Fire Five is our latest journal feature in which we interview the brilliant minds behind our favourite brands & retailers – a mix of creatives, designers, & buyers. We’re very excited to begin this journey and take you along with us as we dive deeper into the energy behind our favourite brands.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Natasha Veenhuizen, the enchanting & inspired Designer & Founder of Melbourne-based, luxury womenswear label, Van Der Kooij.

Natasha designs with pleasure and not reward in mind, creating Van Der Kooij as an outlet to explore her love of fabrics and design. VDK is crafted with an emphasis on creation, revival of design, quality, integrity & luxurious fabrics. Utmost care is put into every detail and process along the way, as she marries feminine silhouettes with a contemporary edge.

Van Der Kooij is about creating and sharing a story, a blend of beauty & rebellion.

Get to know the visionary behind Van Der Kooii to connect even further with the brand.

Shop the collection here.


1.) Can you tell us the inspiration for your Passion Project that you have created?

I was really interested in the beautiful way people are reconnecting to their creative side now that they may have time on their hands. I feel so lucky to be able to create every day. It’s a therapeutic process for me that calms my mind. So, by connecting with people and seeing them share their passion projects, I am hoping to inspire people to re-connect with what brings them joy. My aim is to rekindle that passion which breeds positivity.

2.) What kind of moments, memories, or things inspire your collections?

My collections are often inspired by childhood memories or stories that have fascinated me over time. Our Lady Tulip collection is inspired by a charismatic woman whose mystical and beautiful dance enchanted Europe at the turn of the 20th century. Some may know her by her stage name, Mata Hari. I have kept visual diaries since I was a teenager and looking back throughout the years, there is a photo of her in every diary I’ve kept. I’ve always been mesmerised by her. I have a list of wonderful themes for future collections and she has always been at the top of this list. It was such a pleasure to research her and read novels inspired by her. She was truly a mysterious beauty.


“The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word” – Mata Hari.


3.) What are your most-used fabrics & why do you choose to work with these fabrics?

I’m most drawn to natural fibres, particularly silk. It is such a versatile fabric that comes in many textures and weights. It can be soft and draped or fitted and structured. It’s a luxurious material and when printed, the intensity of colour is truly magnificent. Not only is it a natural fibre, but it is also a delight to work with and particularly fabulous to wear, as it creates such a luxurious sensation against the skin. I was introduced to the varied uses of silk early in my career during my internship and I was keen to work with such a high-quality fabric. Silk is a great way for me to combine two fundamental elements of Van Der Kooij: luxury & sustainability.


4.) You make sustainability and upholding these practices a non-negotiable benchmark within the business. Can you tell us  what this means for you & your business goals?

Sustainability will always be one of the foundational principles of our business. Our long-term goal is to provide products of the highest quality while having as little impact on the environment as possible. Although not perfect yet, with each season we are refining our processes, building relationships with local makers and creating a more sustainable supply chain.

We produce limited-edition production runs. This means each piece is cut by hand and slowly created with care. We hand finish every garment in our studio and a record of its limited-production is recorded inside each garment. We have also implemented a ‘Plant-a-Tree‘ program which means for every creation made, a tree is planted in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor in Western Australia. This assists in reducing our carbon emissions. This is our way of giving back to replenish the earth. 

Learn more about VDK Sustainability.


5.) How do you imagine the intersection between fashion & sustainability? 

That’s a really great question, particularly in this current climate where everyone is so impacted by the pandemic. If this doesn’t force the industry to slow down, I don’t know what will. I imagine this pause in our ‘go-go-go’ lifestyle will allow us all to reflect and hopefully redefine our value system, which I believe has been skewed for too long. As priorities shift, I imagine a time of creativity will be ignited. Ideas will surge and creativity will flow. Fashion will flourish with sustainability as a core value because the stories we have to tell and share, are as important as ever. The hurdles we have to jump now are so much higher. Genuineness and creativity are needed now more than ever.

By having limitations on our physical contact with the rest of the world, I hope people will begin to appreciate the art and passion that goes into not only fashion, but sustainability. Collectively we can take a step to a better world where fashion and sustainability go hand in hand, without being questioned.

I imagine a world where we can learn from this experience and grow from it, better and stronger than before. Change is always scary, but it often brings positive progression.


Shop the collection here.