The Cat Walk of Europe
Antwerp and fashion is mentioned in the same sentence time and again and has been since the 1980’s. A courageous group of six young Antwerp Fashion Academy graduates put Antwerp in the spotlight when they hired a van and crossed the channel to show their wares at British Design Show, ‘The Antwerp Six’ made up of Walter Van Beirendonck, Dries van Noten, Dirk van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee, Ann Demeulemeester and later joined by Martin Margiela made headlines in the fashion world. They returned home, leaving the studios of London, Paris and Milan behind. They sparked a fashion city that today is a hive of creativity turning out new talent daily.
In their wake a host of designers have followed; Stephan Schneider, Veronique Branquinho, A.F. Vandevorst, Bruno Pieters, Tim Van Steenbergen, Anna Heylen and many others attended the Antwerp academy and have chosen to make Antwerp their home, studio and inspiration. The Fashion Department of the Royal Academy for Fine Arts of the Hogeschool Antwerp is one of the worlds leading fashion design schools, attracting students from all over the globe. Its annual fashion show in June draws more than 6,000 international visitors, photographers, media, buyers and models.
In 2002, Antwerps’ fashion mecca opened its doors – the Modenatie houses the Fashion Department of the Antwerp Academy, the Fashion Museum, Flanders Fashion Institute and Copyright bookstore. The list of influential, world-class talent is impressive and inspires young graduates who open shops next to experienced names. World brands vie for space in the 19th century shopping streets. Shopping in Antwerp is a feast for the senses, always new, always fresh and you can be sure it’s always original.