> THE FASHION DEPARTMENT OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS

IN THE EARLY YEARS, THE ACADEMY MAINLY FOCUSED ON FINE ARTS BUT UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF MARY PRIJOT AND MARTHE VAN LEEMPUT, IT QUICKLY GREW INTO A FULL-FLEDGED FASHION EDUCATION INSTITUTION

Two important milestones have changed fashion history forever. First, the rise of the Antwerp Six, all alumni of the Antwerp Fashion Department. The Six — along with Martin Margiela — were a quirky group of designers: they made a name for themselves in the early 1980s with their contrarian views on fashion, averse to what the commercial fashion dictated and limited. Their international success and reputation was the culmination of the vision and the approach of the Fashion Department, which gained international fame and recognition.

Second, from 1985, the Fashion Department entered a new era under the leadership of Linda Loppa. She put the emphasis on not only a greater individual expression of the students but also on international orientation, and especially on boundless conceptual creativity. Thanks to her, the conceptual and experimental education was emphasized. Since 2006, and until today, the Fashion Department of Antwerp continues to produce a countless of talented conceptual designers under the guidance of Walter Van Beirendonck, one of the members of the Antwerp Six.

Programme
Fashion is packed with social, societal, cultural, artistic and aesthetic ideas. It occupies a prominent position in our culture and economy, defines a period and can be both controversial and revolutionary. In this sense, a fashion designer leaves his or her mark on his or her time. The Fashion department of the Antwerp Academy is internationally known for its idiosyncratic approach to fashion as a creative process. This charisma creates a great international appeal, as a result of which the majority of our fashion students come from abroad.

Each student is supervised individually and enters into dialogue with a team of lecturers who are experts in their field. Together with an international group of fellow students they offer the polyphonic sounding board for personal insight and creative growth. Drawing is a crucial part in developing the concept, visualizing the ideas and designing the collection. In addition, the thorough study of materials and techniques plays a crucial role.

The student pores over fashion-related subjects such as fashion graphics, coupe, modelling and knitting. In addition, workshops, study trips and projects are regularly organized. Research methodology, art history and art theory offer a theoretical foundation, as do specific subjects such as fashion history.

Through personal research into and analysis of the various technical, social and artistic aspects of fashion, the student develops a concept and then uses sketches and other visual techniques to develop it into a stimulating and personal collection. We stimulate the future fashion designer to think critically, develop a personal signature and work autonomously. Creativity and authenticity are central to this. Our graduates are artistically, technically and theoretically prepared to find their way as independent designers or to work in a design team.

ANTWERP FASHION DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES GRADUATION WWWSHOWWW IN RESPONSE TO CURRENT SITUATION
Since corona came along, our well-known and highly reputed SHOW had to find a new plan in the digital era. Attracting over 5000 visitors worldwide, the SHOW was a yearly feast of Fashion in Antwerp. But as COVID-19 restrictions were causing cancellations of public events worldwide, the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp decidedly moved forward with a new and innovative way to show off its student’s end-of-year and graduate collections. After the Academy’s rapid pivot to virtual classes and online mentoring sessions, the next logical step was a digital Antwerp fashion runway for all to see.

WWWELCOME
On the 27th of June, at 20:00h CET, WWWSHOWWW went live on www.showww.be, cross-pollinating tech with fashion tradition. Apart from the presentations of designs by 122 Bachelor students and nine (9) graduating Masters in the age of physical distancing, global top-tier fashion industry names united with the Fashion Department to make this year’s edition as memorable as it is groundbreaking.

The WWWSHOWWW platform was built on the collaboration between the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and creative agency Random Studio. Challenged by the Fashion Department to provide a virtual contemporary environment for the physical creations brought to life by the students, Random Studio worked to translate the future-facing vision of the department into 360 storytelling for a global
audience to savour. Through abstracting conventional physical show mechanisms Random questions the current format and explores the potentional of future shows in the digital space.

Icing on the cake is the presentation of the Masters, where we teamed up with fashion photographer and director Björn Tagemose and visual production company Shoot the Artist, unfurling the graduate collections digitally in the setting of the historic Handelsbeurs in Antwerp.

The full programme spanned an entire evening, a catwalk of computerfiles representing the finest of worldwide design talent (from all 122 BA and 9 MA students) quality-stamped by the Antwerp Fashion Department. The scene is set for a feast of inspiration and a gateway to fashion’s future, open to all.

PROGRAMME
• 1BA – SKIRTS, DRESSES, JACKETS
• 2BA – EXCERCISE HISTORICAL COSTUME
• 2BA – COLLECTIONS
• 3BA – WORLD COSTUME
• 3BA – COLLECTIONS
• MASTERS
• MA FASHION SHOW

WWWSHOWWW – DIGITAL PLATFORM OF THE ANTWERP FASHION DEPARTMENT ATTRACTS 30,000 VIEWERS FROM MORE THAN 80 COUNTRIES.

On Saturday 27 June 2020 the WWWSHOWW went live for a worldwide network of fashion lovers. In two days time, more than 30,000 viewers were front-row witnesses of the innovative approach of the Antwerp Academy (10,744 visitors watched live). Fashion students showed their work on a virtual catwalk, that brought drawings, photos and videos to life with hi-tech and various ‘camera positions’. The collections of the nine (9) graduating Masters were not only present in the digital environment, the public was given an unprecedented insight into the world of the young fashion masters: via ‘Blind Date video calls’ the students talked with fashion legends such as Raf Simons, Demna Gvasalia, Stephen Jones and Christian Lacroix about their collections. Icing on the cake was the transformation of the Antwerp Handelsbeurs into the perfect setting for their inspiring ‘grand finale’.

WWW.SHOWWW.BE

This virtual fashion spectacle was created within the Antwerp Fashion Department.
Conceived in a minimum of time and with a maximum of effort and creativity, the WWWSHOWW shows to be an important experiment for the future.

ROYAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS

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