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Dutch Fashion Travels East

Dutch Fashion Here & Now recently travelled to Will’s India Fashion Week in New Delhi, taking with it a number of Dutch fashion designers.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 18-10-2012

Among the designers involved in the Indian equivalent of Fashion Week, were couture designer Jan Taminiau and street-style brand *DIED*. spoke to Karlijn Bozon of HTNK – one of the initiators of Dutch Fashion Here & Now – about the experiences of the Dutch designers in india.

Can you tell us a little about Dutch Fashion Here & Now, what was the purpose of this trip?

“Through the projects we hope to bridge the gaps between the various continents by offering a platform to exchange knowledge, create networks and allow opportunity development. We aim to show the ‘best practices’ of the Netherlands, from the academies to industry and through them build a strong network.”

There have been many trips by Dutch designers to Asia and India especially lately, why is this country so important for market growth?

“The Netherlands and India have had strong ties in production for many years. Thanks to more lenient laws concerning retail, new opportunities are opening up for Dutch fashion businesses. That is why the Amsterdam Indigo Embassy is involved – a platform for knowledge about the jeans industry initiated by House of Denim.”

Before and during Will’s Fashion Week, the Dutch designers got a chance to work together with their Indian counterparts. Bollywood’s favourite designer Suneet Varma teamed up with Jan Taminiau and Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna were matched to *DIED*.

How were the Dutch designers chosen to come on this trip? What is there connection with Indian fashion?

“Both Dutch fashion designers already had a connection to India thanks to their production lines. Moreover, we found that they each offer a different view on Dutch fashion yet both have a signature which would be well-received by the Indian consumer.”

How successful were the designer collaborations?

“There were a few bumps in the road but Taminiau and Varma have a lot of potential as a team. We expect the two designers to begin a fruitful collaboration as we noticed the interest for Varma’s specialized embroidery workshop and the way they seemed to profit from each others techniques (Jan Taminiau’s construction work and Suneet Varma’s draping).”

Both with a street-style attitude, *DIED* and Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna presented “a mix of modern styles” according to Diederik Verbakel of the Dutch brand. Each piece was entirely handmade, featuring rich materials that were flocked, covered in sequins or foil printed. Architectural silhouettes played with light and shadow in a collection entirely built on blacks and metallics.

The more luxury side of fashion was occupied by Jan Taminiau and Suneet Varma who played with embroidery techniques and construction, creating a feminine collection with exaggerated silhouettes. Indian and Dutch heritage was combined with a more sober denim creating an exciting play of materials.

Dutch Fashion Here & Now at India fashion week was the first in a two-year partnership between HTNK’s Fashion Incubator foundation and Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI). In 2013 we can expect a delegation from India in our fashion capital which could mean the start of a long partnership between the two countries.

In addition to the designer collaborations and as part of DFH&N, the Amsterdam Indigo Embassy hosted a series of workshops by make-up artist Ellis Faas, photographers of Team Peter Stigter and soundtrack designers StarStuddedStudios. This denim-oriented organization aims to show the potential of Dutch companies within the worldwide market.

Main image: Finale with all the designers
Other images: 1.-3. *DIED*, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna 4.-6. Jan Taminiau and Suneet Varma

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