Stepping into 2021 with DeMellier Women

At DeMellier, we always put women at the forefront. As we step into 2021, we’re taking the time to reflect and look forward to the year ahead through the eyes of four DeMellier women located across the world.
Meet Kelsey, Chainky, Mette and Rashmi and read about how their lives have been impacted by the events of the past year, the positive things they have learned from 2020, how their relationships with Fashion have evolved and their intentions for the year ahead.
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Kelsey, Amsterdam

Meet Kelsey, a young mother who relocated from the US to Amsterdam 10 years ago, and read her interview below where she gets real about the challenges of juggling working from home, family life, how she made it through 2020 thanks to her family, and is expecting a beautiful event in June.

Tell us a little bit about you...

I'm originally from the USA but I have lived in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the past 10 years. I work at the Heineken global headquarters as the HR Business Partner for Marketing & Sales and I absolutely love my job. My husband is Dutch and I have a wonderful 7 year old step-daughter, an energetic 3 year old daughter, and we are expecting a new baby at the end of June.

How have you been and how has your life been changed by all the events of this past year? What have you found the hardest?

It's the end of the year, which is always a busy time at work, but this year feels even more exhausting than usual. My husband and I have been working from home since March and this year has felt like one big blur of video calls and constant 'breaking news' - monotonous and tense at the same time. By the far most challenging part of this year has been when daycare is shut down and we were trying to manage our full-time jobs from home while also caring for our demanding toddler. My colleagues were very compassionate but I still felt embarrassed each time my daughter would interrupt a call and it was extremely difficult to focus. It felt like I was failing at work and at being a mother. It has also been challenging being so far apart from my family in the US with very little opportunities to see them. Luckily my family and I did not have health issues to add on top of this stress, so I am thankful for that.

What are the positive things you are taking from 2020?

The most positive thing I take from this year is the importance of family. My husband and I have essentially been sitting next to each other for months, day and night, dealing with this stress as a team and not fighting with each other. I have heard that many relationships were strained during this lockdown but I feel like we only came out stronger than before. I am also grateful for our children. They are so resilient, loving and always make us laugh.

What role has fashion played in your life this past year?

My wardrobe before COVID mainly consisted of classic workwear - pencil skirts, dresses with feminine silhouettes in neutral colors. Since I work from home now and am pregnant, my main focus is on comfort while still looking appropriate for video calls. I believe there is an up-and-coming market for formal tops paired with lounge pants :)

We have just stepped into a new year - what are your new year resolutions and plans?

I sincerely hope that the year ahead brings us a more normal year compared to 2020. I look forward to the birth of our new child and I hope that travel restrictions will end so that my family will be able to meet him/her. I don't really set resolutions but I do take time each year to set some goals I hope to achieve - how many books I want to read, how many places I want to visit, defining my next career step etc. But this year my main focus will be on allowing myself to 'switch off' from work once in a while. My husband and I are both workaholics and it is not uncommon for us to open our laptops in the evening and the weekend. I think we both need to get better at letting an email wait for Monday, for example, but working from home sometimes feels like we are actually living in our office. I'm sure having a newborn will be a good distraction for both of us!

The most positive thing I take from this year is the importance of family. I am also grateful for our children. They are so resilient, loving and always make us laugh.

Chainky, New York

Meet Chainky, a creative artist who grew up in Ghana and attended a boarding school next to an SOS Children’s Village where she spent her after-school free time volunteering. She is currently working and residing in upstate New York. Read Chainky’s interview on being an artist through the pandemic, and her plans for the future.

Tell us a little bit about you...

I am a full-time artist living and working in upstate New York.

How have you been and how has your life been changed by all the events of this past year? What have you found the hardest?

This past year has been particularly challenging, but I also had the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time working on art related work, which is very important to me, so for that, I am extremely grateful.

What are the positive things you are taking from 2020?

I have learnt to prioritize things that are important to me, like my family and friends, my health and my art practice.

What role has fashion played in your life this past year?

In addition to its strong relation to art and design, my interest in fashion stems from the idea that it can be used as an extension of the self and in a way allows me to signal what I find important through what I wear and how I choose to present myself. I find that this is still very true in 2021 and will be for the foreseeable future.

We had just stepped into a new year - what are your new year resolutions and plans?

I intend to continue working on strengthening my art practice. I also am working on letting go of the need to control everything in my life. If this past year has taught me anything, it is that anything can happen in ways one could not possibly foresee, and that has helped me let go of unnecessary anxiety and worrying.



Chainky via Instagram @chainkyr

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If this past year has taught me anything, it is that anything can happen in ways one could not possibly foresee, and that has helped me let go of unnecessary anxiety and worrying.

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Mette, Copenhagen

Meet Mette, a fashion-forward influencer and mother based in Copenhagen. Read her interview below where she opens up on how she feels about the past year and her plans for 2021, despite not having the typical new year’s resolutions.

Tell us a little bit about you...

I’m an influencer/creative mind, based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

How have you been and how has your life been changed by all the events of this past year? What have you found the hardest?

Overall I have been okay, but the freedom that we normally take for granted; to travel the world and go out when we like has been limited this last year. This has been an eye opener. Both because traveling the world is something I really look forward to and it connects us to each other - something you cannot replace with a webcast. What I find the hardest is seeing and hearing the tragedy of people losing their loved ones.

What are the positive things you are taking from 2020?

That we need each other more than we think and we are all connected when it comes to a global crisis. We need to take care and watch out for one another.

What role has fashion played in your life this past year?

Fashion has always been this extra spice added to my life everyday, but in the past year it has also been a way of manifesting some kind of normality when in fact I could stay in my tracksuit all day. Some days I like to dress up just to keep this feeling I love so much going.

We had just stepped into a new year - what are your new year resolutions and plans?

I never do resolutions, I don’t believe in them, but I believe in setting daily and weekly goals. I plan to make some career changes for the next year to come.



Mette via Instagram @msorrig

We need each other more than we think and we’re all connected when it comes to a global crisis. We need to take care and watch out for one another.

Rashmi, Singapore

Finally, meet Rashmi; a proud mother of 2 working in the tech industry in Singapore. She unfolds her story on being away from her family, learning new skills and sharing her take on the future of women in the industry.

Tell us a little bit about you...

I live in Singapore with my two children, husband and dog.

How have you been and how has your life been changed by all the events this past year? What have you found the hardest?

Being away from my family in America, especially as so many unsettling events unfold, has been the hardest.

What are the positive things you are taking from 2020?

I work in a technology industry where continuous up-skilling is a must, but is difficult to do in a normal year. So I used part of the unusual time in 2020 to take courses in AI and data analytics. These fields need more women, and I am excited to put these new skills to work.

What role has fashion played in your life this past year?

Fashion is a wonderful tool to help women feel powerful. That hasn’t changed for me, but the style of clothes that make me feel empowered has. As I’ve been forced to prioritise, simplify and grow more comfortable in my own skin, I find myself drawn to rich colours, clean lines and designs that balance comfort and beauty.

We had just stepped into a new year - what are your new year resolutions and plans?

I’d like to encourage more women to join technology fields, even if their traditional career or educational backgrounds don’t seem like the perfect fit. Having learned to code for the first time last year, I can attest that it’s never too late. And diverse perspectives in tech are so needed!

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As I prioritise, simplify and grow more comfortable in my own skin, I find myself drawn to rich colours, clean lines and designs that balance comfort and beauty.