What started as an internship 25 years ago has blossomed into a wonderful working relationship with Vlisco. Designer Marjo Penninx looks back at how it all started and what inspires her now.

After graduating from the Design Academy in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and completing her internship at Vlisco, Marjo applied for a new job opening at Vlisco. “When I started working for Vlisco, I was the only woman in the Design department – for 8 years. But I’m happy to say that the Design team is now very diverse, with male and female designers of all ages from all over the world – and each generation inspires the other. This diversity really reflects in Vlisco’s design language, because every designer brings a unique signature to the table and has their own area of expertise. My design signature is very feminine, detailed and decorative, so you could say that this season’s romantic FEEL theme, was tailor-made for me.”

This design is a good example of Marjo’s signature feminine style in her favourite colours
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“The seasonal concept is always my starting point when designing. With that in the back of my mind, I start to research art and old sketchbooks. I often find inspiration in classic elements, which I give a new, modern twist. I like to layer in details, because this creates depth, so that you can discover new elements every time you look at the design. Colour blocking plays a big role in adding layering and depth. In fact, colour placement can completely change the look of a design and highlight certain elements.”

Our designers are inspired by textiles from all over the world. Marjo was enraptured by the paisley shape, a pattern of Persian origin, which inspired her to create a brand new Super-wax design. Marjo says: “The paisley shape is interesting, because it’s decorative without being overpowering.”

“There’s so much to love about Vlisco – our rich heritage and the many, many designs that have been created over the years – it’s very inspiring. I also love seeing how much my designs come to life in Africa, and how important fabric design can be to tell a story there. It’s so moving and special when I meet an African woman and she thanks me for designing a beloved pattern.”


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