The days in which women burned their bras and banned make-up from their vanity tables in their fight for equal rights may be long gone, but feminism is more present than ever. The new wave of feminism served as a point of inspiration for the collection presented by Individuals. This collective, consisting of 27 students from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI), presented their collection on Wednesday January 20. In a renovated warehouse at the edge of Amsterdam, teachers, press, friends and family gathered to see for themselves what the students had been working on for the past five months.
Latest Individuals collection illustrates women´s versatility
The final womenswear collection shown, consisted of 31 looks including pieces such as a knitted black turtleneck and a baby pink top with ruffles. Other items that made an appearance on the runway included a blue suit made out of corduroy and an ankle length trench coat in a deep pink shade. Then when combined together resulted in a collection of very feminine looks which were complemented by a number of fierce outfits. However, one of the most striking accents of the collections were the words which were printed on numerous garments. ‘Pushy’, ‘hysterical’ and ‘emotional’ were only a few examples of the words included in the collection. By prominently including these words, which are often seen as negative characteristics found within women, the young designers showed that women should actually be proud of their gender. Although it might seem as if the combination of these different pieces would result in an overall confusing collection, the thought behind this mixture of items was to emphasize the versatility of women. “We wanted to show that women can be feminine and tough at the same time,” explained Karlijne Opmeer, Individuals Visual Manager and designer of the team. “To show this tough side, we used beeswax and created items with 3D-pockets that were inspired by military uniforms, but we also included a lot of ruffles and pink silk for a more feminine touch.”
When the show was over and the models had left the runway, it was time for the students to receive their final bow. Their faces all shared one emotion: relief. “It was so hectic, but an amazing experience. To be part of this group is really special,” said Opmeer. “When I visited the open day of AMFI I was so enthusiastic about Individuals that I decided then and there to apply for the course.” It is not the first time she has experienced the after rush of a fashion show, but it is the first time she was involved with staging one from beginning to end. Together with six other Fashion Design students who are in their 3rd and 4th year, the Dutch student was responsible for creating the looks. Aspects such as the production of the garments and buying the fabrics were taken care of by a group of ten Fashion Management students. The promotion and production of the fashion show were arranged by ten students from the Fashion Branding BA. After working through a period in which most of her workweeks exceeded 60 hours, Opmeer is delighted with the positive responses from the audience which in turn make it all worth the while.
Learning what it means to design for commercial purposes
Opmeer believes that the opportunity offered by AMFI for students to participate in Individuals is invaluable. Not only is it the perfect way to learn what it means to work in a team, but it is also an opportunity to take a more commercial approach to fashion design. Students tend to enjoy total creative freedom when designing something as part of their coursework. Yet, as a number of items from the Individuals collection will be on sale, the designers needed to create items that were also commercially viable for consumers. “And we normally only design clothes which are fitted to model sizes, but this time we had to ask ourselves if what we designed would also look good on other sizes,” adds Opmeer.
Participating with the ongoing development of Individuals is open to all 3rd and 4th-year students, who can earn credit for it as part of their curriculum. Students who are part of the collective have to design a collection and organize the fashion show during which the collection is presented by themselves. What the collection and the show will look like, is entirely up to the participants. Admission to the project is not preceded by an assessment of students´ work or motivation, as Opmeer said that “AMFI assumes that everyone who has managed to make it to the 3rd or 4th year will have what it takes to be part of this”. Being part of such an intensive project does require some effort, but in the end it is both an interesting experience as well as a valuable addition to any fashion student´s résumé. “Not only because you have proven that you have knowledge on the full production process of clothing, but also because it shows you are a team player.” Most fashion graduates have not experienced first-hand what the supply chain of a fashion company looks like, but students who have ever been part of Individuals have. When asked what was the most valuable lesson she learned from Individuals, Opmeer answers without hesitation: “When you do not work with others, this will effect the end result. Because in the end, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Image credits: Team Peter Stigter, Individuals Facebook and FashionUnited