Since one year, Michaël Verheyden has found a niche for himself at C-mine. The old mining site may be well known as a centre for creative industries; on the other hand Genk is not exactly the fashion capital of Belgium. Michaël is aware of this, but what this site offers in terms of space is impossible to find for the same price in Brussels or Antwerp. And it offers even more possibilities. Not coincidentally, he first shows me the Verheyden-Vereecke Gallery that he only recently opened. The exhibitions not only attract more visitors, they also spur extra creativity. Michaël loves to be creative himself and seeks contact with sculptors and musicians. He has been lead singer in a punk band, an exhibition curator and artistic coordinator of Toegepast...
How does an industrial designer become a creative jack-of-all-trades and designer of handbags and other accessories? Michaël did work placements with Piet Stockmans and Febiaan Van Severen, also a designer of handbag collections. Raf Simons helped him to discover the Paris fashion scene. His graduation project in 2001 was the clothing concept ATOMIClothing, two ensembles that could be completely transformed in a second.
After finishing his studies, Michaël set up a company with Jan Kuppers, but soon found himself alone, and thus dedicated himself 100% to the company. In the space of a few years Michaël Verheyden has become a brand that is distributed in around eight countries. He is seen at international fairs like Première Classe in Paris and he recently started collaborating with a fashion agency. It is not easy to conquer the world of fashion and design when one tries to find a place in both.