Antwerp as fashion capital, more than ever

International character of Antwerp’s fashion industry in iconic fashion movie

Antwerp's status as a fashion city gets an extra push thanks to a new fashion film. The film MOMENTUM presents the creations of 50 promising international fashion students from the Arts of Fashion Foundation 2021 competition. Using locations such as the MAS, het Eilandje or het Zuid as a backdrop for the catwalk, the makers underline the importance of Antwerp as a fashion capital.

Arts of Fashion Foundation Competition 2021

The Arts of Fashion Foundation organizes an annual competition for international fashion talent. In the past years, this competition concluded with a final jury session and fashion show in December to select the winners. However, with travel still limited for students and professionals due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Arts of Fashion decided at the end of August to create a film for the final presentation of the international competition - as they did last year in Paris. Due to the international character of the competition, this film will immediately reach the 366 applicants from 116 different schools or universities in 29 countries from this year.

Iconic jury

The jury session for the competition was held at the Antwerp Fashion Museum (MoMu) on November 10, 2021. This session was presided by Walter Van Beirendonck, the iconic member of the Antwerp Six. Next to him, other influential Belgian designers were featured in the jury: Jean-Paul Knott from Brussels, Jan-Jan Van Essche from Antwerp, and Zoë Vermeire from Ghent. The film premiered in San Francisco on 14 December, where the eight finalists of the competition were announced. The selected winners are rewarded with the opportunity to either participate in the Arts of Fashion MasterClass, work in an apprenticeship with confirmed fashion designers, or in the design studios of Les Métiers d’Art of CHANEL which includes Maison Lesage, Maison Lemarié, and Ateliers Montex.

Antwerp as fashion capital

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Arts of Fashion. The organisation chose Antwerp as the city to begin a year of celebrations in cities across the world that each have a significance to fashion. Antwerp is known for its medieval cobblestone streets, renaissance buildings and its artistic legacy of Pieter Bruegel, Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. It’s still a powerful magnet for fashion and creativity with visionary Antwerp-based designers now representing several generations, beginning with The Antwerp Six - Belgium’s most influential avant-garde fashion collective from the 80’s.

Locations in Antwerp

Each of the 50 selected fashion students have created two unique silhouettes that are featured in a digital presentation. The concept of the film is that each project walks through different locations throughout the city like a fashion show, showcasing the work of the students. The film highlights the following 12 iconic locations that have produced and inspired so much creativity throughout the years:

  • Het Begijnhof (beguinage)
  • Harmoniepark and the Peter Benoit monument by Henry Van de Velde
  • Het Eilandje (famous quarter)
  • Het Havenhuis (the port house)
  • Lambermontplaats - Leopold de Waelplaats
  • The garden at the Leonie Glassplein (in the DIVA museum)
  • The MoMu fashion balls of Antwerp at the Gerlachekaai
  • The MAS - Museum aan de Stroom
  • The garden of the Plantin Moretus museum

Backed by the city of Antwerp

Los Angeles-born and Antwerp-based designer, Brandon Wen, was the obvious choice as art director of the film. Moreover, the film was shot by the Antwerp production company High Flying Birds. The permits and locations were provided by the city of Antwerp’s film unit and the Rubens House, the Plantin Moretus Museum, the University of Antwerp, and the Begijnhof.

Release schedule

During the spring of 2022, the Arts of Fashion Foundation will show the film in museums such as the Cristobal Balenciaga Museum in Spain, the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and in the city of Antwerp, preferably at MoMu.

Besides the film, short videos were made in which each nominee shows his or her creation individually at location in Antwerp. These 50 short films will be shown on the website, Facebook and Twitter, mentioning the specific spot in Antwerp where the shoot took place.