We treasure

Painted Series is a hybrid fashion collective, led by fashion designer Saskia van Drimmelen and performance director Margreet Sweerts, collaborating with kindred spirits in a varying line-up.

Painted Series explores new ways to develop and distribute clothing and likes to blur the lines between fashion and performance, expanding the idea of what a garment can be.

We believe in the pleasure and strength of developing clothes in togetherness and wish to revive almost forgotten crafts, a tribute to human dignity and delicate beauty.

Each piece grows out of different hands, worked on in sequence by designers and artisans of nearly forgotten techniques.
To bring these crafts into the future, we explore connecting machine made and hand made, taking care for people and materials: Future Roots.

Reciprocity is our aim in each collaboration, sharing knowledge and the joy of making garments.

Painted Pieces Uniques are made to measure like couture, each piece emerging in close dialogue with the person who will wear it.

Painted-à-Porter are small series that can be reproduced, yet each piece made unique by use of handicraft.
Golden Joinery is a step further in inviting people to involve in their own garment by repairing it with gold when it’s broken.

The garments are all part of an ever-growing series, like a band’s repertoire.

Unrestricted by time, place or seasons, Painted Series presents in its own rhythm and by invitation. A life story in garments

I am Treasure top, a garment in progress.

I emerged from the spirit of an Antique Bulgarian family dress to which different generations
 have added personal elements.
A celebration of community life.
I started to grow from my heart, first a gemstone, than slowly growing into a flower 

I will always be open-ended

The beauty and soul
 in this layered garment grew out of different hands in time.


Painted Series
Saskia van Drimmelen  Margreet Sweerts  Desirée Hammen  Rumjana Rakovska  Magdalina Toneva  Polly Kalaidjieva  Alette Noordegraaf  Jarwo Gibson  Bistra Stefanova  Velichka Georgieva  Tom Hommes  Els Beusen  Erzsi Pennings  Galina Simeonova  Luba Kitzova  Jessica Growing Thunder  Juanita Growing Thunder-Fogarty

  Xiaowen Ji  Chandrakant Bulhabhai Chitara  Rajiyaben Ruby

This website is developed in collaboration

navigation and design: Dima Stefanova,
text contribution: Danielle Bruggeman, Eliza Lachkova
homepage movie: Fan Liao

On Painted Series

With Painted Series, Saskia van Drimmelen and Margreet Sweerts create new ways of (re)connecting to fashion and clothes.
Intuition, joy, care, awareness and reciprocity are guiding values in their work -- expressing the hands of all people involved in the process of letting
 the clothes come-into-being.
As designers, they facilitate making clothes grow– an open process of becoming – together with masters of old techniques and if possible the wearer.
By creating an open invitation for other people to join and participate in collective community practices of making, they bring back the human touch and give room to new, affective relationships between makers, clothes and wearers. They explore and revive the multiple layers, stories, symbols and rituals of rare crafts.

Painted Series originally started from a desire to develop alternative ways of making and presenting fashion and clothes, relating to each other as human beings, and new ways of respectfully reconnecting to the cycle and rhythm of nature. Not as a nostalgic way to return to a romantic ideal, but as new ways of moving into the future, transforming the current fashion system,that dictates an inhumane pace of production and consumption.

In our era of  throw-away consumer culture and mass-produced identical clothes, with economic growth as an industry-wide driving force, exploiting garment workers and nature – Saskia van Drimmelen and Margreet Sweerts felt the need to engage with fashion differently.

They felt the urgency to give clothes a soul, a new life through collective processes of making, the desire to reclaim the values that have been lost or commercialized, and to contribute to a more human way of engaging with fashion. This requires alternative work forms and practices of making and presenting clothes – moving beyond the dominant idea of the ‘star designer’, beyond selling seasonal collections to consumers, beyond imposing top-down strategies for sustainability.

In her projects and practices, Painted Series facilitates a new movement of collective making, repairing, and caring for clothes.
A new culture of reconnecting to clothing as an expression of genuine beauty –including the beauty of imperfection – instead of commodified, idealized beauty.
A culture where we re-appreciate the actual value of time and labor. 
A culture where clothes are not consumerist ‘end products’ but rather open-ended forms of becoming.
In doing so, Painted Series also continuously explores, rediscovers and re-imagines the ways in which fashion relates to emotions, the physical human body, togetherness, and wellbeing – redefining the meaning and values of clothes within a community. The garments made by (and with) Painted Series are not timeless, they rather become-with the rhythm of nature. 
These clothes invite the wearer to give time, offer attention, and to take care for them, to listen to them - what would they say if you give them a voice?

March 2021, dr. Daniëlle Bruggeman
Professor of Fashion ArtEZ University of the Arts,


Our vision ( 2010 ) 

Growth, in the current economic era, is still seen as a precondition for progress and has become a goal in itself.
Painted Series sees growth as a valuable basic principle in a natural cycle (like in our making process) and not as an absolute goal in order to maximize profits.
The masters in scarce crafts we collaborate with, through their skills still have access to an old, often almost vanished culture, economic value and symbols. These cultures are inspired by nature and connected in a relationship of community and reciprocity. Their crafts tell about it and through their practice they keep connected with it.
By use of symbolism in a modern way in contemporary clothing, Painted Series refers to a valuable relationship with our nature.

Human dimension
Painted Series wants to be an example of a practice where work has not been cut off from daily life of women, finding its rhythm in the cycle of life and its vital components; having children, preparing food, celebrating seasons, reposing, recovering, etc. We welcome those facts as influences on our work.
Painted Series assumes that the (physical) capabilities of humans (as well as the earth) are enormous yet not inexhaustible. Time to rest and restore is needed. In our present time where in the field of labor the human factor/ measure is often lost, Painted Series is searching to reconnect, thereby making use of new technological opportunities in the field of communication and mobility.

from the book 'Bulgarian Folk Costumes', Aniko publishing

Painted Series believes in the strength of collaboration, inspired by ancient Bulgarian dresses; passed on from generation to generation and ever changing by addition of new handwork elements.
Instead of the star designer who designs what others produce, Painted Series searches the adventure of creating together in a community, like a pop band, working on a growing repertoire.
Through innovative working methods garments arise that haven’t been designed beforehand.
Because the end result is not individually controlled, this way of working requires a certain mentality, where shared experience and giving each other opportunities becomes more important than personal result and carreermaking.
It is about the pleasure of making together and sharing knowledge.

Painted Series cherishes almost forgotten handwork techniques, and wants to bring them into the future before they disappear.
This is not about restoring but about transformation.
By working with masters of these techniques, these are revived and given a place in the complexity of today, embracing the achievements of (technological) progress.
By doing so we wish to inspire young people to learn the techniques.

Reciprocity through the whole chain: towards nature, maker and customer
Not give and take as a single irreversible ‘deal’, yet to receive and return as an ongoing process, ensure non-exploitative dealings with who and what surrounds us - this could be called a female economy.
Reciprocity is the key message in all Painted Series communications, both with the masters and with each other. People who invite us as well as the potential wearers of the clothing.