Originally from France but now residing in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, fr–es is a handmade children’s clothing brand, with a contemporary and minimalistic style, catering for boys and girls age 0 – 6 years old.
Clothes that not only look beautiful, but are well made and durable enough to survive whatever adventures your little treasures take them on!
Time for an interview with Marie-Aline Rival, the founder and designer of fr-es.
Would you mind introducing yourself and your brand to our readers?
My name is Marie-Aline Rival. I am a French architect and designer living in Rotterdam. About two years ago, I initiated fr-es, a timeless and sophisticated yet playful childrenswear. All items are handcrafted by myself, from the first sketch to the making of the finished article. At the moment my collection is available online at my website.
What was your background prior to starting FR-ES?
For a few years, I collaborated with several architectural offices in France and in the Netherlands. I have been involved in various types of projects from big urban plans to furniture’s design. Besides that, I always loved making handcrafted objects of any kind.
What got you started working in children’s clothing design?
It all started with a remarkable change within my social environment. Suddenly, many friends had children, which was the perfect excuse to experiment with children’s clothing. First, I did that in parallel with my work as an architect, then I decided to make a shift in my career and transform it into a small business.
Do you have children? How does that influence your work?
Yes, I have a one year old daughter. Although she came after I launched fr-es, she is having a great influence on my last designs. She’s my first customer so I design models I like her to wear!
What sources of inspiration do you continually find yourself going back to, what are some new ones that have influenced your most recent collection?
Most probably my background as an architect has an influence on the design process. I guess my approach to create inventive designs which combine simplicity and sophistication comes directly from there. I feel also very closed to Scandinavian design for its pure and clean lines without forgetting elegance and sophistication. And of course, the childhood itself, fairy tales and illustrations are very inspiring!
Tell us a bit about your drive and purpose, your vision for your designs.
At the moment, I aspire to go a step further with fr-es by manufacturing a complete collection. This means developing a larger range of items keeping/conform with the character and the poetry of the actual designs. It’s also important to me to continue with sustainable production principles and excellent craftsmanship. I believe in a limited production process that selects high quality fabrics involving European suppliers.
What current trends are you keeping track of? Any that you just can’t stand?
I like the general tendency in fashion as well as in design, of revisiting classical line or retro look by giving them a contemporary expression. In the other hand, I don’t understand the trend of copying adult looks to apply them to children. Let’s kids be kids!
What do you feel makes your work unique?
I think the minimalist designs and the simplicity of cut define fr- es personal style together with special attention paid to the details. This simplicity is enhanced by the use of a reduced colour palette: black, grey, dark blue and white, red being the only saturated colour. Those colours can be combined differently. Since all items are made specially to order, customisation is allowed and highly encouraged. By ordering in my website, customers can mix and match those colours to create their own design.
What’s your favorite piece from your current line? Any all time favorite(s)?
Without any doubt the hooded cape! I think it represents well fr-es identity. A strong, timeless and simple design that kids recognize from the fairy tales. They love the cape and it gives them an irresistible look!
If one of our readers is in your city, Rotterdam, for 24 hours. What one thing would you recommend they do?
They definitely have to go to discovered local delicatessen at the Phoenix Food Factory and to have a drink at the Hotel New York. They will then feel the harbour spirit of Rotterdam!
And for kids tips, they can go shopping at the kids concept store Bonbon on the Block and having a coffee at the kids friendly café Hopper.