By Raoul Martin

Meet Raoul

Raoul Martin Fashion Designer

Powerful women have shaped me into who I am. They have always played an important role in my life. As a young boy, I enjoyed dressing up my sister's dolls, my mother made sure I left home well-dressed, and later, the love of my life became a bomb of inspiration.

Growing up in Maastricht, I came into contact with numerous people and cultures that inspired and influenced me. This sparked an interest in the world around me and a love for nature, history, poetry, music, and literature.

My love for unique women shapes my collections and designs. This is the foundation of all my creations.

authentic and confident

This is my story

Maastricht. The city of my childhood and youth. The city where I studied at the art academy. Within my family, French influences prevailed, especially on my father’s side. I was often asked by my peers about the origin of my name. I found it intriguing that I didn’t know where it actually came from. Until in 2020, I finally discovered that my origin lies with the Normans and that the name Martin has its own history. The Normans, led by Ragnar, wandered to England and France. My name derives from Martinus.

Introduction to art
In primary school, I was first introduced to art. A teacher, who was also a poet, let me listen to a classical piece of music and then allowed me to draw my interpretation of this music with a white pencil on black paper. This deeply moved me.

I was that boy who was slightly different: I walked around with a beautifully embroidered vest from Persia and a slant-cut fringe. I never played football, but I kept myself busy for hours in my own created world of cowboys, castles, and farms. Looking back now, I realize that I was already engaged in creating and designing. I also enjoyed going to the natural history museum, the Bonnefantenmuseum, where I would borrow books and read them for hours in bed.

Art history
My love for art developed during my high school years. I got introduced to art history, and that was really my thing. During this period, I also started dressing up my sister’s dolls more and went shopping for clothes with my mother. My parents asked for my advice in styling their interior, and I made sure that beautiful prints and paintings adorned the walls. It was during this time that my attention turned to women’s fashion and jewelry. Secretly, I had always been fascinated by how women looked, those elegant shapes, not yet aware of what I should do with this fascination.

My own creative path
I worked on my creativity independently. I enjoyed painting nude portraits and making drawings, which I took to an artist to have my work evaluated. “You have talent!” said the artist, and that’s how I continued on my creative path.

When I had to choose a new education, there was no doubt for me: I enrolled in the Academy of Applied Arts, specializing in fashion design. During these years, I was searching for my own style, my own vision. In my final year, I developed stockings for women of all kinds. They were a great success, which further shaped my love for unique women’s fashion and gave more direction to my search.

Further into the fashion field
After graduating, I founded the design studio “Studio Raoul Martin” with the goal of selling patterns. Here, I developed my own fashion handwriting, which still characterizes and distinguishes me today. After some personal developments, I decided to stop this venture. Above all, I met the love of my life, and we moved together to ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Tiles and leaves
The most beautiful moments arise when you least expect them. I met someone with a background in marketing. After sharing some ideas, I decided to start my own label: Raoul In the winter of 2019, I presented my very first collection “Tiles and leaves,” which I had the pleasure of selling in beautiful fashion boutiques in the Netherlands. The knits were received and sold with great enthusiasm.

Full circle
My inspiration for fashion comes from my life journey: from that little boy in Persian embroidered clothes to adult designs with life experience. Different sources provide much inspiration, which at first glance may seem unrelated. It is precisely this diversity that results in the most creative inspiration.

The organic lines and forms of nature, my biggest source of inspiration, frequently appear in my pattern designs. The Middle Ages also serve as a huge pool of inspiration, likely due to the heraldry and mystique of that time. My preference for vibrant use of color, architecture, and high-quality fabrics can be explained by my admiration for the Italian Renaissance. History is art. Art is history.

Raoul Martin