Antwerp Six: why the Belgium city is a world fashion capital
There are several cities striving to pull the limelight away from Milan, Paris, London and New York, but Antwerp has a head-start on all of them. Tine Van Den Poel from Antwerpen Streetstyle shares the secrets behind this emerging fashion capital’s enviable creativity.
Scrolling through photographs on Antwerpen Streetstyle, you’ll see girls posing in fedoras, fur coats, jeans and white sneakers, guys in all-over Hawaiian print and even a particularly dashing tail-coat and blue high-tops combination.
Tine says, ” Antwerp’s attitude to fashion is serious without being uptight. The people here just really love fashion and experience it as an extension of their personality. We’re often told that we are all cocky – and it’s true: we are extremely proud of our fashion scene and we are not afraid to flaunt our sense of style!”
Some of the outfits you see in Antwerp may look thrown together, but chances are there are some serious style sums behind them. Tine explains that “Antwerp is blessed with a wonderful Fashion Academy, which is the place where many famous designers developed their skills, going from Martin Margiela to Haider Ackermann.
“The Antwerp Six put our city on the international map and since their success Antwerp has filled with unique shops and flagship stores. The Dries Van Noten store at the Nationalestraat is a magnificent example of this.
“Still, creativity has been Antwerp’s key feature long before the Antwerp Six came along: think of all the painters, architecture, and the three-centuries-old Royal Academy for Fine Arts, and you immediately understand why fashion flourishes in our charming city.”
The impact of the Antwerp Six on both the city and the wider world of fashion has certainly been immense. Despite minimal focus on advertising and global branding, the exceptional quality of the clothes and appeal of their vision has been more than enough to ensure their talents are recognized worldwide.
New year, new you
They say that design must be functional, and Tine has a surprisingly practical hope: “Since we have a lot of rain, we are rooting for the plastic raincoat to become trendy.” She also notes that “sneakers have been booming” and observes, “everyone has been wearing long coats and especially guys have started to grow their hair…you’ll certainly see beards and hair buns.”
Best of Belgium
Unsurprisingly, independent stores thrive in Antwerp. Tine’s favorites include Louis, “a store near Lombardenvest that is very esthetically pleasing thanks to its minimalist décor and smart selection of designers and clothes,” The Public Image, “a cool, urban store run by the most enthusiastic shop owner Nele” and Labels Inc., “the perfect place to find pre-loved designer fashion.”
If you’re more interested in window-shopping (or just gazing in envy at some fabulous ensembles), head to Noord. Tine explains, “this is a less famous part of Antwerp so there is still lots to discover. Find the locals at Park Spoor Noord and check the calendar for a rummage sale at the park’s shelter. The Goegekregen clothing sales are the best places to find terrific bargains.”
The area around the MoMu, just a 20 minute walk along the shopping street from our Park Inn by Radisson Antwerpen. It is the best place to spot fashion students, so if you’re hoping to befriend the next-generation Antwerp Six, that’s the place to be.