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Smart Austerity

Another notch in the award belt for emerging fashion designer Elsien Gringhuis. This time, two outfits from her new collection ‘One of These Days’ earned her first prize in The Green Fashion Competition announced at last week’s Amsterdam International Fashion Week.

By Jeanne Tan / 03-02-2011

Since graduating in 2008 from ArtEz Academy of the Arts, it’s been onwards and upwards for young Dutch fashion designer Elsien Gringhuis. In 2008, she won the Createurope award for ‘Best Avantgarde Designer’ in Berlin, the Camera Nazionale della Moda award for ‘most creative collection of the year’, Mittelmoda, Italy and the top prize for the HEMA design contest for her sustainable raincoat. She was also a nominee for the Frans Molenaar Fashion Award 2008. 

Last week, Gringhuis was awarded top honours in a new prize organised as part of Amsterdam International Fashion Week: The Green Fashion Competition. Two of Gringhuis’ outfits (last two images) from her new collection ‘One of These Days’ accompanied by a business plan outlining a sustainability strategy secured her the top prize of €25,000. Second prize of €15,000 was awarded to Dutch label OAT with their biodegradable shoes.

Each of the eight finalists presented their two outfits on the catwalk last week during Amsterdam International Fashion Week. The jury comprised sustainable fashion pioneer Tony Tonnaer (Kings or Indigo), publisher and fashion journalist Georgette Koning (NRCHandelsblad,, Senior Banker Manolo Marquez (ABN AMRO), sustainability expert Wijnand Broer (CREM), international supermodel and founder of Organice Your Life Lonneke Engel and Paul Vetter of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The competition was organized by Amsterdam International Fashion Week and the Dutch ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) in honour of the international Year of Biodiversity.

In a separate show, Gringhuis’ launched her new 2011-2012 collection entitled ‘One of These Days’. Taking inspiration from the Dutch countryside, the collection comprising 18 looks impressed with its smart cuts and ethereal colours. Key elements to this collection reflect the linearity of the horizon and countryside, the movement of the wind and the muted colours of the landscape. Rigid outfits are contrasted with flowing pieces suggesting billowing Dutch clouds and the ever-present wind. Minimalist black and white pieces kicked off the show developing into an ominuous but luminous storm grey. Luscious greens of the meadows followed finishing off with gorgeous blues of the sky and water. The progression and nuances of colour, in particular the final outfit, brought to mind the changing Dutch light which can alter the perception of the landscape in an instant.

Patterns are cut from few elements to minimize waste. Fabrics used include hand-dyed silks, bamboo, wool and cotton, often with an eco-approved and/or fair trade label. Gringhuis’ signature smart simplicity combined with a chic austerity will soon take the young designer, one of these days, far in her fashion odyssey.

Click on the images to enlarge

Photography: Team Peter Stigter

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