Royal Academy Antwerp

Royal Academy Antwerp

Stephan Schneider: stop showing, start selling

Stephan Schneider is not your ordinary ‘Belgian’ designer. As one of the first foreign generations to graduate from the Antwerp Fashion Department in the 90s, the German-born designer is “for sure not Boheme, radical, dark or gothic,” he says as he compares himself with the Antwerp Six, and past graduates from the institution that have established a distinct ‘made in Belgium’ signature. His clothes, in contrast, are very ‘wearable’: something that may be considered very mature or even ‘commercial’ compared to the extravagancy seen at the students’ final year show of the Academy, where he acted as a jury member this year. In a much accelerated industry, Stephan keeps his head cool and doesn’t go through as much change as perhaps other brands would. In fact, the leopard print carpet in his shop is exactly the same as it was when he first opened it 20 years ago. The age doesn’t show in the interior, and neither does it show in Stephan’s energy when he talks about his steady career. “I enjoy this old dusty house,” he says. “I wanted to make fashion that was solid and that I could live from.”

The Antwerp Sixteen: Rushemy Botter

1. His collection was sparked by a chance encounter with a little boy during a holiday in the Dominican Republic. “I went to the Dominican...

Marie-Sophie Beinke: sustainability, one sequin at a time

Much can be said about the term sustainability in fashion, but it often does not get a good reputation unless the visuals can speak for themselves....

Inside the childhood memories of Antwerp student Julia Ballardt

When she was little, Antwerp student Julia Ballardt used to create her own sacred space with her friends, a place without boundaries, where they...

MASTERMINDING MoMu: Director, Kaat Debo on Dries, digital, and how museums...

Kaat Debo is the head of MoMu, that being the deceptively simple shorthand for the Mode Museum in Antwerp. But there's nothing simple about...

The Antwerp Sixteen: Emmanuel A. Ryngaert

Born in Leuven, a city an hour away from Antwerp, Emmanuel Ryngaert pursued a BA at the age of 18, not in fashion but...

Hyein Seo: Schoolin these hoes

The invention of badgalriri, the entity, a life event which took full-form somewhere around the mullet of 032c, had been in the works for...

Antwerp grad Joanna Chlust on filling in the details

“It felt like being a painter standing in front of an empty canvas and I had to make this fierce brushstroke,” muses Joanna Chlust...

Ronald Stoops: documenting Antwerp’s greatest

Ronald Stoops sits in the sunny backyard of his Antwerp house, talking in short, to-the-point phrases about his long career in photography, in which he has shot the work of all Antwerp Six designers, except Ann Demeulemeester. In tune with the sound of our conversation is a stream of water and fishes swimming in a pond next to us. Every once in a while, one of Ronald’s many cats appears, like a shadow on the plastic roof above us, and Inge Grognard — his partner in both work and life — pops in every once in a while, tending the garden or answering emails indoors. A bottle of sparkling water stands between us and is left empty after one-and-a-half hour of conversation, which is much needed due to its quick-fire nature. It’s not necessarily an intentionally chosen mode of interviewing, but Ronald doesn’t seem particularly keen on exhaustively dwelling on fashion or photography-related topics. So, when mentioning the brevity of his answers and asking if there are other topics that he prefers talking about, he mentions that he is much more interested in talking about ‘real feelings’: how you feel, what you feel, how you walk in the street, what your hopes are, what you want to do in life — and a cheeky one: do you have a lover, somebody who you love?

The Antwerp Sixteen: Eduard Both

1. The most talked about piece from his BA collection was a leather recreation of a plastic Chinese supermarket bag, which epitomised his “making...

Clara Jungman Malmquist’s offline fashion in an online world

Clara Jungman Malmquist, a recent MA graduate of Antwerp’s prestigious art college -- who now interns at Raf Simons -- tells us about her...

Putting Together the Antwerp Six: Geert Bruloot

Geert Bruloot does not sit calmly when he speaks. His hands make great gestures when he talks about the Belgian economy, slavery, or the essence of having a philosophy when deciding to make a career out of fashion design. He switches off his phone when it rings with the same enthusiastic energy as with which he chats. It’s present even when he, every once in a while, pours himself a glass of water, sitting in the top-floor offices of the ModeMuseum in Antwerp, which also houses the Flanders Fashion Institute and the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Art. Bruloot, who founded the Antwerp-based shoe store Coccodrillo in 1984, has curated the upcoming shoe exhibition Foot Print, The Tracks of Shoes in Fashion which will open at the MoMu on Thursday 3rd of September. Many real-life Pinterest mood boards with printed images attached to each category stand just outside of the room where our conversation takes place. Asked about which categories dominate the exhibition, Geert explains: “As seven months is really a very short for preparing this kind of exhibition, we’ve tried to work with what we could get a hold of. Technically we needed a longer period for chasing loans from the big museums, and conceptually we had to work hard to convince the fashion houses that their past is equally important as the commercial values they are aiming for today. With more time for profound research, we would have gone through the great historical collections of the world, and would have been able to select older historical and indegenousfootwear that has inspired contemporary shoe design.” With impossible-to-walk-on heels scattered throughout, his moodboards don’t necessarily limit themselves to ‘wearability’. Not that that was the focus, anyhow. “Wearability has never been our first reference. From when we started our shoe store 32 years ago, creativity has always been our goal. When emotion, invention, creation, craft and fantasy can go together with technical development, construction and anatomical research, great fashion creations are born! Shoes can have many connotations: religion, fetish, war, survival, seduction, gender, status, dance, rebellion…”