Founder Stories : Meet Nicoline who designs The Five
by Ciara Shah·
The Five Studio was established in 2018 by Nicoline Huizenga. Starting out with five fundamental styles, The Five Studio provides you with effortless and timeless wardrobe staples designed and handcrafted in Amsterdam. “I believe you should not rush your style, but carefully curate items that are timeless and suit you the best for years to come”. Because she loves working sustainably by giving new life to dead-stock fabrics, The Five Studio offers an exclusive range of products that are available in limited quantities. Her designs are straight forward, exceed trends and are available throughout multiple seasons until stock lasts.
We caught up with this female founder to get some inside deets into her #uniVerse
Q. Hey girl, tell us in a nutshell a bit about your background and how you got started in this adventure. Did you study fashion?
A. Since I can remember I have been obsessed with fashion, I was always hanging around in my grandmothers closet, wearing her high heels and leopard print coats. She really introduced me to fashion, always gifting me the Vogue September issues. She had a seamstress that would make one of a kind items for her, some of which where based on drawings that I would make. At school I was a fast learner and my parents always wanted me to go to college, I was torn both ways and in the end decided to go to law school. During law school, it became evident that this world was not for me. Just the idea of not being able to wear my own choice of clothes everyday to express myself was a dealbreaker. After I received my diploma it became clear that I wanted to follow my destiny to start my own label.
Q. Where did you get your inspiration from to create this capsule wardrobe filled with the most style led hand crafted pieces?
A. I’m not always sure where my inspiration comes from, it can be anything. From colours of flowers or images I see, buildings or people I come across. Mostly it started when we go fabric hunting, I’m immediately drawn to a certain fabric and then the designing already starts in my mind. I think it’s important to create items that are durable and stand the test of time. It’s fun to create a wardrobe with good quality items that can be combined endlessly. There’s so much more you can do with a single piece than immediately meets the eye.
Q. As a woman in business do you have any struggles, how do you cope with this.
A. In fashion most atelier and fabric suppliers are owned by men, so when I started out and had little experience I really had to find my way to be taken seriously. But along the way when I gained more experience and knowledge I became more confident I now I actually think it works in my benefit being a women. I really think I have my own style of doing business, open and friendly and respectful. I think it’s important making long term commitments to the people I work with and work based on trust instead of (shady) contracts.
Q. The Five, is now branching out to more than 5 styles, how far do you see this project going?
A. We will always have our signature styles, but we are definitely looking to expend our horizon with new signature styles that fit our aesthetic.
Q. Your partner (and man!) Jasper seems so supportive of your label, tell us more about this!
A. We are best friends and we love doing stuff together. So when covid hit and we where both working at home it all started. For me running the label was getting a lot doing it all by myself. I started asking Jasper for help with several projects. First with small tasks or issues, but it finally resulted in him taking over a big part of my work that was getting in the way of me being creative. Jasper completely supports and believes in me and I’m so happy I finally have more time to be creative and focus on designing new items.
Q. On a technical level can you walk us through the process you take when creating a new style?
- Actually every time it’s different, but most of the times it starts off with the fabric. Seeing a colour or touching a fabric, I immediately get ideas of how we will be able to use it. I just get an image of a dress for example. Then I draw a sketch and communicate this with our pattern maker. After they finished the pattern the sampling and production process starts. Usually it takes a few runs for the sample to be perfect. I always use myself as a fitting model haha. I’m a perfectionist and am always looking for the perfect fit. We work with a family owned atelier in Holland where all our pieces are made. Quality and working ethics are very important to to me. Because the people we work with understand our ways of working more and more, our products keep getting better. For me personally comfort and wearability are very important that is why almost all designs are oversized or made from comfortable stretchy fabrics.
Q. Can you tell us more about your outfit and how to style it?
A. I love layers and I always start with something sleeveless combined with for example my everyday Trousers and Start building from here. Depending on the weather I’ll throw on a long sleeve tee, topped off with a signature blazer. And if the weather is really bad I’ll throw on The Trench as a cherry on top.
Shop all of Nicoline's latest collection here.