Rein Vollenga

Text JF. Pierets    Photos Jonas Lindström


You can call it ‘wearable sculpture’, if you really want to give it a name. Those who would like to look outside the box a bit might see an attractive work of art, dark yet extremely seductive. Whether he is a sculptor or a milliner, Rein Vollenga is a creative artist first and foremost, with a positive outlook on life and a healthy attitude towards success. 


What triggers you to make such unique wearable sculpture headpieces?
From an early age, I love making objects and working with my hands. It surprises me and gives me satisfaction every day. This is the main reason why I create. My work is about fantasy and ambiguity and I hope to evoke something in the viewer’s mind that will trigger their imagination. Either good or bad.

From where do you draw your inspiration?
I collect objects in my immediate surroundings. I browse in supermarkets, party stores and I find things on the streets. I’m highly fascinated by objects that are mass-produced and have an organic or physical aesthetic like mannequins, packaging, car parts et cetera. Furthermore I’m interested in traditional craftsmanship. I love visiting museums of ancient, classical and primitive art. It’s great to see objects that have been made with love and dedication.

You moved to Berlin. How does the city influence your work?
I am very fortunate to live in a beautiful city full of history and art and to be surrounded by many creative an inspiring people like artists, musician performers and all kinds of free spirits. I have a lot of opportunities to experiment, collaborate and explore my creativity. Besides, as a gay man I don’t feel judged for my looks and sexuality. In Berlin I can be whoever I want to be.

You are an artist, also working in fashion. How do you combine those two?
There is no difference between the two in how I approach my work. The origin of my craft is sculpture. I just see art and fashion as different platforms to show my work. Because I don’t dismiss any platform, I can show my work in museums and galleries, in music videos, on the catwalk and on the internet. This gives me the opportunity to reach people who don’t visit the – sometimes bourgeois and elitist – galleries and museums. It makes my work available to everyone. As art should be.

I read in an interview that you find it very important to be true to yourself and others. Can you elaborate?
Just be dedicated to what you genuinely love to do in life, and don’t talk bullshit. It is hard to pursue a career in art. As a young artist you might not be appreciated immediately. My advice is to work hard. This will be rewarded in the long run. People love to make a lot of fuss about nothing these days. Check the celebrity pages for instance. People are famous for being famous. Isn’t that hollow and sad? I would rather be recognized and appreciated for what I do.


‘Be dedicated to what you genuinely love to do in life, and don’t talk bullshit. My advice is to work hard. This will be rewarded in the long run.’

On your website you have two different categories: ‘sculpture’ and ‘wearable’. Do ‘ordinary’ people actually wear your creations and who are your main customers?
Ordinary is not in my dictionary. I create unique pieces so I mainly work on special projects with fashion brands, performance artists and musicians.

Do you ever think of designing clothes?
Not really, but this might be something for the future. I can imagine a collaboration with a fashion house. To create some ready-to-wear limited editions in the future. I’m mainly interested in the theatrical part of fashion shows.

Your work has a dark, hedonistic and fetishistic feel to it. Is that your aim or just my imagination?
No, that is not my aim but just your naughty imagination I guess. But I think you refer to the slick and glossy finish of my works. I do understand what you mean with the dark hedonistic and fetishistic feel but this only implicates what fashion presumes a fetish to be. Here’s what the dictionary says: ‘any object or non-genital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.’

Your headpieces are – in my opinion – genderless. Is that a conscious choice?
Yes, I don’t create pieces for a specific gender. I create my objects as an extension of the human body.

You once said that you make a piece almost every day. Is this still the case and how do you keep up?
Yes I still do. I work on several projects a day. But since the making of a sculpture has many stages, there’s always something to do. It might sound obsessive but it all comes natural to me.

You had numerous collaborations with people like Mugler, Lady Gaga, Johnny Woo, etc. and you have been featured in Dazed and Confused, I-D, Interview and many other magazines. Any future dreams?
Yes! I would love to create stage designs and costumes for opera, ballet or contemporary dance in the future.

Related articles

Lebogang Mokgoko

I think I represent a new wave of creators. We’ve been exposed to the internet, grew up listening to Kanye West, so obviously we’re going to adapt that whole theory of multidiscipline as opposed to doing only one thing. On paper I studied design…..

read more

Bernhard Willhelm

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles presents the first American museum exhibition of the work of fashion designers Bernhard Willhelm and Jutta Kraus. Bernhard Willhelm 3000: When Fashion Shows The Danger Then Fashion Is The Danger…..

read more

Peter Popps

Highly experienced shoe professional, Peter Popps, recently released his own amazing line of shoes. As we speak, Lady Gaga is wearing Peter’s CUBE creation during the shoot for ‘ARTPOP’ by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. An interview…..

read more

Paul Boudens

Originally, Paul Boudens wanted to become a fashion designer when he first set foot in Antwerp. Yet fate decided differently (he flunked his entrance exam) and nowadays he’s one of the most wanted graphic designers working together with the…..

read more

Pierre Garroudi

His intricate designs merge the lines between art & fashion and have been worn by some of the world’s biggest style icons from Naomi Campbell to Kate Moss, Scarlet Johansson and Sarah Jessica Parker. He walks the streets of London with his…..

read more

Niels Peeraer

“I’m confused, I’m sitting here on the sofa, the heart my boyfriend drew on the mirror is still there, my heart in a rice cooker. I think I’ll marry him again at lunch. My cat is sleeping but it’s already been 4 days. Well, I have to go to the supermarket…..

read more

Clare Whittingham

Some describe her work as being “darkly comic, satirical and empowering” but since she commissioned a piece for Lady Gaga, her work has become metalwork must-haves. In between art and fashion, she transforms scrap metal into wearable…..

read more




Et Alors? magazine. A global celebration of diversity.