Home » COLOURFUL REBEL Founders Talk Exclusively for DSCENE

COLOURFUL REBEL Founders Talk Exclusively for DSCENE

SSENSE GLOBAL

Born in Amsterdam, COLOURFUL REBEL is an independent brand, grounded in all aspects of equality and self-expression. Experimentation, craftsmanship and freedom are the key elements of the Colourful Rebel world.

DSCENE Magazine Fashion Director KATARINA DORIC sits down with the creative duo behind Colourful Rebel, Bas and Frank van de Brug, to talk about their journey from magazine to the successful fashion brand, collaborations, community, as well as their future plans.

Photography Frank van de Brug, Courtesy of © Colourful Rebel

Tell us a bit about your background. – Bas and I both studied anything but fashion. He graduated in Technical engineering and after three different studies I finally graduated in International Business and Languages. We both started at Scotch & Soda, learned a lot, left after 1 year and started Colourful Rebel.

You started out as an online magazine, but very quickly expanded to a fashion brand. Tell us more about this journey. – We started Colourful Rebel out of our student apartment as a blog. We wanted to create a place mainly for men to read about fun stuff we like. We missed a place like that. Quickly we gained a lot of followers writing about anything we enjoyed in life. Holidays, parties in Amsterdam, new restaurants, etc. We felt we could do more with the following we gained and the community we created and decided to build a web shop by looking at tutorials on YouTube. That was the day Colourful Rebel as a fashion brand was born and we started to build from there.

When we started Colourful Rebel we launched just three tees. One of them became one of the biggest fashion hits in The Netherlands. That summer it felt like literally, everyone was wearing this particular T-shirt. This was an amazing experience and an eye-opening moment, people really liked what we started and what we were doing. From this moment on the demand was so big we had to come up with more products, hired people to help us with design, customer-care and bring structure to the chaos to turn this into a legit business instead of free-wheeling out of our apartment.

Photography Frank van de Brug, Courtesy of © Colourful Rebel

From a student apartment in Amsterdam to a successful fashion brand – What do you think is the seed of your success? – In the beginning, I think everyone is very willing to support your new business, especially when it kicks off. Being identical twins might have also been a fun fact that made a good story at the time. And people probably felt we started Colourful Rebel for fun and that is was something really close to us.

Tell us about the name Colourful Rebel. – We wanted the name to stand for something. Coming from a highly liberal city like Amsterdam, the strong contradiction between the positive colourful part and on the other hand the rebellious, living your life your way and doing whatever you want but without doing any harm and respect to others felt as the right name. This really reflected who we were as brothers and were raised by our parents, so this made sense as a name for our blog.

From the start, we wanted to make timeless and colourful pieces with a modern cut made to wear every day. That’s always been the goal and I don’t think we differentiated from that goal throughout the years.

What is it like working as a creative duo? Can you please tell us a bit about the process? – I (Frank) am together with my superstar team of designers, Shera, Amber, Hannah and Lina, responsible for all designs for men and women. And I am personally responsible for all our content, photoshoots (studio and campaign). Bas is responsible for e-commerce, online marketing and sales. Our business partner Oscar is responsible for finance, buying, logistics and all the other stuff a CEO is responsible for. Dividing the roles went very naturally because we might be twins but have very different interests when it comes to our business. We do back-check a lot with each other but 99% of the time we are on the same page, probably a twin thing.

What was the original vision for Colourful Rebel, and has it changed much since you started? – From the start, we wanted to make timeless and colourful pieces with a modern cut made to wear every day. That’s always been the goal and I don’t think we differentiated from that goal throughout the years.

Photography Frank van de Brug, Courtesy of © Colourful Rebel

When you look back on the journey from the first ideas to today, what were important milestones for you personally? – Opening our first store in the city center of Amsterdam was a huge deal for me. Amsterdam has always been the place I wanted to live when I was younger. Finally moving there was so special and then having our own store was a little unreal. We had to close this one unfortunately because covid hit and we had two long lockdowns. It was a pity but in hindsight the right decision. We will open a new pop-up store on the 27th of March in the buzzing area of “de Pijp” in Amsterdam.

What do you think is missing right now in fashion? – A little more colour wouldn’t hurt. Especially for men it’s all a bit boring. Where is the pink? One of the reasons we are dropping a 400 gsm heavy-washed hoodie and short in pink. One of my favourite pieces from the second instalment of our Spring Summer 2023 collection. This fit, the wash of the garment, it is just so good.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Little cliché but true. And, when being an entrepreneur, make sure to onboard only the best of the best.

Collaborations are very popular in the industry today. Who would be your dream collaborator? – I don’t have a specific brand in mind but when we do a collaboration, I would really like it to be unexpected. A product that is totally out of our industry and something no one would expect. But this hasn’t gotten our full attention yet.

How important is the community to Colourful Rebel and you personally? – Very. Love to see all the tags and Dm’s every day with people wearing our products. Especially the diversity of people and cultures is something we really appreciate.

Who do you follow on Instagram and why? – Lately, I really like what Cole Buxton, Johnny Wilson and Adi Gillespie are doing with their UVU Club. They are building a community around their brand in a very unique way if you ask me. The love they have and put into their product is mind-blowing. The attention for detail and the way they are building this up from the ground is truly inspiring.

Photography Frank van de Brug, Courtesy of © Colourful Rebel

Have you learned anything along the way that you’d tell a younger version of yourself? – Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Little cliché but true. And, when being an entrepreneur, make sure to onboard only the best of the best. Don’t be greedy when it comes to getting the best people on board. They will grow your business so much faster than you could ever dream of.

What’s next? Where is the journey going for Colourful Rebel? – Worldwide. We started selling in Germany which is picking up already and really want to start in the UK. But slow and steady growth is the best for our business right now.

Keep up with Colourful Rebel on Instagram – @colourfulrebel