When Baukjen de Swaan Arons decided to launch a contemporary womenswear label, putting her own name to it was a no-brainer. “I’m designing for women like me, who are running around,” she explains frankly. “Women who want to wear thoughtful, good-quality products in nice fabrics that feel good on the skin, and wash and wear well. If anything, it makes me work harder – because it’s got my name on it.”
It’s this determination and passion to create collection upon collection that every modern woman would want to live in that has made Baukjen a success story since its launch six years ago. Hot off the heels of de Swaan Arons’ first brand – the award-winning maternity-wear label Isabella Oliver – her eponymous label is characterised by monthly drops of relaxed, capsule wardrobe pieces that the customer can buy now and, more importantly, wear now.
De Swaan Arons sums up her offering as “contemporary classics with a nod to the trends – but they’re not going to date within a season or a year, because those times are gone for me”. Instead the designer strives to deliver what she calls an “effortless” look. “I just love it when it looks like you’ve popped something on and you go.”
A rifle through the latest Baukjen catalogue, which features temptingly styled looks and is delivered to hundreds of thousands of customers every month, reveals elements from de Swaan Arons’s own personal uniform: leather leggings, stripy jumpers, blazers, a shirt or a slogan tee. “With age, I like my uniforms,” she says, “not just because life has become ridiculously busy and you have no time, but you hit a point when you have experience in knowing what works best for you.”
Time is certainly of the essence when running a company of 60-plus employees. Headquartered in an old post-sorting office in north-west London, de Swaan Arons oversees the creative direction, production, merchandising, press and art aspects of the label – as well as the design side of each collection – while her chief executive husband Geoff is responsible for all that is finance, tech, e-commerce, marketing, distribution and customer services. “I quite like the pressure,” she admits. “I am surrounded by deadlines and I like the energy that brings. Most of all, I love it when we have an idea that really pans out.”
However, a calendar chock-full of deadlines does not leave the designer with much chance to indulge in her favourite research pastime: people-watching. But that’s where social media comes in: “What I love is that what’s going on around the world is so accessible.” One of her favourite stylish women to follow is Vogue Paris fashion editor Geraldine Saglio: “I love her uniform, it’s always effortless, but there’s always something that takes it from a ‘nothing’ outfit to something to stop and have a look at.” On this side of the Channel, she cites writer and model Laura Bailey as one to watch fashion-wise. “She’s got this really natural, beautiful style but she can bring playfulness.”
Playful elements have a place in Baukjen’s collections, too, all while maintaining the brand’s signature, grown-up aesthetic. This season, that means star prints and polka-dot tailoring. “With the collections, there are core things that I’ll come back to,” explains Arons. “So I personally love intarsia knits and stars. I like it when you’ve got one statement, but I don’t like it when you’ve got lots of statements going on.”
Arons gets huge satisfaction from seeing how customers style Baukjen pieces in their own unique way – no matter their age. “What’s really important for me is that the woman is stylish and comfortable, but never too loud. You want the personality of the woman do the talking for her. I don’t like to be worn by clothes.”
Modern. Feminine. Versatile
For a stylish take on everything from workwear to your holiday wardrobe, the Telegraph is working in partnership with fashion brand Baujken to create must-have edits from their Spring/Summer range.
Baukjen is a family run business with seamstresses, pattern cutters and designers working under the same roof in their North London studio. Launched in 2008 by Amsterdam-born designer Baukjen de Swaan Arons, the brand provides women with a modern, everyday wardrobe that’s expertly tailored, easy to style and comfortable to wear.
Contemporary and versatile, the Baujken range celebrates the modern woman. With cleverly edited trends and beautiful fabrics, women can easily curate their own look from each collection, communicating their personal style through relaxed, effortless looks.
Head to tgr.ph/baukjen for this season's essential edits and outfit inspiration.