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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Antwerp Six

If you know fashion, you know the Antwerp Six. They cemented their mark in fashion history in the 80's, when they decided to rent a truck and head to London Fashion Week. All of them, freshly graduated from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium,  they were eager and fearless to make their mark in the fashion world. As avant garde fashion designers, they brought new ideas and pushed the limits of fashion experimentation. 


Now considered one of the most famous fashion schools in the world, the Antwerp Six, has marked Antwerp as a true fashion zone. At the Academy they were all taught by Linda Loppa.

                                         ANTWERP SIX

                              WALTER VAN BEIRENDONCK

Walter Van Beirendonck Designs are inspired by the visual arts, literature, nature and ethnic influences. His unusual color combinations, strong graphic influence, and whimsical comedy are characteristic for his collections. In 1997, he designed the costumes for U2 "Pop Tour". In 1999, he was awarded the honorary title of "Cultural Ambassador of Flanders". In 2001, he curated the 'Fashion 2001 Landed-Geland' project in Antwerp. 

                                  ANN DEMEULEMEESTER

Ann Demeulemeester consistently produces pieces that are distinctive and instantly recognizable. She began by drawing influence from gothic, punk, and Japanese styles while still remaining true to her own ideas. Though Demeulemeester works with a very specific aesthetic, she continuously strives to push conventions and produce fresh looks for each season. Her pieces, which at times have been described as "funereal", have subtle hints of emotion and emphasis on sexuality.

"I could do it the easy way, give the same pieces, but if I don't try new things then I'm not pushing myself, and I feel bad. I feel lazy." 

                                     DRIES VAN NOTEN

"'I'm a little naive but I don't like the idea of showing things that you don't sell in a store"

His work is said to be characterized by use of prints, colors, original fabrics and layering. He does not advertise, and rarely dabbles in haute couture.His loyal following remains thankful to his artful and dynamic prints, intricate embroidery, and the wearable nature of his designs. His signature looks include the floral tent dress, the iris-print blouse, and a chunky sweater layered over pants or a skirt in contrasting patterns.

                                    DIRK BIKKEMBERGS

Bikkembergs label is largely associated with his contribution in the football world. He was the first fashion designer ever who received permission to hold a fashion show in a football stadium, and he has started used the sport as his laboratory for styling and fabric technology. From exclusive jackets to high-performance underwear, all his designs are now tested and promoted by football players. The Dirk Bikkembergs Group’s sponsorship of the team, now re-christened F.C. Bikkembergs Fossombrone, involved not only investment to bring in fresh talent, but also a revamp of their image.

                                          MARINA YEE

Marina Yee is considered the 'odd one out', and the most rebellious and artistic of the group. Her drive and need for artistic freedom and independence, however, conflicted with the demands of the conventional fashion industry.  After the Six, she lived in Paris from '89 to '92, with her then-partner and colleague designer, Martin Margiela. Since 2000, armed with her deliberate multi-faceted 'chameleon' vision on fashion and art and where these two meet, Marina Yee styles herself as a inter- and multidisciplinary artist. She has been connected with a art gallery in Antwerp where she exhibits her collages and paintings. 

                                        DIRK VAN SAENE

Dirk van Saene maintains a private label, and maintains a limited selection of shops worldwide. He is a minimalist and never compromises his eccentric, and heartfelt vision.
 His fashion collections often feature his hand-painted clothing and printed reproductions of his paintings on fabric.
He is also a visionary of "Ceramics," the artist has collaborated with craftsmen across Europe to produce a body of works that encompasses not just ceramics, but wood-work, glass-work and more, all integrated in a sculptural gesamtkunstwerk.


  1. I never actually knew about these designers before, so thank you for educating me about them. It was a really intriguing piece to read :) x

    1. Hi Chantal!
      I am glad to hear you enjoyed this little article about Antwerp Six.
      Take care sweety.