Reflecting Us: Claire Dhooge
Paris Mirror not only investigates contemporary fashion design but also delves into the concept of identity. The Paris Mirror team is made up of four students from different ends of the world, giving us each unique perspective on culture, and how our own cultures have influenced our identities. This project gave us an opportunity to explore ourselves, and our heritages, re-examining them in the context of Paris. Each member decided to note their experience in Paris, how it has affected their identity, and the mutual interaction between themselves and the city of Paris.
Head of Artistic Direction
Born in South Africa
An MBA art & luxury student, passionate about contemporary fashion, design, and brand image. Trained Jewellery designer, investigating the socio-political implications of the design world.
My name is Claire Dhooge, and I am the creative director of the Paris Mirror Project. I grew up in the diverse country of South Africa, where my creative language developed. I completed my undergraduate degree in Metal and Jewelry design at Stellenbosch University, which taught me invaluable lessons about arts & culture, utilizing practice-based research. Not only was I able to generate my own creative identity, but I was also able to use jewelry to manifest my creative language and identity.
My next step was to begin my life in Paris, where I enrolled in IESA arts & culture, to expand my knowledge of the arts and luxury market. From a young age, I had a fascination with the Parisian culture, acknowledging Paris as the capital of fashion and art. The immense cultural history of France and its influence throughout the globe encouraged me to move to the city I have always admired. Fashion was a passion from childhood, and the aesthetic culture of Paris really governed my move to France.
My identity is quite complex, with my lineage completely tied to Europe. The dual nature of my cultural heritage, that of European descent, but upbringing in Southern Africa, has given me a unique perspective on identity. I am proud of my South African character and am grateful to have grown in a country full of diversity, hope, and unity.
Moving to Paris has only elevated the variety of identities and cultures I encounter, unveiling an open and inclusive space. Through my master’s studies, I have met classmates from around the world, which has granted me the opportunity to not only learn more about other cultures but, to find the similarities and celebrate those together, unified in Paris.
Coming from an African country, I feel I had the privilege to view the city from a distanced perspective. I often find myself reflecting on the cultures of others, expanding my knowledge, and further trying to introduce, and explore my own identity as a South African in the Parisian landscape.