Brussels fashion event puts local designers in the spotlight


The 15th edition of the Brussels Mode Parcours combines a proven formula honed over the years with a topical focus on roots and diversity

A walk to remember

At the end of October, Brussels’ most fashion-forward district will roll out the red carpet for the annual Mode Parcours. Organised by the MAD Brussels fashion and design centre, this 15th edition will again bring exhibitions, shop window installations, workshops and, of course, a party to the city’s Dansaert area.

If you’re into fashion, the Mode Parcours needs no introduction. Every year, this fashion trail draws a crowd of some 7,500 national and international visitors to the capital. For this anniversary edition, MAD Brussels decided to stick to its proven formula of showcasing the work of the finest local designers. At the same time, this edition’s theme of diversity feels very topical.

“We asked all the participating designers to work around the topic of roots, origins and diversity,” says Elke Timmerman, MAD Brussels fashion co-ordinator. “Mehdi-Georges Lahlou is in charge of the artistic direction. He’s a French-Moroccan artist who often questions culture and religion in his own work.”

Lahlou will also participate in the fashion trail. “He’s asked five female artists to make a video, to which five female fashion designers will create an answer with a fashion installation,” Timmerman says. “The designers are Sophie D’Hoore, Marina Yee, Annemie Verbeke, Johanne Riss and Sandrina Fasoli.”

Open house

In total, 43 designers accepted the Mode Parcours challenge. Visitors can admire their answers in several shop windows and galleries across the city centre. 

“In addition, all the participating designers were asked to make a patchwork carpet together, with each of them providing one piece,” Timmerman says. “Every piece of fabric should be linked to the designer’s cultural background or something historical that inspired them. The entire patchwork and an accompanying exhibition will be on display at the Chartreux Centre of Contemporary Art, which is also the meeting point for this year’s fashion trail.”

We asked a couple of designers to open their workshop to the public

- Elke Timmerman

Alongside the main fashion trail, there will also be a smaller one that focuses on the designers’ creative process. “For the first time, we asked a couple of designers to open their workshop to the public,” Timmerman says. “To name a few, fashion designer Conni Kaminksi, jewellery maker Sophie Heymans and costume-maker Costhea will invite visitors into their studio.”

For those who want to know even more about the designers’ methods, there will be workshops too. Emmanuelle Lebas, for instance, will delve into the fine art of shoemaking, while Christ Vermandere will unveil the manufacturing process behind hats.

An anniversary edition, of course, wouldn’t be complete without a party and a couple of surprises. “There’s a lot happening on Saturday evening,” Timmerman says. “At around 20.30, we’ll hand out two awards – one for the best young fashion talent and one for the best installation.”

The evening closes with a performance by DRC-born, Brussels-based musician Baloji, followed by a party with the Kenzo fashion house, Brussels industrial designer Jean-François d’Or and Flemish costume-maker Café Costume.

Head over to the former hat-making workshop of Christophe Coppens on the Nieuwe Graanmarkt if you want to join in the fun.

22-25 October, across Brussels

Photo courtesy MAD Brussels