Dutch born Canadian designer Jennifer Kappler has continuously taken inspiration from the important people in her life and their passions. She was introduced to embroidery under the precise eyes of her grandmother at age six and fell in love with the feel of high-quality European fabrics during her extensive travels.
After touring textile mills and observing heirloom lace production in Spain and Portugal, she studied with Vancouver Community College’s Fashion Arts program and graduated as valedictorian. She dedicated her graduation collection to her mother, who had recently beat her battle with breast cancer. The collection reflected this struggle with softer silks in dusty rose pink paired against stronger fabrics such as ultra suede and wool, as well as a juxtaposition between flowing silhouettes and tailored pieces.
Since then, Kappler has continued her studies throughout Europe and the United States. She studied at Scuola di Ricamo Alta Moda, an haute couture embroidery school in Rome, as well as with Hand & Lock from London. Then, she returned to Vancouver after studying with renowned bespoke tailor Thomas von Nordheim who worked on the costuming for Phantom Thread, which turned out to be an award-winning wardrobe.
The name of her label, de volk & gosche, comes from the maiden names of her two grandmothers: de volk means “for people” and gosche means “cheeky” or “left of center”. Really, the name could not describe the style of her clothing any better – de volk & gosche creations are for those who present as “out of the ordinary”.
Since founding de volk & gosche, Kappler has participated in designer shows to bring awareness to mental health and addiction, marginalized youth in her community and people living with AIDS through the BRILLIANT, SHINE, Little Black Dress Gala and RED organizations. In 2019, she hosted her own afternoon Pink Champagne Gala in partnership with the Breast Cancer Society of Canada to celebrate those who have persevered over their breast cancer journeys as well.
As a designer extremely aware of the impact that fast-fashion has on the planet, Kappler strives to design for the individual client in an effort to reduce the amount of unused and unworn textiles entering landfills. Instead of producing garments in large quantities, Kappler custom tailors her designs to individual bodies, ensuring a more flattering fit.
While she admits that purchasing clothing in this fashion is rare and may deter those that are used to buying off the rack in stores, Kappler believes that personalized attention to detail and the experience of having clothing that’s made-to-measure is well worth the price tag.
On top of her work with de volk & gosche, Kappler designs for children under her gingerbugZ label which boasts a collection of cutely-patterned clothing with a European feel in luxury fabrics. And of course, everything is made to eventually become an heirloom.