Photography & styling by Milou Tjioe & Danique den Hollander

For our Women in CJ series we sat down with Merel de Jong – head of design at Catwalk Junkie, for a little chat about work, life and motherhood. 


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Tell us a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Amsterdam. I attended "The Free School" and completed a Fashion & Design degree at AMFI. I've been working abroad for many years - I love discovering new countries and learning about new cultures. I'm living in Amsterdam right now, with my daughter Freya.

What is your inspiration in designing for Catwalk Junkie?

Mostly my inspiration comes at unexpected moments, when I’m on my bike or suddenly see a perfect color combination in a vintage store. I think as a designer you reflect the energy and mood of people around you and you translate the needs and feelings into a collection.


What does a typical work day for you look like at Catwalk Junkie?

I love that I can jump on my bike and cycle to the office, this gives me a little break and I can get into the right mindset for the day. We are constantly busy designing the collection when we are at work. 

We are choosing colors for the upcoming collections, new fabric innovations, and fitting styles we want to include in the line. We work in a small team so everybody keeps involved in the process and you create something altogether.

How do you want women to feel when wearing your designs?

 I hope women feel themselves in our designs and feel comfortable and happy. I think it is very important to create an individual style that shows the best version of yourself. A look that represents you. Stay true to your own taste and explore what feels right for you. 


When you’re not working, what do you love to do? (What gives you joy?)

Spending time with my daughter is the thing I love doing the most. Exploring the world and going on adventures together. She has opened my eyes to so many new perspectives, and I am grateful for that. I get energy from taking walks through the city, discovering new plaves, and meeting new people. That’s the great gift by living in the city, there’s always something exiting happening at any moment.

Your top 3 go to places in your hometown Amsterdam?

 Westerpark is one of my favorite spots since there is always something going on there and it has a free vibe. I go to Gebroeders Niemeijer for the best lunch since they have the nicest sourdough bread. And third would be PLTS (pilates studio), which feels like my second family and keeps me energetic and grounded.

Song on repeat right now...

 I love Nijaay from Orchestra Baobab, it always gives me a happy light feeling.

Words you live by...

 Be open minded, free of judgement and care for each other.


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