- And what challenges do you think Steampunk jewelry designers face?
A.- I think that competition from big chains such as H&M, TopShop etc poses a very real problem right now. They have the size and means to produce bits and pieces at far lower prices than independant designers can.
I have to admit I know little about the business and process of making actual proper jewelry as I’m not schooled in that.
Q.- Which would be your main recommendation for them?