The zotte housewives

Marlien Peeters

Keywords: Brabant, Housewives, Fashion

Internship: Studio David Laport,,

MarlienPeeters design is a dutch fashion label, designed by a young woman who grew up in a little village but always dreamt about the bigger world. MarlienPeeters designs always have an exciting balance between high-end fashion and streetwear. Infused with a punk-edge and a deviant way of constructing, her designs fit both the catwalk and the sidewalk. Her clothes should be a wake-up call or an eye opener. She plays with things that are considered ugly, depressing or stupid - and turns it into something funny, nice or beautiful. It is the tension between the two sides, using a lot of contrast, in which her designs are born.

MarlienPeeters collections are never designed for one person, but take a group of people, mostly women, as a starting point. Women who feel and are different from the community they grew up in, but always keeping that little piece of roots to their heritage. Common themes that can be seen throughout the collections are social order in relationships, sexuality, society, and politics. From these themes, MarlienPeeters creates stand-alone pieces, mostly using oversized or big volumes and bright - often mismatching colours. Ruffles can be found throughout the collection.

Significant details in this collection are carnival (a traditional festive in Brabant), budget stores, Boeren bont (a local dessin) and aprons. It results in a colorful, raw collection in which evening dresses are mixed with punk and streetwear.


Graduation Project

For her graduation collection ‘The zotte housewives’, Marlien went back to her roots: Brabant, a province in the Netherlands. The collection is about the difference between a small village and a big city – and the experience of transition between the two with its benefits and consequences. With the collection, the designer shares a personal experience: when you are different and are stuck in your reality, but you found your own way towards freedom. Her muse is a housewife who is stuck in her house with the expectations of her husband. At night she escapes and meets similar women to throw a big whopping party. In the morning, they go back home - back to their old pattern of housekeeping.

LOOK 5 and 8. Model: Alina Voskuil and Linde Legters. Agency: VDM Models, Photo: Anne Wolbert, MuaH: Willemijn Roebroek
LOOK 2, Model: Alina Voskuil, Photo: Anne Wolbert, MuaH: Willemijn Roebroek
LOOK 6, Model: Linde Legters. VDM Models, photo: Anne Wolbert, MuaH: Willemijn Roebroek
LOOK 7, Model: Alina Voskuil
LOOK 7, Model: Noa Acar, Agency: Clique Models, Photo:Anne Wolbert, MuaH: Willemijn Roebroek
LOOK 5, Model: Naoki Hermans, agency Clique Models
LOOK 3 and 7. Models: Alina Voskuil and Linde Legters. Agency: VDM Models
LOOK 1 and 4. Model: Alina Voskuil and Linde Legters. Agency: VDM models



I am getting older, and for the first time in my life, I have plans to live together with my boyfriend. This got me thinking of the kind of relationships my friends have in Brabant, where my roots are, and the relationships here in the south of Holland: De Randstad. We might do not think about it often, that there is such a big difference in living in a small country like the Netherlands, but they are many different worlds in my experience. To visualize this story, I have created a tale around the housewife. I chose to make eight looks for women. The looks are designed with glamour and streetwear elements, with a touch of punk. My housewife character escapes for a little while in the night, so she can one time get a party in the year to forget about everything in her life. She is doing this with her other housewife friends who are experiences the same. In the end: My housewives dress together in the same way and forming a tribe. Inspired by the old Folklore of Brabant. For me, it has a connection with the tradition of the Carnival, in the past but also now. It has a Social order, to turn everything around and do not care about rules.

It got my interest and in combination with the subjects, I came to the question: What does a typical Brabantic housewife look like (in modern times/in different times)? What are the elements of that housewife?

Now in 2021, there are luckily not many of these typical housewives anymore that are in the traditional hierarchy of their man, but I feel and see it is still an expectation of the society that woman must be like this. Cooking for the whole family, stay at home, taking care of their man, doing the dishes, the laundry, and so on. We had the last 100 years already this feministic flow, where a lot of women demonstrate to get more power. But still, there is a 2021 housewife, those who still live their men’s rules.

I grew up in the East- Brabant, close to Limburg; in the Netherlands. A few years ago, I went to The Hague, Zuid-Holland, for my study and now I am building up a life here, I want to stay here. During my studies, I have been associated with or judged by my roots many times. With my habits, my speaking, religion, priorities, and a lot more. First, I thought it was very annoying. However today I can say I am being proud of my descent. I build up some love for my Brabant. Therefore, I started researching the tradition and history of Brabant. Carnival, the traditional holiday we celebrate every beginning of the year, represents my youth and culture. Then I found out about Folklore; I did not know this existed. ‘De Brabantse ruit’ (diamond pattern with the technique of plain weaving) I already knew about; I fell in love with this a few years ago already. It reminds me of housekeeping and mothers. This because of the kitchen curtains, towels, and aprons. And of course, of the flag of Brabant. There is a lot to talk about the history of Brabant itself but I will research my interests: woman rights, emancipation, and sexuality. My need is to tell stories from my own experience and wake up other girls to watch out or make not the same mistakes. The target audience is especially younger girls of the age 15 to 27 years. But also, for older women who are already stuck in their reality.

My thesis aims to give some background information about my graduation collection by outlining the basics of the important topics in my research: community dressing/ folklore and the fact that people generally dress alike. I will outline this last topic more specifically later in my thesis, but for now, it is good to say that I will explain this by social order, sense of belonging, and escape of social order. Fourthly, I will explain the background story of my tribe: the typical housewives. They are mostly buying the same brands of cleaning products in the same stores. To explain how my tribe came to be, I will (1) include the origin story of the tribal and (2) outline the history of the Dutch housewife and how she is nowadays. Lastly, I will talk shortly about the Catholic carnival to explain how I found my inspiration for my escaping story from reality.