A shaded view on the Contemporary Fashion Days
Belgian fashion designers selling their stock is nothing new under the sun. In addition to every known designer in Belgium it’s very common for multi brand stores, institutes and jewelry artists to present their collections as well or at least in Antwerp. Showrooms, pop up stores, and desolated premises are filled with clothes and accessories dating from a few years ago. It takes five seconds to download the iphone application made by the Flanders Fashion Institute and a lot of patience to find the right AF Vandevorst jacket. But it sincerely is worth the wait. Also, be on time!
Actions speak louder than words so I checked out the Contemporary Fashion Days hosted on Wednesday, the 24th of April. FFI hosted an opening evening showing off 14 designers, each of them displaying a wide ranch of previous collections. There were sunglasses, a lot of shoes, drinks, colorful dresses and fashionable people involved. This year the location hunting went smooth; Huis Happaert made an excellent host for Agathe et ses princes, Atelier Assemblé, AVe, Binôche, C'est quoi la vie?, Clinch, Ellen Verbeek, Elles de Koe, Frankly by Annelies Braeckman, jodevisscher, Juliette Bogers, Karolien Verstraeten, Natacha Cadonici and Van Hongo.
It was FFI who selected the designers. Most of them lack a place and financial resources to organize an event like this, giving them this opportunity FFI confirms the need of structural back-up in fashion. Back to the event: based on the space artists need, you could find them throughout the whole building. Ellen Verbeek spread shoes all over the first floor and was able to captivate every shoe lover. FFI project manager Jasmijn Verlinden couldn’t resist to grab a shiny silver pair of sandals and the writer herself had to suppress every burst of buy sickness. Nevertheless, splendid evening. The next day I hit the streets of Antwerp to find myself some new old goodies made by Antwerp finest. Below you can hit upon a modest guide to the Contemporary Fashion Days.
Lessons in shopping designer stock:
1. How does it work?
Two times a year Dries Van Noten carefully selects a date in collaboration with other well-known designers and the Flanders Fashion Insitute. In the spring and fall fashion houses sell their stock for 4 days. At different places all over Antwerp you can find them settled in their workspaces or big venues. Location is important! Because the audience usually tries to see a lot of different designers there’s no use in showcasing your collection 50 miles out of Antwerp.
2. Who’s in?
The Contemporary Fashion Days, as it is called officially, involves quite a lot of designers. You can find a list on the website of Flanders Fashion Institute (FFI) or, and here’s a turn of events, you can download the application. Which is, spoken like a true smartphone nitwit, the best thing ever happened to fashion amateurs. The idea is very simple: FFI puts the location, date and time of the designer’s online, subsequently one can see how to get there as quickly as possible and since FFI added a newsfeed tool as well, the user might find out when’s the best time to go. As I said before: best app ever!
3. What to expect?
Dries Van Noten almost has a football field full of ready to wear material. The bigger the label, the more you can find, the larger the row, for a nice pair of DVN shoes so lessons in combat fighting seem appropriate. Smaller labels don’t tend to have that problem. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean their collection pieces are less superb. Some nice pair of shoes properly selected from a yet unknown artist’s collection is the summit of every apparel geek.
Missed it? Check out the website of Flanders Fashion Institute for next season’s finale.
Text by Joke Tourné.
Pics by Fille Roelants.