It is impossible to define them by one catchall aesthetic. The Antwerp Six, as they were known, included Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Marina Yee, Walter Van Beirendonck and Dirk Bikkembergs-all alumni of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and are considered the founders of avant-garde, intellectual fashion. Funereal, deconstructed, sportief-bohemian, and artful are some of the adjectives used to describe The Antwerp Six fashion designers.
We embarked on a search for a new radical wave of recent graduates from Royal Academy of Fine Arts, however in a world, where the only constant is change, the results we present are both striking and unexpected. Meet The Future Antwerp Six.
The Future Antwerp Six
Part 1: Pierre-Antoine Vettorello
Born. France/ Resides. Paris / Age: 26 / Aesthetic: conceptual, aggressive, seductive, minimal
If you were one of the original Antwerp 6, which one would you choose to be? What about their style/design aesthetic that attracts you?
This is a very tough answer to give, because I came to the Antwerp Academy because of Dries van Noten’s work, I discovered Margiela’s and I’ve been taught by Walter van Beirendonck. I admire each of them and they influenced me a lot. But I would choose Martin Margiela, maybe because I still don’t know how he looks like, his work was so alternative, at the border of art and fashion, design and sculpture.
What has crucially influenced your decision to go on with fashion and design in the first place?
This decision came by itself. I haven’t really decided consciously cause for me designing and expressing graphically my visions is part of my personality. It is like something you cannot avoid. Of course I became aware of the work of some designers as soon as I became more independent of my decisions and they played a role, they were my models: Gaultier, Mugler but also Leigh Bowery, Madonna. They were for me examples of freedom and extravagance. They were not only provocative, but they also had something to tell about the changing world, about freedom, differences, feminism, sexuality. They played a role in our society.
How do you get inspired?
I get inspired through books, movies, social events, trends. When I create I feel the importance to tell something narrative, a story. It is important for me to build my own vision of the world and get some real lines about it. I truly like reality, as bad or good it could be. Then I try to share some part of my own experience. The creative process is something I cannot really explain and still have for me some kind of magical aspect. When I’m inspired it becomes like an obsession. A goal that sticks to your head every night and every day.
Why Antwerp is becoming an influential fashion city?
For me Antwerp is more like a platform of talents, a city where you can meet, interact with different people playing and working with different mediums. I met so many people in Antwerp and all we were able to associate our skill to create something together. Antwerp is not a city of fashion like the others, Antwerp creates fashion while other city shows it. I don’t plan to live in Antwerp but I would always come back there, where creative and free students could be.
Do you ever see yourself working in the fast fashion environment? What about a collaboration with a fast fashion brand (H&M, Zara, Gap, etc.)?
In every company fashion goes fast and our world is going faster too. Those collaborations are great because industries are realizing that they need creativity to grow and designer industries to survive. But honestly, I think we reached the end of an era.
Can “Antwerp’s” revolution in fashion happen again in the future?
The Antwerp 6 got interest and considerations in a period when nothing was structured for designers and not many brands where doing luxury ready-to-wear fashion, especially proposing some unique, alternative, high designed products. The revolution of the new generation of designers from Antwerp could take place if they decide to build something together about certain aspects of the society, supported by industries.
Is there a limit to fashion innovation?
There will never be limitations to innovation
Is fashion art?
For me fashion is not Art, but Art is playing an essential role in the designing process. Art would be more like a creative source and then are coming some more technical aspects, more scientific, about compartments human psychology and sociology, behavior an aspect of the body. So we cannot wear Art but we can wear something that refers to Art. Like a filter.
Interview by Denis Maksimov for DEPESHA.