Understanding the Forward-thinking Dutch Fashion Industry

By: Muchaneta Kapfunde


When one thinks of the Netherlands, ‘fashion’ is not one of the first words that comes to mind, which in my opinion, makes the Dutch fashion industry a hidden gem of sorts.

Conceptual, innovative, open-minded and pragmatic, these laudable traits have led to the industry flourishing and gaining much deserved global recognition.

Divided into three parts, the Dutch fashion industry represents homegrown talent like Iris van Herpen, Anouk Wipprecht and Pauline van Dongen, who are successfully fusing fashion and technology in a way innovative way. It also represents brands like SuperTrash, Scotch & Soda, Claudia Sträter and Viktor & Rolf. The third part, are the designers working on the cusp of fashion. They are influencers Marina Toeters and Aniela Hoitink, who have gained the respect of the industry, because they are finding new ways of using sustainable and technological solutions that will better the fashion industry ecologically.

Besides those who have made a name for themselves, there are those who are yet to have their name whispered by the industry. They usually can be found attending one of the seven top fashion academies changing the landscape of the global fashion industry. Schools like Arnhem Fashion Design are not only giving students access to state-of-the art educational facilities, they are also spawning a generation of well-educated and forward-thinking young conceptualists. They are a breed of forward thinking designers, who focus on wearability and versatility, and are part of the innovation, technology and sustainable movements taking place within the Dutch fashion industry today.

As the Dutch take center stage, the Netherlands continues to build on its reputation of coming up with new ways to design fashion. So if you would like to immerse yourself in the rich traditions of Dutch fashion, then iamsterdam.com recommends that you attend the following:

Amsterdam Fashion Week

The foremost Dutch fashion event, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam(AFW) is held twice a year, in January and July. It’s the showcase for young, talented fashion designers. Besides the shows, there are plenty of impromptu events and parties downtown. They also host additional exhibitions and lectures that are open to the public.

Image: Overdose.am

Image: Overdose.am

Red Light Fashion District

One example of Amsterdam’s quirky fashion scene is an initiative called ‘Red Light Fashion’. Since 2008, several former prostitutes’ windows in De Wallen (Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District) have been transformed into exhibition spaces and studios for talented clothing, shoe and streetwear designers. The aim is to give the city’s many talented fashion designers a platform to display their creations in public.

Shopping Dutch

In compact Amsterdam you can get to know not only the up-and-coming Dutch designers, but also the renowned Dutch couturiers Frans Molenaar, Mart Visser, Viktor & Rolf, Percy Irausquin, Jan Taminiau, Sheila de Vries in the upmarket Cornelis Schuytstraat.

Image: Core77

Image: Core77

Fashion Focused Museums

Of course, you don’t have to shop to enjoy fashion. You can go to the Museum of Bags and Purses. Considered to be one of the top eight fashion museums in the world, it has the most comprehensive and specialized collection of bags from the late Middle Ages up to the present day. Once you’ve had your fill, head to the Hermitage Amsterdam for gorgeous antique ball gowns, uniforms and jewel-encrusted accessories.

Image: Traveladdicts

Image: Traveladdicts

This post is written by Muchaneta Kapfunde of FashNerd. You can tweet her at @FashNerdEditor.