Show2014 puts spotlight on tomorrow's fashion stars

Summary

The annual graduate show of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ fashion department is the perfect opportunity to find out why Flemish designers are lauded all over the world

Show staged three times

Next week, Hangar 29 in Antwerp will once again form the backdrop for the graduate show of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ fashion department. The annual catwalk event is arguably the most exciting of its kind in the country.

Fashion students from all four years show their hard work before an international jury of experts, headed by Flanders’ design enfant terrible Walter Van Beirendonck. About 6,000 come to experience the unique atmosphere and discover the talent of tomorrow.

To deal with visitor numbers, the show is staged on three nights and culminates nightly in the Masters section. While first-year students present just one piece – a skirt – their colleagues from the fourth year debut a fully-fledged collection of mens- or womenswear.

For many of these graduates, the annual academy show marks the end of four years of hard work and the start of a career in fashion.

The department’s most famous alumni are, of course, the Antwerp Six, including Van Beirendonck and Dries Van Noten. Behind them came Raf Simons, now creative head of Dior. But more recent graduates are working their way up fast in the business as well, a testament of both the department’s high-quality education and lasting lustre.

This year, some names to look out for are Austrian Raffaela Graspointner, with her love of bold colours and sequin embroidery; Yens Cuyvers, who hails right from Antwerp province and who dreamed up a collection for futuristic dandies; and Swedish-Chilean Clara Jungman Malmquist, who designed the purple organza dress worn by model Kim Peers on the Show 2014 poster (pictured).

Apart from a great night out, the show is the perfect opportunity to find out why Belgian fashion is lauded all over the world. And perhaps spot the next Simons or Van Beirendonck before anyone else.
12-14 June, Waagnatie, Antwerp, www.antwerp-fashion.be

Photo by Ronald Stoops

The annual graduate show of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ fashion department is the perfect opportunity to find out why Flemish designers are lauded all over the world.

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Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp

The academy is best known for its fashion department, considered one of the best in the world. Alumni routinely join major fashion houses or launch their own brands, and the fashion school is credited with putting Flemish designers on the map.
Antwerp Six - In the 1980s, six alumni made waves with their graduation collections at London Fashion Week. Dirk Bikkembergs, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck and Marina Yee soon became known as the “Antwerp Six”.
Offshoots - Several institutions developed from the academy – the Henry Van de Velde Institute, the Higher Institute of Fine Arts and the Antwerp art secondary school.
Big names - Other famous graduates include Martin Margiela, Veronique Branquinho, Christian Wijnants and AF Vandevorst.
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