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Exploring Amsterdam with Scotch & Soda's creative director

Scotch & Soda SS20

Scotch & Soda’s creative director Marlou van Engelen loves hunting down treasures in flea markets across the world. 

Marlou van engelen

Marlou van Engelen

Marlou van Engelen joined Scotch & Soda in 2007 as head of design for its kidswear ranges, before being made creative director of the brand in 2015. Since then, van Engelen has led the design team from its headquarters in Amsterdam, building collections on storytelling and character.

Wholesale prices range from £13.40 for t-shirt to £203.80 for a jacket. Founded in 1985, Scotch & Soda now boasts an impressive global network of more than 8,000 stockists and 250 Scotch & Soda retail stores worldwide.

In the UK it has 125 menswear stockists and 105 womenswear stockists alongside two Scotch & Soda stores.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Check on my beautiful little girl, Issey-Lou, who’s seven months old.

What was your first job?

My dad was a real-estate agent and I was his secretary during summer holidays. The most important lesson I learned was that I wanted to do something more creative. I changed the design of their logo and brochures because I thought it looked too boring, which my dad couldn’t really appreciate, instead of doing my job. But by doing this job, I was also taught to be business-minded and precise. The best of both worlds.

Scotch and soda ss20

Scotch & Soda SS20

How would you describe the brand in one sentence?

An optimistic brand that allows you to be yourself every single day of the week.

What’s your coffee (or tea) order?

I absolutely love Japanese teas – my favourite is Sencha.

Where are your favourite places to shop?

I’m a real treasure hunter, so I love flea markets and browsing around for beautiful things that tell a story. Amsterdam and Tokyo are my favourite shopping cities.

Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?

A pair of pink corduroy chinos in Florence. I have a weak spot for quality and colour.

Emails or phone calls?

Phone call. It’s more personal and you can express your feelings better.

Most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?

Always stay true to yourself but be open to change.

What would be your ideal office/meeting space?

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to wish for one. Our office is located in a former church along the canals in the heart of Amsterdam. We kept some of the original details and transformed it into an authentic Scotch & Soda design studio.

What’s your favourite part of the creative process?

The concept stage. We start every collection with a story and a leading character, place or time that represents our free spirit. It’s an organic process and is my ultimate happy place because it’s full of creativity, without any boundaries.

What has been your proudest moment since you joined the brand/launched?

I’m proud of my creative team, and that we all work for the same goal of putting “our world” into our garments. You can see the love in the thoughtful details.

Scotch & Soda SS20

Scotch & Soda SS20

What’s the last book you read?

The Many Lives of Jan Six: A Portrait Of An Amsterdam Dynasty by Geert Mak.

Last holiday?

Ibiza.

What’s the biggest challenge facing fashion today?

Sustainability.

One piece of advice that you would give your younger self?

Live in the moment and enjoy every second.

Who do you turn to when you need advice?

My husband. He understands and knows me like no one else.

What would we find you doing at the weekend?

Because I’m a new mum, I love spending time with my family – cooking, painting, taking walks. I have a pretty intense (but amazing) job, so my weekends are very important for clearing my head.

What are you looking forward to most in the year ahead?

To make a difference in the future and to create with our lives.

 

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