Hilde Van Belleghem - Celebrating 20 year’s in the Fashion District.
At De Gouden Straatjes, we bring together designers with very different backgrounds, design processes and experiences. In this series we speak to several designers about their experiences of working as jewellers in Antwerp’s Golden Streets.
Hilde Van Belleghem designs and handcrafts subtle elegant pieces in her Nationalestraat store. Established in the city centre for 20 years, we spoke to Hilde about her beautiful store, her refined jewellery designs, and the changes she’s seen in Antwerp’s fashion district.
How did you come to be based here?
I opened my store 20 years ago this year. When I started, Anne Zellien was the only jeweller in this neighborhood. When I attended the opening of her store I decided that I’d like my own shop as well, and that same evening I discovered that this store on Nationale Straat was for sale - a week later I bought it.
The building had been empty for thirty years so there was a lot of work to be done - My brother is an architect so he worked on the plans and designed it according to my vision.
Have you noticed a lot of change in the past 20 years?
When I bought the shop, everything on the street stood empty. 3 months after I bought it, the opening of the fashion museum was announced in the paper. I couldn’t believe my luck. After that, the area began to change enormously. A lot of fashion brands moved here and in the last few years lots of jewellers have come to the neighbourhood.
How do you feel about the increasing number of other jewellers in the area?
It’s interesting being so close to each other. De Gouden Straatjes groups us together because of the area and its nice that through the walking tours people are encouraged to come into the shop who otherwise wouldn’t. It’s nice to raise awareness about jewellery and the differences between different designers - there is a big range within de Gouden Straatjes.
What is your design ethos?
In my work I don’t use casting, I produce everything is made by hand. When people buy a piece of jewellery from me my intention is that they can wear it again and again and pass it on to friends or hand it down to their children. I believe that you need to try on a piece of jewellery and know that its right for you - its something to hold onto forever.