The ‘Dressed by Antwerp’ campaign positions Antwerp as an international fashion capital
Leading international fashion programmes
Ever since the Antwerp Six burst on the scene (Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee and Dirk Van Saene), Antwerp has acquired an international reputation as a leading fashion capital. The fashion programme of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is regarded as one of the most influential fashion schools in the world, along with the Parsons School of Design in New York and Central Saint Martins in London. Every year, a new group of world-class students graduates from the school, to be then appointed to key positions for such leading fashion houses such as Nina Ricci (Rushemy Botter) and Balenciaga (Demna Gvasalia). According to Shuting Qiu, one of the designers of the clothes used in the campaign, the real added value of studying in Antwerp is the fact that “Antwerp’s fashion aesthetic is really unique, meaning people can recognise an Antwerp fashion designer by his or her collection”. In addition to the renowned fashion programme at the Academy, the Antwerp Management School also launched a Master’s degree in International Fashion Management in 2018, in collaboration with the Domus Academy in Milan and the FAAP in São Paulo, to train a new generation of fashion managers and entrepreneurs.
A hotspot for designers and creative minds
(Established) fashion designers and other creative minds also find the space they need in Antwerp to develop their ideas and market them internationally, where necessary with the support of Flanders DC, the Flemish Agency for creative entrepreneurs. Shuting Qiu about the city: “Antwerp’s central location makes it a unique base, enabling you to keep in touch with fashion cities like London, New York and Paris quickly and easily.” According to Nick Haemels, who also designed clothes for the campaign, creative collaborations are promoted in Antwerp, across several disciplines. Antwerp Powered by Creatives, a community and collaborative platform for creative entrepreneurs (and entrepreneurs from other sectors), brings all these people together via a digital platform and matchmaking events.
International retail destination
Thanks to the presence of this fashion community and creativity cluster, Antwerp has also become a preferred retail destination for visitors and retailers internationally. Visitors mainly appreciate the diversity and quality of the offering. Élodie Ouédraogo, a figurehead of the campaign, explains that she regularly visits designer stores when in Antwerp: “I especially love going to the stock sales to (…) get to know more about the work of a specific designer.” But retail concepts are also quick to choose Antwerp because of its unique location in the heart of Europe and the availability of attractive real estate. As a result, (inter)national retailers have already crowned the city a preferred retail destination in Belgium for several years running.
The campaign as the run-up to the 2019 fashion show and the reopening of the Fashion Museum in 2020
The ‘Dressed by Antwerp’ campaign will pop up in airports and train stations in Belgium and the Netherlands from February 2019 onwards. Later this year, in May, the fashion campaign will also appear on Antwerp’s streets, in the run-up to the fashion academy’s annual catwalk show on 7 and 8 June in Waagnatie in Antwerp, and the reopening of the Fashion Museum in 2021. Tom Smith, the campaign’s ambassador, is happy with the result: “I admire the fact that Antwerp wants to put its fashion scene in the spotlight. And it matches my idea of the city. It has a special vibe. Here they embrace less obvious, avant-garde ideas (…).”