Antwerp: a unique point of view on fashion design
Antwerp’s Fashion Department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts has had a tradition of excellence and a deeply innovative approach to the universe of learning fashion design since it was founded in 1963. The Department obtained worldwide famous recognition with the rise of the “Antwerp Six” in the 1980’s, a radical group of designers (including Martin Margiela) who decided to challenge the system, with a new, creative and contrariant approach to design, and have remained at the top of the Fashion scene and academy as designers ever since.
Located in the center of Antwerp and in the same building as Flanders DC for Fashion and MoMu (the Antwerp Fashion Museum), the academy hosts the world-famous annual graduation show, a big celebration of fashion and experimentation with more than 6,000 spectators coming from all over the world. Big Names like Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela, Dirk Bikkembergs, Peter Pilotto , Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Veronique Branquinho and A.F. Vandevorst (all of them alumni from Antwerp Fashion Department) perfectly represent the unique creative vision of the academy. Boundless conceptual creativity and individual expression are the key focus in the education program, with students coming from all over the world, aiming to learn to push their own limits and maximize their abilities, dreams and ideas. Actually, it’s this fascinating interaction of people with different backgrounds, cultures and opinions that works as a powerful driving force in the Academy and in the city itself.
In the first two years of the four-year program, students learn through key courses related to design, graphics, tailoring, textiles, art history, philosophy and psychology the essence of the Academy’s approach to fashion design, which is further developed in the third year of studies, when students are required to present their own collection of silhouettes, based on preliminary studies of a specific culture.
Students are asked to display a synthesis of all the skills they have learned and developed during the final year, which is almost entirely dedicated to the final collection with a minimum of 12 silhouettes, presented during the internationally acclaimed graduation Show, a real feast of conceptualism and experimentation in the name of avant-garde fashion.