Antwerp SHOW2012

Antwerp SHOW2012

Founded in 1663, the oldest of its kind in Europe and the starting point for Martin Margiela, Haider Ackermann, Peter Pilotto, Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester (the two last-mentioned also being part of the far-famed Antwerp Six) among others, the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts is a school with a resourceful fashion department where creativity comes first. 7 – 9th of June it was time for SHOW2012, the final runway for the eleven Master Students about to graduate.

Outside of the trend hub where eventful glamour is represented in addition to the actual fashion, Antwerp is a city with its own profile. Fashion people are seen as individuals interested in the society and ethical issues aside from the aesthetics, and fashion is to be seen in the largest of senses. Maureen De Clercq, teacher in fashion design at the Academy, says that “the atmosphere is creative, dynamic and has a lot of energy”. The industry people come to the city to see the final runway shows, to be surrounded by and to be a part of that feeling.

As a school, the Academy focuses a lot on experimentation, improvisation and innovation, as well as on the creative talent and the students’ ability to express themselves through their drawings. As the viewer has to be kept interested and the media pushes out new trends, these focal points are to foster future designers to see above previous horizons and turn well-known concepts in their heads. Located near the industry but somehow isolated from the fashion hysteria, Antwerp and the Royal Academy with its students seem to have found their own rhythm within the industry, mediating a pragmatic calm where the explosive details are within the arts – which are blooming.

The SHOW2012 collections had extravagant details, often leaving conventional to the side. Through the presentations the collections called to evoke emotions and express something outside the garments. The graduates showcased their work by presenting the abilities of creativity, detailing and innovative techniques, before being thrown into the “real world”. With Antwerp’s resume and history in mind one can expect to come across the graduate names again – behind the name of a fashion house, scaled down or in their full blossom of extremity.

See a complete runway video from SHOW2012 here.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe