by Laila Gohar
During the day Stephanie D'Heygere can be spotted around the Maison Martin Margiela headquarters in Paris, where she works as part of the fashion house's extensive collaborative of designers. By night she runs Been by D'Heygere ("been" means "leg" in Flemish), a line of leggings featuring hyperrealistic digital prints of food, such as salmon skin, pineapple and watermelon rind.
Each of D'Heygere's designs starts off as a photo of a compelling texture. The images are digitally collaged into prints and sent to a factory in Holland, which uses heat transfer to print the design onto Lycra. To ensure consistency, each pair of leggings is printed individually.
D'Heygere first produced leggings while at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp where, for her graduation project, she created several pairs influenced by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. "I was inspired by images that were part human, part animal and part vegetable," she says. After her project received much acclaim, she decided to launch Been by D'Heygere in 2011 with her brother, a lawyer who manages the business angle.
D'Heygere's playful prints are colorful and eclectic, and the designer admits she's intrigued by peculiar textures and enjoys working with fruit. D'Heygere is readying to debut a new collection, which will hit the webstore this February. "Look out for more prints, and more amazing textures. The theme is very industrial and unexpected," says D'Heygere.
Been by D'Heygere leggings are available online for €87 ($115). Been encourages fans to take pictures of themselves in the leggings and email them to info[at]beenbydheygere[dot]be so that the photos can be posted on the fan page.