Imagine : a lady with a headphone, in a machine park producing prints, moving big frames, squirting paint, etc. It could be a typical men’s job, but in Lotte Martens’ case it’s 100% handmade woman power!
Lotte Martens is a textile designer running her own design company that is all about interior and fashion textile. Prints are the binding force in everything she does. With a passion for innovation and technology, Lotte designs and produces silk-screen printed textile with passion, originality and a distinct sense of color and textures. All products are made inhouse in the atelier, by real people, with a lot of care and attention. Since 2016, Lotte also goes international.
SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD, SO SHE DID
After a career of 10 years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht (Fashion & Textile program), Lotte started working 100% as a designer for her own label in September 2014. Although; Lotte wouldn’t be Lotte if she would ‘only design prints’. Most people – even her mother in law (!) – find it difficult to describe what she does exactly. Her main activity is designing prints in cooperation with third parties. Next to that she is also responsible for the production of the fabric prints, she started a research- and development lab to analyze coating techniques, she is one of the driving forces behind the new initiative Mindgate in Leuven, she organizes workshops to transfer ‘design’ knowledge, she introduced her own printed fabric collections, she creates new ways to re-use the fabric surplus by selling unique products for everyday use via her webshop and she has her own chapter in the book ‘Designer Tas’ (september 2015). (Please inhale again). So actually, you can’t blame the mother in law, can you?
FROM WORDS TO PRINTS
Eventhough Lotte designs prints and therefore images, she always uses words as a starting point. She loves reading (although she doesn’t have much time to read) and words are very important to her : “I collect words. The composition of words leads to colors, and these colors lead to prints. It’s my way of registering a process, to canalize impressions that will determine my future collections.” According to Lotte, creating prints is the easiest part of the job. The difficulty and the expertise lies in the application of the prints on the selected fabrics.
QUALITY ABOVE QUANTITY
The label ‘Lotte Martens’ is different and one of a kind in many ways. Not only because of the original and beautiful prints, but moreover because of the personal and ‘think local’ approach where inhouse innovational techniques, durable materials, correct pricing and humanity go hand in hand. Being and staying a centre of expertise is what ‘Lotte Martens’ stands for and what drives Lotte the most: creating new compositions as a result of investigation and analysis. Collaborating with other designers always pushes her to higher levels and lead to new investigations without losing sight of quality. Lotte is extremely action-driven, and is not afraid to take time when needed to analyse new compositions, coatings etc. As long as it evolves and brings her to new insights on the matter.
Working for her own label has changed Lotte’s life completely. Of course, she still has to work hard, very hard (sometimes up to 100 hours per week), but the feeling is different. The rat race of a couple of years ago when she worked at the academy is over. No more endless traffic jams, racing against the clock, no more being worried about how the kids are doing while she is away for work, etc. Being the master of her own agenda, choosing how to do it and selecting partners because you want to, is very liberating. Also towards the kids. In January 2016, Lotte became a mom for the third time. Even though the workload hasn’t decreased, she feels more comfortable with her current role of being a mother & a designer. “Looking at my children gives me insight in who I am and how I act. They are my mirror”, she says. Lotte feels their needs more easily too because the distance literally became smaller. The kids play in the atelier after school and when work is done, they close the door and all go home together.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Lotte is not an extravert person. Even though she is a designer and she finds fashion very fascinating in general, she loves working behind the scenes. Her role in the design process? “Guiding people through the process and supporting them in their project. It’s all about creating added value, doing work that matters.”
During her rare spare time, Lotte enjoys spending time with her family. “My friends often complain that I am not easy to reach, but it’s different with family. We always have had a very strong and close relationship. I need them to live my life.”
I met a superwoman. Not because Lotte is good at organizing 10.000 things at the same time and because she is good at what she does. But mainly because she has chosen to stay close to herself, to change her life in a way she wanted and to do the things she loves to do. With passion. And a lot of love. Lotte Martens has a new fan. And it’s not only because we share the same hometown…