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Lidewij Edelkoort: ‘Folklore is becoming a trend; the tunic is a universal piece of clothing’

By Marjolein Stormezand


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Fashion |REPORT

Amsterdam - In forecasting the trends for summer 2020, Lidewij Edelkoort follows the script of her previously published Anti-fashion manifest. Slowing down, connecting, humanity and equality; these subjects were all covered in ‘Li’s’ biannual Appletizer trend seminar in Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw on the IJ river. The fashion guru was unwavering on two issues: folklore will become a huge trend and the tunic will become a universal piece of clothing. FashionUnited attended the seminar and summarises the highlights.

Before starting her presentation, Edelkoort revealed to the audience that as she was taking notes on the current situation in the world, she noticed how well the Netherlands is actually doing. At hearing her words, the audience grew silent. “Right now, xenophobia and racism are prevalent around the world. Democracy cannot withstand such a large number of autocrats backed by enormous armies. The news is rife with predictions of natural disasters and the fashion industry remains one of the greatest polluters in the world,” Edelkoort summarised. High time for change, Edelkoort revealed, or at least, time for a counter-movement which, according to the forecaster, will be shaped by introducing folklore into fashion.

Lidewij Edelkoort trend seminar spring/summer 2020

“The fashion industry is blocked. There’s no time to think, only to produce and distribute. The result: old models are constantly being introduced as ‘new fashion’. We keep repeating the same items in which the differences are negligible. One season the shoe sole is a little thicker, the next the studs are slightly more prominent, but in essence, not much has changed,” Edelkoort briefly summed up the industry. “We continue to run around in the same circle without any innovation.”

A textile ‘revival’ is on the way to counterbalance the fashion houses’ ‘speed and greed’, she announced. At the academies where Edelkoort teaches, the students can all be found at their looms. She jokingly refers to this as the Weave Wave, but meanwhile, she takes the subject extremely seriously. “People are once again craving garments with a soul.”

“The current political climate, with its trade wars, closing borders and segregation of various cultures, calls for a new vision,” Edelkoort announced. Folkloric fashion could play a unifying role in that. “We would benefit from immersing ourselves in folklore and realising that we have more in common with each other than we might think.” In various places across the world, similar garments were being designed and techniques were being developed simultaneously, Edelkoort revealed to the audience. This notion could help the world to think universally instead of nationalistically.

According to Edelkoort, when the topic of fashion and folklore comes up, people become upset. At present, there is a growing debate about who owns what, and patterns, colours and traditional dress are being claimed by different cultures. This could be due to the mishandling of the subject matter by so-called copycats who, according to the forecaster, do not take the time or show the inclination to sufficiently study their sources of inspiration, the use of colour, the shapes and their related techniques, resulting in unimaginative reproductions. She emphasised that it is important for fashion companies to take responsibility for their role in this.

One of the items of clothing from folklore that ‘Li’ cited throughout her presentation is the tunic. The tunic, kaftan or ‘tunesienne’ was simultaneously developed in Africa and Asia and is worn by both men and women. Edelkoort also noted that the kaftan is most likely going to play a role in streetwear. Coats and shirts, which are growing increasingly longer, are already taking on a similar shape.

During Li’s trend presentation, it became apparent that the course that she plotted with her Anti-fashion Manifest of 2015 is one for the future. “Fashion is dead,” she announced at the time. We are once again going to focus on the clothes themselves. And that clothing appears to be handmade, constructed with care, not subject to time, and made to unify.

Photos: Lidewij Edelkoort via Appletizer
Oscar de la Renta spring/summer 2019 © Catwalkpictures

Lidewij Edelkoort
spring/summer 2020
trends spring/summer 2020