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No future without the past

De Nieuwe Kerk launches an exhibition that celebrates the history of Dutch fashion design, and tracks the progression of freedom and self-expression through fashion.


Designer: Benchellal
Photo: Tim Verhallen

No future without the past – one of our favourite things about fashion is its constant reinvention. Everyday we wake up, check our feeds, and are delighted (or side-eyeing) some new collection. Either way, we build up a personal rapport of what we deem to be “in”, and what definitely isn’t. And yet, all the designs we see and the style-culture we indoctrinate ourselves into does not exist in a vacuum of time. It is not just a constant invention, but precisely an evolution, as the possibilities of what we can feasibly create has always been informed by the path paved by designers before us.


Consider for a moment where fashion could be if a century ago, a daring group of women had chosen not to disown the corset and worn their chemise as a dress. There’s no telling what exactly we would be wearing today, and whether or not the corset as a bodice itself would have ever come out from under the dress. We notice a style cycle, as upcoming designers pay homage to their heroes and the reappropriation continues.

Featuring Xhosa – KABRA collection 2021

Featuring Patta 2021

The exhibit MAISON AMSTERDAM seeks to illustrate this progression, while also drawing out the essence of Amsterdam fashion. Contemporary and classic designers whose collections redefined the city are up on display, as De Nieuwe Kerk is transformed into a fashion house in its own right. How we dress is one of the most important aspects of how we come to define an era, and extracting specific moments of time. From Fong Leng to Ninamounah, and Amber Jae Slooten to Viktor & Rolf, not only is there a vast culture of Dutch design to be inspired by, but they all encapsulate a moment within their respective cultures through their unique expressions of freedom.

We’re so proud of our team at Glamcult Studio, as they are responsible for the graphic design within the exhibition and the accompanying book.

Visit MAISON AMSTERDAM at De Nieuwe Kerk on Dam Square.

Words by Alia Ayoubi