FRIENDS OF SIX EDGES
EPISODE 3 | BRANDING SPECIALIST STIJN HENS
Six Edges gets by with a little help from its friends. In this journal series, we talk to people who have influenced or contributed to Six Edges in their own creative way. Today, we chat with Stijn Hens, Creative Partner and Director at MAKEOUT, and Branding Developer of Six Edges.
How do you know Ulrike and what do you have in common?
We only met when we started to collaborate on SIX EDGES. The fact that both of us are writing our own story - she with SIX EDGES, I with MAKEOUT - means that we’re both driven and ambitious.
How important is clothing for you? Is it a conscious preoccupation?
Clothing is definitely important for me. Professionally, I want to look presentable without having to wear a shirt and posh shoes. At the same time, I want to dress in comfortable clothing. Often, I search for basics that have gotten a modern spin. This can be in the use of a certain fabric, or in the way the garment is cut. That being said, I don’t care for going shopping in search of the hippest pieces.
A few days ago you launched MAKEOUT, a new branding agency in Ghent. What’s behind the name?
MAKEOUT wants to take a firm hold of the way brands interact with their target audience. In real life, MAKEOUT is something you do in the stages of flirting, so I like to compare MAKEOUT to the feeling of going weak at the knees when you kiss someone for the first time. That’s what I have in mind with MAKEOUT: unique brand identities with matching brand stories that get under consumers’ skins. MAKEOUT takes care of that decisive initial moment when the bond is forged.
Is branding your strength in the marketing process?
It’s so difficult to rate myself, but I can honestly say that from day one I’ve felt at home the most within branding, more than in advertising, or purely graphic design. This doesn’t mean I think branding is somehow superior, but I do feel that this is where the foundation of every great brand lies - and of whatever communication surrounding it comes next.
What form of expression do you prefer?
I can appreciate every form of expression, but image is an obvious one for me, from a beautiful book cover to a contemporary painting. But photography and music, too, inspire me daily.
What about Six Edges’ aesthetic draws you in?
When I buy new clothing, three things are important to me: the quality, the cut, and who’s behind the brand. SIX EDGES fulfills these requirements. Especially the classic pieces that SIX EDGES pores over and reworks, really speak to me.
Which pieces are closest to your personal style?
I’m a huge fan of the ribbon sweats, the striped t-shirts and the lightweight knitwear. These are comfortable basics, but they’re slightly different from what’s out there.
What can we expect from MAKEOUT in the future?
No one knows what the future brings, but with MAKEOUT we’d really like to make a difference in contrast to classical branding strategies, that all too often are an amalgamation of what competitors are doing; or entirely just what the company owner prefers personally.
It takes guts to go against the mainstream (without reverting to academic or eccentric measures), but it’s the only way for a brand to create a unique identity and become clearly recognizable for its target audience - which then leads to a strong brand-customer relationship.