I’ve been doing a lot of research on the Antwerp Six, a group of influential avant-garde fashion designers that graduated from Belgium’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the 1980s. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been then up to the 90s, when a new wave of Belgians continued to assert Antwerp’s position as an intellectual fashion capital.
Seeing as I wasn’t around then and I was far too young to have paid attention to the scene in the 90s, I’ve decided to pay tribute in my own way — by collecting pieces by these exceptional individuals:
- Ann Demeulemeester - I have a couple shirts; I wish I had more but they’re a bit pricey even when on sale. The scarcity and craftsmanship, however, justify it, in my opinion.
- Dries Van Noten - He’s the most accessible among the six and I’m fortunate that my mom bought me a handful of items to wear in college — shirts, trousers and jackets. His are not showpieces, but rather quietly quirky staples that transcend the seasons.
- Dirk Bikkembergs - I managed to snag a very interesting red jacket on eBay and a few sweaters from Soho in London, but that’s about it. It seems the label has been focusing more on footwear and underwear lately, and I don’t like the way his designs are beginning to resemble Dolce & Gabbana’s concoctions in terms of Eurotrashiness.
- Marina Yee - Never heard of her until today, so I’ll be digging around for more info and hopefully where to score her designs.
- Dirk Van Saene - I only have a jacket so far, a clever car coat that has a partially covered placket and more buttonholes than there are buttons. I love it and I should wear it more often.
- Walter Van Beirendonck - One of the most cherished pieces I own is a pair of W< military-inspired pants from 2008. The cargo pockets are placed such that they can double as knee pads. Rolled up or not, it goes with everything I own and it gives whatever I pair with it more of an edge. I haven’t seen anyone else wearing it, which makes me extra happy. I also have some vintage rave-inspired shirts from London.