Creative talents bring Fashion Month to Brussels
The capital – not to be outdone by its neighbours’ fashion weeks – launches a series of events with a focus on couture
This is Not a Fashion Week
London, Milan and Paris have had their fashion weeks for ages, and in recent years Amsterdam, Berlin and Stockholm have joined the scene. But Brussels hasn’t. “And I don’t think there ever will be such a thing as Brussels Fashion Week,” says Elke Timmerman, fashion co-ordinator at Brussels Mode and Design Centre (MAD). “Past initiatives have failed, probably because Brussels is a bit trapped between the hustle and bustle of big cities such as Paris, London and Berlin.”
But that doesn’t mean our capital lacks creative vibes, she insists. “We just go about it in a different way – the place to be, but underground,” she explains. “Traditionally, Brussels has quite a few fashionable events in October. This year we decided to go bigger by promoting all the existing events at once and by urging other fashion event organisers to pick their date around the same time.”
The first edition of This is Not a Fashion Week lines up about a dozen events, both artistic and commercial. A few of the usual suspects include Brussels Fashion Days (the third edition), the annual Customisez-Moi Festival and the Mode Parcours, now in its 14th year. From 24 to 26 October, nearly 50 designers will take over part of a shop, bar or even a hairdresser on and around Dansaerstraat in the city centre.
No more rules
“The Mode Parcours gives them an opportunity to go all out and show their creative sides, away from the strict rules of a regular fashion week,” says Timmerman. The shop Icon, for instance, will be transformed into a fun fair of the kind typically found at the Flemish seaside. Belgian designers and labels Marc Philippe Coudeyre, Filles à Papa and Super Piece of Chic will provide the entertainment.
Like every year, there’s a theme, chosen by the parcours’ artistic director, Frédérick Dénis, who’s a fashion teacher at Saint-Luc and stylist for choreographer Wim Vandekeybus. “He picked ‘citizenship’ as he wanted to know more about the emotional relationship between the designers and their city,” Timmerman says. “For the accompanying exhibition at the MAD meeting centre, photographer Jimmy Kets took a series of portraits of citizens, all chosen by the participating designer.”
The parcours gives them a chance to go all out and show their creative sides
And at milliner Christophe Coppens’ former workshop, French artist Marc Turlan exhibits his interpretation of the word “sexy”. Timmerman: “It’s a very rock’n’roll expo in association with the Festival for Fashion and Photography in Hyères, France.”
Those who’d rather see and touch fashion will be pleased to know there are also several pop-up events and stores. Besides the catwalk shows, Brussels Fashion Days at The Egg also have a shop featuring the work of 30 designers, where your entrance ticket gets you a discount on a designer item. Until 3 November, luxury department store Smets near Meiserplein invites young Brussels designers to present and sell their new collections as well.
“There will even be a European Fashion and Design Market, organised by cultural organisation Eunic,” Timmerman says. “For this first edition, which runs on the same weekend as the Mode Parcours, about 40 designers will come together at De Markten cultural centre.”
The MAD fashion month ends with even more sales. On 14 and 15 November, the Brussels designer stock sales take place at Bozar. And Timmerman lets us in on a secret: MAD and Bozar are planning a major exhibition of Belgian fashion from June to September next year.