To Sofie Nieuwborg, creating is always personal. Her final collection Mastering in Life takes the period of graduation itself as leitmotif. “In my last year at the Academy in Antwerp I had the luxury of doing exactly what I wanted while awaiting the new to come. This collection was born out of the question what this period of transition could entail to me.” As the title suggests, she took her master collection as a final opportunity for introspection, being well aware of the temporal character of her conclusion. This never-ending search for the self is at the very heart of Sofie’s entire practice. If the act of creation is disconnected from the personality of the creator, she doesn’t see the need to go any further. “In every garment, pattern or drawing I put my own struggles. There is undoubtedly something therapeutic about it.”
While going in many different directions at once, it is important for her to keep a firm hold of her free spirit. It is in her drawing and painting practice that she creates an open space where her freedom can flourish. As for Sofie fashion always comes with great responsibility, her art practice allows herself to experiment with her imagination. “In fashion you always have to be aware of the consequences of what you are doing and of the references you are making. The ethical part, and all the thoughtfulness that is involved in it, is quite important to me. However, it can easily become quite suffocating. My visual work allows me to be more daring, to play with colours and forms in a way I wouldn’t immediately do in my fashion work.” This tendency to go beyond fashion is noticeable in her inspiration. She mostly looks at visual artists as a source of illumination. She has for example great liking for the textile artist Franz Erhard Walter. Working outside the fashion industry allowed him a truly free approach to clothing and textile in general. This way he redefined the concept of vestments as a way to bring people together.