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Amsterdam Fashion Week 2021

Look hot, get lit, and revel in the talent.

Lichting21 – Peter Stigter

After a long year of sitting behind our desktops, the desire for human connection and irl experiences could not have been stronger. Thankfully, last week, Amsterdam fashion was unleashed upon the masses, and the streets never looked so hot. Dressed to impress, all the familiar (and fashion forward) faces pulled up in their most decadent pieces as a celebration of individuality. Needless to say, we were not disappointed, as the repressed artistry of each designer over the past two years was unleashed. We got to live through their work, experiencing the personality, meticulous craftsmanship and overall good-times attitude – today, sharing our discoveries with you all.

Peter Stigter

Peter Stigter

Kicking off AFW was the Schepers and Bosman show, a poised affair in collaboration with Bloomer Records. The artistic scope of the project was evident to see – between hand-painted designs on signature Dutch Denim, to the pieces being modeled by artists signed to the record company itself. The show was an eccentric, stunning re-introduction to in-person events, celebrating the collective artistry of the Amsterdam-scene.

Standing for ‘Art Beauty Clothes Nature Design ‘, ABCND provided just that, displaying not only irresistible fragrances, sustainable hand-made pieces, and racks full of vintage selections, but also the Schepers and Bosman collection we had enjoyed the day before. ABCND provided a variety of visionary designers and brands – and the most insane charcuterie board we had ever tasted – keeping us visitors satisfied and stimulated. Schepers and Bosman weren’t the only recurring guests this evening, however, as Bloomer Records-signed Future Husband gave a live performance at the launch. All dressed in ABCND, the music, outfits, and store ambiance was immaculate. If you are on the market (or like us, serial shoppers) for a wardrobe step-up, there’s no better place to enhance your collection than this new addition to Noord.

Peter Stigter

Peter Stigter

Friday nights are back, and last week was an insane re-introduction to the world thanks to the REconstruct Collective show – REligion. Glamcult spent some time backstage with the models before the show, watching raw, beautiful individuals transform into mystical, ethereal creatures. Everyone’s natural talents were accentuated by their performance in the show, whether it be through skating, pole-dancing, or death-dropping down the runway. Natural beauty was both accentuated and transformed – a balance reached by featuring both pregnant models and prosthetic elf-ears. Accentuating uniqueness and embracing individuality, stylist Lissa Brandon added a whole new dimension of meaning to the collection with avant-garde layering and elevating the collection far beyond our earthly pov’s.

It goes without saying that we couldn’t go without mentioning Duran Lantink and Bea Otte’s collaborative show at the Amsterdam Hermitage museum. Classic oil paintings lining the walls of the museum help to track the history and evolution of both fashion and art, starkly contrasting the modern t-shirts, flannels, and asymmetrical pieces of the collection. ‘Democracy’ is defined in a multitude of ways, from a full American-flag ensemble, to featuring members of Outsider Art on its catwalk – if “We the people”, then we look pretty damn amazing. Otte’s pieces in the show were inspired by and shaped as our key animal colleagues; with stripes, blacks & yellows, and large spherical silhouettes paying homage to our busiest girlbosses – the bees. Large puffer jackets, bodysuits, and patches of glitter help to keep the collection eccentric and on-brand, but nevertheless surprising and fresh.

Peter Stigter

On the same Friday as the REconstruct show, at the same Capital C venue, and under an uncharacteristically blue Amsterdam sky, Lichting had their annual show featuring the talents of 13 fashion graduates. The winner this year was Roxane Mbanga – fresh out of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy – for her riveting installation NOIRES. The collection confronts viewers with their prejudices and highlights Black female bodies, combining books, sculptures, garments, and videos. The star piece of her exhibition was the traditional West- and Central African, unisex garment – the Boubou – and the intimate relationship between the piece and the wearer’s naked body. Mbanga shared the €10.000 prize with fellow designer and visionary, Marco Blazevik. His collection, ‘The Humble Hustle’, flips the notion of ‘From Rags to Riches’ onto its head – acting as a commentary instead of how Hustle culture encourages high rates of consumption at the expense of the individual. Both designers put a critical lens over what it means to create art and commodities in our late-stage capitalist society, reminding us to keep asking questions and reflecting on how we contribute to this ever-growing industry.

Our last show of the week left us speechless (but don’t worry – we’re ready to spill the tea). There is too much to say about the breathtaking performance of Bodil Ouédraogo’s collection, ‘To Blend, Together’, in collaboration with Patta, as we gathered around a podium completely wrapped up in the same patterns as the pieces. The themes of Afro-Modernism and African Diaspora street-wear perfectly coincided with the ambient track and dark beats, keeping our eyes transfixed on the models as they assumed different positions and synced their hypnotic dance moves to the score. Our vision was saturated with this collection’s textured, vibrant green pieces starkly contrasted with traditional African statuettes. The stripped-down venue made the collection the life of the show, drawing out Ouédraogo’s vision and acting as the perfect closer for our AFW experience.

Isolation helps to invigorate our creative potential as artists and individuals, quarantine certainly got the creative gears turning as evident by this week of shows and shop launches. The mold has not been restructured – it’s been destroyed, leaving us with nothing but new frontiers for the future of fashion, and the role that Amsterdam designers play in it. With New York right at its heels, AFW and its featured designers have refused to let themselves be overshadowed – we will be thinking about these breathtaking performances and eclectic collections long after this fashion cycle.

Peter Stigter

Words by Alia Ayoubi

Images courtesy of Amsterdam Fashion Week & Peter Stigter.