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More on student fashion shows 2013

Two more graduate fashion shows come you way this week including the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and School of the Arts Utrecht and we’re left wondering, why is there no official graduate fashion week?

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 20-06-2013

For the third year in a row, the industrial hall of the Zijdebalen in Utrecht formed the backdrop for the School of the Arts Utrecht (HKU) yearly graduate fashion show. 

The school, which showed its graduate fashion show on 13 July this year, had a strong focus on menswear. Head of fashion Wim Ewals stated: “It’s a noticeable trend that we are seeing at other fashion schools across the Netherlands.” Indeed, that same day reported on the strong presence of menswear at the WDKA fashion show.

At HKU still 75 percent of students focus on womenswear, such as Aniel Algoe, whose collection named New Ethnic Dutch is a research into the influence of our multi-cultural society upon traditional clothing. This traditional costume forms the starting point of the collection which combines heavy wool and organza with lighter golden details. 

Another impressive presentation was given by Anbasja Blanken who told the story of women from the enlightened kingdom in her show The Shakhinah glory. Mystical light was the starting point for this collection that featured wide-leg tailored trousers, organza veils and slim bodies combined with sculptural circle shapes at the waist. 

Six graduates of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (Amsterdam) were proudly presented by head of fashion Niels Klavers. Taking up a much smaller part of the school than for instance at the KABK or Willem de Kooning, Rietveld’s fashion department has long been characterized by its conceptual approach to fashion. Yet, when designs by first-year students started appearing on the catwalk (the main hall of Paradiso), techniques could be spotted referring back to such legends as Jean Paul Gaultier. Of the six graduates, two collections stood out: Alla Kuzmyk’s Stencilled by Communinism and Verena Michels‘ Trümmerfrau. 

The first features menswear and what seemed to be a collection of bleached colours. We were reminded of Kossaks and saw natural materials such as wool, linen and fur come together to create overcoats featuring three-dimensional collars and folds. Hailing back to her Ukranian roots, Kuzmyk blends elements of Russian uniforms with aspects of her home country and European fashion. 

One collection that deserves the mark ‘fashion‘ is by Verena Michels. Trümmerfrau may not be the most wearable of collections, but it is one from which trends can be born. Round shoulders, combinations of wool and leather and a great overall attitude makes this a standout collection. Not to mention the various knitting techniques – influenced by an internship at Conny Groenewegen – which make garments appear either knitted, woven, heavy or light. 

With cities such as London hosting graduate fashion week in the capital, isn’t it about time the Dutch did the same? With a number of qualitatively good schools posted in some of the farther corners of the country – ArtEZ in Arnhem and Academy of Fine Arts Maastricht – surely this would be a welcome break for those interested in student fashion yet not able to travel? Admittedly students would need to come together in a single place to show their stuff, but with stylists and hair and makeup on hand, not to mention the chance to really see and feel each others designs and network, it could be a great opportunity.

Until that time, selections of the best graduate work can be seen in one location either at the Modefabriek in Amsterdam (14 and 15 July) or during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven (19-27 October).

Main image: Alla Kuzmyk

Other images: 1. Aniel Algoe 2. Anbasja Blanken 3 and 4. Alla Kuzmyk 5-7. Verena Michels 

All catwalk images by Peter Stigter

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