MODEFABRIEK – Back to the Roots
13 July 2016
Author: Vesta Zemaite
The main trade fair for the fashion industry in the Netherlands remained true to the easy Scandinavian palettes that have characterised it in recent years.
Casual, lovely fabrics in pastel colours were felt to be the predominant aesthetic, as represented by the new upcoming and successful Dutch brand LOST. This seemed to me to be a utilitarian, transactional fair that worked just as it was designed to work. The majority of buyers appeared to be Dutch, lining up at the busy stalls for collections that maintained relevance to the market in this country. While the atmosphere did not stand out, the emphasis was purely on doing business efficiently.
The image of the fair that will stay with me is the old man in the centre of the fair, busily making Dutch clogs. Blown up black-and-white photographs of a characterful elderly couple in the shoes leant against one wall, speaking to the growing importance of craftsmanship, quality, and tradition in today’s market and the perceived coolness of imparting such values. The concept stalls also stood out, with large sections devoted to books, perfumes, lotions, and such.
Less successful was the tech and educational space, perhaps because the vast majority of visitors were trade rather than fashion students featuring prominently, as at some other shows across Europe. Another possible explanation for the relative lack of attention given to these stalls could have been their location within the fair, which as always is paramount. Some exhibitors also suffered from stands placed at the back or in halls which saw less visitors.
Leaving, I remembered those wooden shoes and thought how well they translate into today, when brands see their quality production, craftsmanship and heritage as a way to connect with their consumer. Staying relevant and yet innovative is key to aspiring brands in today’s market.
*Photo: wooden shoes in the making!