The Rough Studios aesthetic is about mixing styles altogether, daring to be different but also loving details and feeling comfy in the clothes. It’s all about that international girl, from Los Angeles to New York, Amsterdam and of course, Paris. Initially known for creating colourful pillows and rugs, Rough Studios expanded its range in 2015 to include women’s fashion and handbags. We chatted with Els Veerman, Rough Studio’s Creative Director, about her journey so far, and what’s next for the brand.
@noaismay wears the Feris Tee
What’s your story? How did you get to where you are today?
In 2014 I joined Rough Studios as creative director. Before that RS was only known for their handmade rugs and their handmade velvet cushions. In 2015 we started with some keffiyeh summer dresses and every season we would add more styles and different kinds of fabric. At the moment our collections are a mix of cool keffiyeh, thick luxurious silk and crisp cotton.
How would you describe your brand in 3 words?
Lazy, Sexy, Cool
What inspires your collections, aesthetic and how do you keep it relevant?
The Rough Studios girl is, of course, our greatest inspiration. She is a global traveller with an air of effortless chic and a touch of rock ‘n’ roll. She’s chic yet undone, romantic yet sassy, classy yet casual. Her hair is messy, her attitude cool; she’s a free spirit and sets trends, but doesn’t care – our ultimate cool girl muse. Next to the Rough Studios girl I will always keep two things in mind: will I wear it myself and Is it comfortable?
Is there one item or perhaps a collection in particular that is your all-time favourite?
The t-shirts and sweaters. I live in them! They are made from soft cotton and have a loose oversized fit. And as I love layers I always wear a keffiyeh blouse underneath.
What is something not that many people know about you or your brand?
As I mentioned we started out with rugs and pillows. That’s why the brand was called Rough Rugs in the beginning.
How do you go about designing?
Throughout the year I save images of things that inspire. That can be anything, architecture, interior, people, nature and clothing. When a new season starts I go through all my images – combine a lot to get to new things, take shapes and colours from nature and architecture to get to new colour combinations and prints.
What has been the absolute highlight of your career so far?
A pop-up store at Coachella! And (it’s not a real highlight, but it makes me very proud) encountering people who wear Rough Studios. Always remains strange to see someone walk by in Rough Studios. Preferably I would run to them to tell how much I love seeing them wearing Rough Studios. But that would be a very strange thing to do I guess!
How would you describe the Rough Studios customer?
Actually, our RS customer is in every city around the world different, and that makes it fun for us. Creating these cool and effortless styles that means a lot to many people, not just for a fashion crowd. But what we notice everywhere, is that these women always have that free-spirited Rough Studios attitude we so much love.
If you were to describe your own style, what would it be and what couldn’t you live without?
Casual, easy going with a rock ‘n roll twist and of course always something from Rough Studios.
What do you do to switch off?
Walking through the woods or dunes. And my guilty pleasure is gaming (but that’s a secret).
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always trust your gut.
Where about are you based? What are some must-go places or hidden gems there?
We are based in Rotterdam, it was recently voted by Conde Nast as one of the hottest design destinations in Europe. It’s known as the Dutch ‘Brooklyn’ and here you’re more likely to find art students on skateboards than tourists taking selfies. The city is full of art, from world-renowned artists to anonymous sculptors and the Kunsthal is our favourite museum. In the evening head out for a street called Witte de With where you’ll find art galleries, bars and restaurants. Our favourite restaurants are Bertmans, Asian Glories, Aje and Louise. For pre-dinner drinks go to wine bar Janssen & van Dijk.
Where is your favourite destination of all time and why?
Our favourite destination is discreet Comporta, Portugal’s chicest beach retreat. The low-key village is plain rather than pretty, but it has a setting unlike anywhere else. Think umbrella pines and cork trees, sand dunes and organic farms, rice paddies swirling with eye-catching bird life. Comporta feels like Rough Studios: effortless chic.
You’ve already achieved so much, what’s next for you?
Our International ambitions have been growing over the last years. Rough Studios has been exploring new territories and found seasoned business partners to represent it widely within Europe. So the next thing I would say is to expand globally.