Chantel, Eleanor and Angelique Koning along with their mother, Lydia Koning, are the brain trust behind YouMeeWee. The label was founded 7 years ago in London by Chantel. She took a chance on herself and leased a studio in Hackney Wick and a retail space in Spitalfields Market. With no knowledge of how to sew was compensated by her incredible design eye. On her first day in the market, she sold out in 2 hours. In 2012, her mother and her sisters followed suit by marketing the label in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Chantel was born and raised. It is the brand belief and ethos that in the creation of each YouMeeWee design, there are countless ways to wear each piece. All you need to have is a little creativity. If you were sitting with Chantel today, she would say to all the modern day nomads in regard to her collection, “there is always more ways than one.”
One evening, I decided to wonder down to Spitalfields Market. It was a familiar place that I had been before with my brother. This was my very first outing in London to scout designers, so I thought I would start with what I knew. It was a cold night and I needed to steal away somewhere warm as I walked the surrounding streets of Spitalfields (pictured above). I walked into the market and directly into Chantel. She was this very cool, edgy, bohemian, tiny woman that immediately stole my heart with her infectious personality. I poked around her cart and found some of the most interesting pieces, but she was a local celebrity. Other customers were pulling and tugging at her and very unapologetically interrupting our conversation. I was patient because I knew good things came to those who wait… and I was right. I grabbed several pieces, she only took cash, so I longingly looked at my brother with my hand out for some cash and was on my way with some cool new threads and a business card. I will never forget Chantel as the really cool South African designer that taught herself how to sew watching YouTube videos.