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Droog debuts Dutch fashion in New York

Get ready America. Droog brings Dutch fashion labels to NYC, including Corné Gabriëls, Pascale Gatzen, Gluejeans, Painted, orson + bodil and Jan Taminiau.

By No author / 16-12-2009

Observers may think of Droog as setting fashions in the world of product and furniture design. But now the Amsterdam-based maker, distributor, and all-around creative laboratory is embracing fashion in substance as much as mindset.

Last Wednesday Renny Ramakers was on hand at the Droog New York store to launch garments made by Dutch fashion houses especially for Droog. Some of the items — by Corné Gabriëls, Pascale Gatzen, Gluejeans, Painted, orson + bodil, and Jan Taminiau — are already available at Droog’s store in Amsterdam. But most names are unfamiliar to consumers in the U.S. “I noticed that I could not find Dutch fashion in New York, except for Victor & Rolf,” Ramakers says of her decision to tap these specific talents. “Besides, I wanted to broaden the range of products in our store with fashion, and with books and items connected to architecture like the Lace Fence by Demakersvan.”

The fashion designers were not directed to Droog-ify their work. In fact, they were given no brief at all. “I know they are good, and that their work reflects the Droog spirit,” Ramakers says.

Although the garments range from mass-produced affordability to limited-edition prices, they hem to several familiar themes. Elevating everyday materials to preciousness is one example. Jan Taminiau, who has run his eponymous label since 2004, presented a pantsuit made entirely from used Dutch mailbags. The brown, textured material used in this meticulously tailored pairing may not immediately announce recycled status, especially to American onlookers. But there are visible hints of it, such as red, white, and blue banding around the waistline of the jacket, and old printing near the pant hem.

Gluejeans, meanwhile, showed off glued denim products. The partnership between Gerrit Uittenbogaard and Natasja Martens substitutes stitches for stickiness, transforming the glueing process into an artform rather than a quick fix. And as a series of duotone jackets demonstrated, the move makes for reversible clothing, too.

Uittenbogaard and Marten’s deftness with glue tools underscores the new Droog fashions’ almost unanimous celebration of artisanal ability, and the melding of craft and industrial process. Embroidered wrist cuffs by Orson + Bodil could have been the product of Hella Jongerius’s imagination, for example, if they had not been dreamed up by brand founder Alexander van Slobbe. Thread laced through the perforated silver field resembles geometric patterns and botanical shapes. Van Slobbe also featured scarves that comprise wool, silk, linen, and cotton, and which treat the multiple materials discretely.

For painstaking handwork, also consider Painted. A series of women’s tops, as well as beaded belts and necklaces, show off the labor-intensive approach of designers Desirée Hammen, Margreet Sweerts, and Saskia van Drimmelen: Known as “attire in progress,” a nascent piece travels between each member of this trio, who contribute to that item’s creative conception, and it then goes to Bulgarian artisans for execution. Pascale Gatzen’s six cotton-and-silk garments are also the result of wider collaborations. And the work itself is a partnership between ornament and field, with basketweave squares applied seemingly randomly to tank tops and jeans.

Indeed, if Droog and the Dutch design movement it fostered is known for anything, it would be adornment. And the designers selected for the Droog New York fashion launch embellish cleverly. Corné Gabriëls, who produces a couture collection annually as well as a continuously updated accessories line, melded the two exercises for Droog. Gabriëls offered up swaths of fabric that, when pinned to a shirt, appear as if that foundation had suddenly donned a handkerchief-filled breast pocket. And expansive scarves, draped around the neck just so, clad the wearer in a trompe l’oeil bowtie or vest.

Ramakers says Droog may expand this sartorial initiative, depending on consumer reaction in New York.

Main image: Gluejeans by G+N, photography:
Image: Press stud earrings, Jan Taminiau
Image: Painted
Image: Shorts, Pascale Gatzen
Image: Corné Gabriëls

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