Who is Virginie?
Virginie de Vinster is unconventional. She did not attend a fashion school, nor did she pass through the renowned fashion houses. Her own university was Africa, where she worked for 15 years. Her education came from journeys through the Sahel, Côte d'Ivoire, Benin, Togo, and Ghana.
In Africa, Virginie began by observing weavers and dyers. She strolled through markets and sifted through shops filled with vibrant fabrics. She has always been amazed by the incredible creativity of artisans and the urban cultures of West Africa. Her travels in the bush also revealed to her the slowness of time, the art of listening to others, the symbolic power of things, conviviality, and the transmission of values. Additionally, the adventurous Virginie explored India and Southeast Asia, Peru, and the Andes. There, she observed different trades, customs, and people.
This global experience inspired her to love and support these people who became friends. She wanted to bring them together through their craftsmanship. Her talent lies in seamlessly blending styles and materials, and interweaving cultures through the simplest and most natural object: clothing. Each of her collections, born out of a journey, is an adventure.
Where It Began
In 2006, almost for the sheer joy of it, Virginie started creating garments with Wax fabric, blending traditional patterns with Western-style cuts. Soon, she became enchanted with the play of colors and assembly. After using African Wax as the primary material, she embraced the classic French white tank top, which she customized. Immediate success came at a trade show, with the first clients being Japanese buyers. Her eponymous brand was launched.
Her guiding principles: simplicity in forms, respect for materials, and the poetry of an outfit that has been dyed, knitted, or sewn in a remote village in Peru or Rajasthan. Her challenge is to create garments using ancient materials and techniques, such as tie-dyeing or block prints on long silk dresses, embroidery of threads and beads on balloon sleeves, blouses made from Himalayan pashmina, and fabrics with Ikat, another dyeing and knotting process. This ethnic chic style encapsulates Virginie's lifestyle.
At a time when all fashion brands are embracing "sustainability," ethics, eco-responsible production, and organic materials, Virginie de Vinster stands as a pioneer in the realm of "slow fashion". For 15 years, her philosophy has been to turn each garment into a narrative, like a travel journal that evokes a taste for the unfamiliar and others, and incidentally, enhances beauty.