Keely van Vliet, a stylish young women with a creative gene, hails from rural Holland. After making her escape from the green “polders” of the Netherlands, she landed in the urban heights of Barcelona. It is here she hopes to spread her wings and see her career in fashion take flight. To this end, she is working for Inditex (Massimo Dutti) and spending her free time collaborating with photographers and model agencies/style studios to create and refine her vision. Her journey on the road to realising her lifelong dream of becoming an international stylist has only just begun ….
I visited her in Barcelona for the second time this year, and in one week we traveled around to places like Sitges and Tibidabo. I captured everything with my Canon EOS 6D + Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 and the Olympus PEN E-PL8 + Olympus 17mm f/1.8. We also did an interview to complete our story.
What do you consider to be your secret weapon: I have a point of view and I am willing to invest all my time and energy in achieving my goals.
Best piece of advice: Be one step ahead. You can never do everything perfectly, you just have to do your absolute best. Plan ahead and learn from your mistakes. I am lucky to be where I am now; but I am not there yet, not even close. You have to be willing to start at the bottom and work yourself up. You have to earn your stripes first. I believe that most of what happens in life can be used to grow and learn. Don’t let setbacks hold you back, see them as stepping stones and lessons in life.
Your bad habit: I could do with more patience and I could be a little less stubborn.
How do your handle and beat a creative block: Walking, cycling and having a coffee in a cafe helps a lot. The world is a colourful and exciting place, just taking the time to stop and watch it pass by gets the creative juices working. Juggling life, a full time job, Spanish lessons and photoshoots/fashion shows can get a little too much sometimes and then you just need a break and to take a step back.
Best decision ever made: Moving to Barcelona on my own for sure.
Which woman inspires you and why: I have a few women that came in my life at a young age that inspire me every single day. Who they are, I would like to keep for myself. But my style muses are, among others, Victoria Beckham & Olivia Palermo. They have created a personal style and business platform that is just mind-blowing.
What’s one invention that would improve your life: A time machine. I could go back in time to visit all the fashion eras and the icons of their time. Fashion continues to involve, the new materials and the ecological (think green) advances continue to evolve, I wouldn’t mind having a glimpse for myself. Above all, think of the time it would save me. I could be talking to you now and drinking coffee in NYC the minute we part company. A little too much fantasy?
Experience in Spain: Spain is a happy place for me. Barcelona is social, open and a super metropolis. You only have to go out for a coffee, take a bike ride or walk to the beach and you can meet people from all over the world. I think that is one of the best experiences you can have: meet, talk, learn and have fun with people and their cultures. There’s nothing more creative than the cocktail of colourful experiences people and nature bring to life.
Experience at work: The move from student life and living at home with my parents and 3 siblings to becoming a member of the workforce and making a home for myself in Barcelona has been a real experience. It has been the making of me, I just relish being responsible for myself and making my own choices. It’s not all positive, but the highs far outweigh the lows. I had to learn to work in a team and adapt to the full-time job lifestyle. Finding my own routine and earning my stripes were real challenges. Making mistakes and getting up in a second is not only my experience in work but also in my personal life. If life was’t a challenge, what would we do with ourselves. We all, hopefully, live and learn as we move closer to realising our dreams.
Your ultimate motto: Clothes are what you buy, style is what you do with them!
photography: Liselotte Fleur
model & Styling: Keely van Vliet