Julia Ballardt and Nico Verhaegen graduated from the legendary Antwerp Fashion MA. Counting Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester as their spiritual forefathers, it is no wonder that the duo’s work under the moniker ‘Milk of Lime’ is poetic and darkly romantic.

In a sweet little country home where the pair grow their own flowers and produce, the designers have created a safe haven to work on artistic projects at their own pace. Choosing to limit their runway presentations to once a year, the rest of their time is spent working on cultural projects – like an ongoing collaboration with contemporary dance choreographer Michiel Vandevelde.

A recurring theme for Milk of Lime is exposing the process behind their craftsmanship. This was best expressed in a grey linen sheath dress crafted out of the ‘start of bolt’ – the first couple of metres on a roll of fabric that are usually discarded. Elsewhere in the collection, tied collar details found on silk shirts and leather jackets are inspired by the Shibori dyeing technique used throughout the collection. words by Robin Burggraaf

Photography Marius Knieling @mariusknieling
Photography assistant Leon Grunau @leon_grunau
Styling + AD Hauke Stark @haukestark
Styling assistant Lucia Hommel @luciahommel
Hair and makeup Carolin Jarchow @carolinjarchow
Muses Tatiana @tatianachechetova via @m4models; Sarah @sarah.batt via @vivamodelsberlin
Casting Neu Casting @neu_casting
Protecphotography Eliot Leblanc-Hartmann
Photography Assistant Renaud Labelle
Style Alia Aluli
Style Assistant Mélanie Vassr
Video Anna Prokulevich
Video Assistant Felipe Arias Vasquez
Makeup Yoriko Fujita
Hair Salome Narolles
Production Paramour Production
Set Design Alice Jacobs
Set Design Assistant Noémie Attia
Sculptures Supersurface
Casting Alia Aluli

A sentient story starring Rocky and the moon

Photographer: Ismael Moumin
Model: Rocky Tuzava
Agency: Run Model management
Styling: Johanna Bouvier
Assistance: Eva Weinkoetz & Viktoria Ballardt

Photography: Shahin Hefter
Talent: Luis Schiefer From Louisa Models
Hair & Make-Up: Nickolas De Oliveira
Videography: Gilles Bluhm
Cut & Grading: Julian Belli
Photography Assistant: Frederic Hermann
Styling Assistant: Noah Sumpf
Song: Fate – Boy Harsher


Talent Talks: Milk of Lime New Order of Fashion (NOoF)

Consciously far from trending streams, Milk of Lime seeks to give renaissance to hidden treasures and long forgotten references of its closest surroundings, which are in rural Germany and Belgium. NOoF invited Milk of Lime to visit Sterksel for a Botanical Dying Residency.

We thank botanical dying experts Karin Waag and René van Eersel for their generosity and hospitality.

Post-Internet Life SLEEK

Photography: Osman Özel @ Shotview Management

Creative Direction: Osman Özel & Lorenzo L Pradelli

Styling: Joana Zibat

As featured in SLEEK 78 – BLISS. Available in print and digital here.


In a season of this much industry-driven shifts, it’s certainly no mean feat to break out and become the next big hit. The result is that, with an increasingly commonplace pace, designers are tasked with creating stories (read: old) threads into pioneering visions. But for Milk of Lime’s Julia Ballardt and Nico Verhaegen, crafting garments for next Spring was a simply straight-to-the-point affair: reinterpreting the classics through natural fibres, unfolding their “loneliness”—a pulsating thread weaved across the lineup staged at the Zeiss Major Planetarium, as both creatives come from the countryside—and bringing forth a spectrum of neutrals that brought novelty to the surface textile treatments. Rounded shoulders, undulating necklines and flounced hemlines were the type of go-to details that felt fresh and contemporary, in line with the subtly provocative undertone punctuated by see-through garments. Silhouettes were sheer-yet-see-through enough to defy all manner of basics: because unlike other artistic minds on a hot pursuit to contend with the archives, this alumnus of Givenchy has considerable freedom to define his identity without the pressure of historical underpinnings. words by Chidozie Obasi

GLAMCULT meets Milk of Lime  GLAMCULT

Clothes for someone who ‘goes to hardcore concerts but is also a wine-maker’: A newcomer to the fashion scene that possess wisdom way beyond its years, Milk of Lime is the enigmatic brand you should put on your radar. Finding solace in a far-flung town in South-West Germany, Julia Ballardt’s and Nico Verhaegen’s biggest muse is their natural surroundings – and the organically occurring oddities that inform their spellbinding graphics, colour palettes, and confident silhouettes. The brand finds its own grounding beyond the standard practices of the fashion industry, by honouring and surrendering to nature, which is seen in their special drops every full moon. Weaving poetry into each of their pieces, Milk of Lime’s designer language is astute and moves at its own pace – calmly yet fiercely, resembling natural forces themselves. In light of July’s full moon, we spoke to the artists about nurturing their young brand from the ground, sustainability as a buzzword, and their biggest-to-date upcoming show in Berlin. Words by Evita Shrestha

Swarovski “Creatives For Our Future” Fashion Council GermanySwarovski Foundation

Swarovski Foundation Creatives for Our Future is a global mentorship and grant program designed with advisor the United Nations Office for Partnerships to identify and accelerate the next generation of creative leaders in sustainable development.

FCG Showroom @ Seek tradeshow Berlin Premium Berlin
HI FROM EARTH Market @ SOHO House Berlin 23/04/23

“Say hi to Earth next Sunday, April 23rd at Soho House Berlin For me, sustainability at its core ultimately comes down to interconnection – between us and the planet but also between us as humans. For this year‘s Earth Day I have curated a market at Soho House Berlin with kindred artists and designers who are creating the most wonderful things with mindfulness at the heart of their practice.” – Marie Wez

Berlin Contemporary Competition Winner Fashion Council Germany, Fashion Week Berlin

“We are pleased to announce the winners for the current edition of the BFW concept competition. Our jury of experts, consisting of renown fashion professionals, chose 18 winners in the category „Berlin Contemporary” to be awarded with 25.000€ each. The winners are: Acceptance Letter Studio, Esther Perbandt, Fassbender, Haderlump Atelier Berlin, LML Studio, Milk of Lime, Namilia, ODEEH, Olivia Ballard, RIANNA + NINA, Richert Beil, Sia Arnika, SF1OG and William Fan.” – Fashion Council Germany

The competition is funded by the state of Berlin and EFRE funds.


Fashion Council Germany, in partnership with the Swarovski Foundation and The Prince’s Foundation, is committed to nurturing young fashion and textile designers by providing young graduates with a tailored programme in sustainability, craftsmanship and innovation .

The Fashion Council Germany’s mission is to create more awareness for sustainable practices and to promote new emerging talents through initiatives and projects like the Rising Voices Award. This new project, initiated by the Fashion Council Germany in collaboration with UGG®, aims to support, motivate and promote the next generation of emerging German designers who are committed to a more sustainable future for the fashion industry and whose vision and DNA embody the bold, expressive nature of UGG®.

Archive PDF article – Designer Showcase: Milk of Lime Instagram

Milk of Lime (@milk_of_lime) showcases a new perspective towards sustainability in the fashion world, as co-founders Julia Ballardt & Nico Verhaegen bring forward a farm-to-table mentality to the processes of material sourcing and garment manufacturing. Ballardt and Verhaegen are both alumni of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, as they both received a Masters in Fashion and Apparel Design in 2020. Their approach to craftsmanship, pattern cutting, and fabric manipulation are a strong representation of their studies and surroundings, as they seek to unite contemporary designs with their communities of rural Germany and Belgium. The two main pillars of Milk and Lime are durable materials and craftsmanship, with the core foundation of the brand being bespoke creations and one-of-ones. The goal is to introduce and maintain sustainable fashion processes, and this is evident through their material sourcing. Ballardt & Verhaegen focus directly on finding deadstock, recycled leather, tencel, and scraps in their local communities. In return, the garments created contain significant properties of natural materials that have longevity, comfort, and health impacts that aren’t synthetic. Ballardt & Verhaegen are genuinely redefining the properties and approaches of sustainability in fashion.

One of the more interesting components of Milk of Lime is their refusal to follow the traditional fashion calendar of seasonal rollouts & releases. Instead, they release products based on the farmer’s moon calendar. So every full moon, new items are released and available for 24 hours. The goal is to avoid overproduction and only produce the exact amount of garments purchased within that allocated time period. While one might question this approach with immense skepticism, I personally love every aspect of Milk of Lime and their product release procedures. While major brands utilize hype and artificial scarcity to promote their new collections, Milk of Lime is actually producing scarce garments with scarce materials. It’s a breath of needed fresh air to an oversaturated fashion industry.

Writer: @artvanstanza