Oh WANDLER! – Dutch designer Elza Wandler kicks off Amsterdam Fashion Week

Oh, Dam(n) – This year’s Amsterdam Fashion Week was a departure from years past. The Dutch capital recently set forth its repertoire of designers during AFW and brought an entirely new perspective on how fashion can be experienced in years to come. A number of couturiers and creatives debuted shows that focused on sustainability and community along with immersive experiences that cultivated spectators as subjects of their installations. The inclusive approach to showcasing and sharing ideas became the hub for those quintessential to the industry and beyond.

Elza Wandler – Danie Bles

On the topic of community, we were as lucky to experience WANDLER doing the honours of hosting AFW’s opening event for the second consecutive year. This time with an even more solemn occasion – five years of WANDLER. The Birthday celebrations came about at Van Eesteren Museum beneath the dreamy, inflatable cubicle created by artist Elsemarijn, whose work, just like WANDLER, explores architectural form concepts. Dressed in WANDLER and virtually swathed by the fluorescent green light – looking at the guest list, it becomes apparent how Elza Wandler and her namesake label have permeated into the fashion landscape in what feels like a blink-of-an-eye. Models, stylists, and press to close friends and family came together to celebrate and revisit 90s rave nostalgia making it a place that oozed love and inspiration.

As anybody in the fashion realm would know, trends can change in an instant, so when a fairly new brand comes onto the scene and takes over our feeds, it’s definitely worth paying attention for. Known for her signature leather bags and shoes, Elza has broadened her array to denim trousers in late 2021. Just in time for fashion month, we can applaud her second trouser collection HOL22 made up off denim and leather, now available on wandler.com and selected retailers. We sat down with the Dutch designer to chat about friendships, inspirations, and the bright (-green) future of WANDLER.

TUSH: Congratulations on 5 years of WANDLER! Do you host big celebrations for your own birthdays as well? 

Elza: Not to that extent but I love bringing people together. Usually, my husband and I celebrate together anyway because our birthdays are six days apart from each other.

Patricia Manfield

TUSH: What star sign would that be?

Elza: Gemini. I really believe in zodiac signs and apparently, two Geminis are really compatible together. The only thing that is difficult with us is making decisions because Geminis are often indecisive and impulsive. But I think we’re managing really well. There is more to it though, my rising sign, for instance, is Scorpio.

TUSH: How does that play into your decision-making for WANDLER?

Elza: Surprisingly, I don’t mind decision-making at all when it comes to WANDLER, it’s obviously something I’m very passionate about. I actually go to this astrologist often, according to her I’m quite the Gemini when it comes to social interactions and my friend life, just very easygoing, and caring. But workwise, the Scorpio in me is more prominent. I’m very business orientated; I think someone like Kris Jenner would be the poster child of a Scorpio if you know what I mean.

TUSH: What were the past 5 years like for the brand?

Elza: It’s crazy to think that it’s only been 5 years, especially in the face of the pandemic. But I equally feel like I could’ve gone faster with everything. Obviously, Covid happened and the world stood still for two years so we had to work around it. It has been an interesting period, to say the least, and I’m incredibly grateful to make this next step while exploring new spheres for WANDLER.
I also think there is always going to be an ask for luxury – straying away from the contemporary field and leaning more towards designer, actually helped us out quite a lot. It’s like you’re literally buying an investment piece which makes it quite special.

Vanessa Hong

TUSH: You’ve named each piece of the new collection after flowers, how did that come about?

Elza: I started by naming my bags after all of my friends and loved ones. I think with bags and shoes, you don’t really work with collection themes that much. And with clothing, you do that more. It’s more logical that the clothing follows the theme. My second favorite thing after people are definitely flowers. I just love them, so I felt like picking the ones I like most and using them for this line.

TUSH: When you’re done with flowers, what comes next?

Elza: I just designed a clothing collection where everything was inspired by the painting “The Birth of Venus”. There are obviously a lot of names in there, so if you ever need children’s names, I feel like I have a list. But it doesn’t just come like that, I make sure to go on little day trips, visit museums and recharge my creative battery and that’s usually how any idea is birthed. You can take a detail from a painting, that could be, like, a little loop or whatever – a form or a shape that we can translate into fashion somehow.

TUSH: How would you describe your design process?

Elza: I design on body shapes for body shapes. It’s so important that trousers are made to fit a lot of different women, and that they feel sexy, comfortable, and confident. Hence, why the shape was something I wanted to work on thoroughly. I make my friends try everything on, before moving on with a design. And I always design what I would wear myself, so that comes quite naturally to me, because it’s, like, I’m my own target.

TUSH: Everything is made in Italy – do you ever go there yourself?

Elza: Every two months, and I literally know everybody in the factory and everybody that grew up there. I started working with them five years ago, so that’s another anniversary we’re celebrating. It’s a family-owned business and everyone is super close to each other. I think those kinds of relationships are very important to keep up. Regardless of whether you’re working with someone or not, it’s the uplifting and the inspiring that is important. It’s the same with all the women around me – I get inspired by you guys.




Pim Top, Rowben Lanton
Elza Wandler
Afra Ugurlu
September 8, 2022
TUSH Fashion Week
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