Third year fashion design students at ArtEZ have just released their 2022 collection capturing the innately relatable youthful angst.
Third year fashion design students at ArtEZ have just released their 2022 collection capturing the innately relatable youthful angst. Titled Took It Anyway!, the group of 26 students composing this year’s Collectie Arnhem use ‘shoplifted’ as a central theme for their collection. While some of us may be more familiar with the thrilling act than others (?), it performs as a symbol for the desire of that which is forbidden. Anna van der Werf, a member of Collectie Arnhem, explains the question you may all be asking, why shoplifting? At the beginning of the project, she reflects, the group began making shapes while noticing the restrictions of the materials present. This relates to their own relationship with society, how there is a constant desire to break from it while also always having to play by the rule book. A way this lust manifests is in the very desire to shoplift.
Founded in 1999, Collectie Arnhem welcomes third year fashion design bachelor students. The students work together to create a single unified collection before they enter their final year. This year the class of ‘23, in collaboration with Studio Dennis Vanderbroeck, are producing a collection of films set in an abandoned supermarket. The models walk around the ominous store whose white interior is filled with heavy shadows that parallel the black and white looks in the collection. Models move in and out of back rooms, places that are traditionally restricted. Throughout the film there is security camera-esk footage which adds to the total trespassing feel of the whole project. It ends with models throwing cans of black paint against the white walls of a backroom, dramatically marking the space as their own.
We talked to a few of the designers to get a personal view of the process.
From early on, Jelena Bondt was utterly drawn to ArtEZ and their cross-disciplinary approach. For her look, Bondt took the idea of weaving together shoplifted imagery very literally and wove her skirt using big tunnels of black and white fabric. The top of her look is a juxtaposition between an oversized – and heavily modified – white mens blouse pinned to a tight fitting black top via an anti theft tag. Bondt explained how the group started off with a mens white button up and black trousers which they saw as the conformity they wanted to rebel against. The black top it is pinned on is also so tight it restricts movement of the wearer. Asking about this constriction, Boldt explains that this restricts the body to prevent it from giving in to its desires, mirroring the restraints society places against the urge to rebel against it.
Batuhan Demir entered ArtEZ having previously studied menswear/tailoring and took part in various internship positions with our family over at Ninamounah. Demir explains that his general style entails working with big gestures and shapes that in turn tell a story. He describes how the group started draping and modulating shapes in a way that resembles the random and uncomfortable manner items get tucked away while shoplifting. This was key for his own look as he creates a hunchback-esk shape to form a unique profile silhouette. The unusual armhole placement parallels the awkward act of stealing. The oversized animal shaped train that gets dragged also exemplifies how you are dragging something with you when you steal. The glasses in the look were designed by Max Claassen, a product design student at ArtEZ, and are finished with a barcode to further the “shoplifted” motif.
Having had a love for anything fashion and the arts starting at a very young age, van der Werf made it her goal from the beginning to go to fashion school. Now in her third year, she is executing this dream, learning how to reflect and portray who she is within her designs. Obsessed with her innate infatuation with design, she told us of her fascination with the way garments can radically change the way people are perceived and how she enjoys playing with this motif in her work. For her own look, however, van der Werf continued with an idea that was conceived by the group; a large round stomach shape. She took the stomach and then deflated it, making room for all those ‘smuggled goods.’ She positioned this stomach atop a long flowy jumpsuit to create an overwhelming contrast that emphasises the deflated stomach itself. Good to know:The stomach is also expandable via drawstrings that drag behind the wearer, accentuating the longevity of the figure.
Originally from Limburg, Bastiaan Reijnen’s workportrays the tensions explored in Took It Anyway! by adding on the group’s motif of awkward fitting clothes. He intentionally crafted awkward fitting jackets and pants to make them look as if a few stolen items had been stuffed into them. In order to portray the tension felt when one simultaneously follows the rules – while also breaking them – he focuses on the restricted mobility of the wearer. Curious about this process, Reijnen excitedly explains the technical obsession he developed over his jacket. He wanted to figure out how he could construct the sleeves in a specific way that would both give the wearer mobility while also restricting them. The outcome of his efforts are the circular shapes that have a blazer-bomber jacket like look to them. The fit also has a chequered print, symbolising the two identities woven together to form a new one. Featuring some split/tilt, the garment overall further illustrates the tensions between conformity and nonconformity we so often feel in daily life.
Luna Goossens utilises her strengths in pattern drawing and draping to play around with the shapes in her look as much as possible. She wants to create hidden pockets throughout the look – to hide the hypothetical goods. Experimenting within the pattern drawing realm, she even tried to break a few rules within that sphere. In the process, Goossens thought she made a grave error but it turned out to be a really interesting way to make a new sort of pleat, which she actually uses on both her top and trousers. She explains that although the group used a lot of patterns, she thought that they were missing out on a good stripe moment. With this in mind, she took care of business by crafting the print using scrap ribbon and thin tule. The stripes were mainly inspired by both barcodes but also the stereotypical jail uniform.
Collectie Arnhem took a timeless theme and made it feel refreshingly new. Overall, the looks in this collection do an amazing job at showcasing the individual styles of each designer while maintaining the group aesthetic. Thank you to the designers who gave us these wonderful insights into their looks, and please, a big round of applause for all of the students – brava!
Photos courtesy of Collectie Arnhem
Watch the collection video here
See more ArtEZ here
Words by Ella Paritsky