Mada Van Gaans creates highly feminine, though slightly futuristic edgy women's wear collections. Her designs are a divine mix between fantasy, luxury and comfort.
"Wearable, highly imaginative in its own, particular, yet in a classy way"
Her work is refined and detailed, has a whimsical and 'art nouveau' touch.
Strong formations, softened by flowing materials and elusive prints, are brought together within a dreamy, yet wearable range of refined outfits suited for modern women who embrace their existence.
Natural elements and traditional craftsmanship from other cultures are placed in a new concept and show a harmonious mixture between multicultural craftsmanship and modern cloth.
"To me, it is a challenge to be able to translate the rich images and silhouettes from those magnificent artworks into my creations"
Van Gaans' fascination with nature began as a child in Wapserveen, a village in Drenthe. Her childhood thrived in the rich countryside near the forest and fields of heather.
Van Gaans' creativity took flight at the Vrije School (Rudolf Steiner college) in Meppel and Groningen, Intermediate Technical School for Fashion and Clothing MTS in Utrecht, and the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. She received her final Masters from the Fashion Institute Arnhem where she presented her graduation collection at Musee Galiera for the Haute Couture Week in Paris. She completed internships with Renate Hunfeld, Beach Life, Bernard Willhelm and Oscar Sulleyman. During her studies she was employed as a freelancer at a trend-forecasting agency where she had the opportunity to observe much of the commercial fashion industry.
In 2001, Van Gaans was selected for the Robijn Fashion Award.
She presented herself internationally by participating in the design contest "ITS#3 Talent Support in Italy", and took part in several exhibitions in Paris, New York, Rome, Barcelona and London in collaboration with Dutch Fashion Foundation. In the Netherlands, she exhibited her clothing in museums like Gem in The Hague, the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem and the Historical Museum in Amsterdam.
Mada premiered her collection at the Amsterdam Fashion Week in 2005. The same year Mada went to New York City to show her collection during New York Fashion Week, and took part in the exhibition "Dutch at the Edge of Design" at The Museum at FIT. In 2007 Mada was nominated for the Dutch Fashion Awards and was selected for the IAF Awards in Taipei, Taiwan for which she placed second. In 2008 Mada was nominated for the Dutch Fashion Awards for the second time.
In 2008 Mada travelled to India with a exchange programme to work with students from academy Nift in Delhi, in this year she also worked with a commercial label Just B. on a series of dresses Just B. by Mada van Gaans for summer 2009 and winter 2009/2010. In September that year she went to Business of Design Week in Hong Kong that was organised by Dutch Economical Affairs, Dutch Fashion Foundation and Hong Kong Trade Development Council. Mada presented her collection together with 5 Dutch designers on the roof of the trendy restaurant Seva at Princes Building in the centre of Hong Kong.
She has been commissioned to design unique pieces for the international Lavazza Calendar Campaign (photographed by Erwin Olaf) and a series of limited edition 'Belle Arti' watches for 'Longines'.
Also in the same year Mada van Gaans designed two collections with Just B.
In 2009 Mada worked together with photographer Danielle Kwaaitaal on the exhibition "Whispering Waters" a series of underwater images with dresses of Mada van Gaans, which where exposed at the Groningen Museum. A few months later she presented her work at the exhibition 'Gejaagd door de Wind' in Enkhuizen and was nominated for the Dutch fashion Awards for the third time.
In 2010 Mada presented her work during the exhibition "The Hoerengracht" in the Amsterdams Historisch Museum and at the exhibition De Vout/Di Vine, Fashion vs Religion, Mode Museum Hasselt, in Belgium.
In the period of January till April 2011 Mada went to Yogyakarta, Indonesia as an Artist in residency to explore craftsmanship of Indonesia and work with local craft makers. She presents her work in the Art Gallery Cemeti Art House in Yogyakarta.
In 2012 Mada was invited to the Exhibition 'Dutch Design – Huis van Oranje', in Palace Oranienbaum in Dessau in Germany where she presented three of her artworks she created in Indonesia. This exhibition focussed on contemporary Dutch Design and fashion in combination with historical artefacts from the Dutch Royal Archives.
In that same year Mada designed a dress for the exhibition 'Het geheim van de slang' (The secret of the snake) at the Afrikamuseum in Nijmegen. It was a multicultural exhibition where the art around the snake formed the central point. Besides working on her own projects, Mada also currently works as a free-lance designer for a womenswear label 'Kiss and Tell'.
Recently Mada designed the "Lace Draperies" for the 'Captured Series' with photographer Danielle Kwaaitaal, it is a series of portraits with desire, intimacy and beauty as a theme.
At the moment Mada is preparing several projects which she will work on in Indonesia this coming year, and has a project in plan in collaboration with the Slovenian based photographer Saša Hess.