The city

Set in the flat landscape of the Netherlands, Amsterdam provides a unique urban experience. The North Sea is close by, omnipresent yet remote. The city stands on average a little less than 2 metres below sea level requiring an imposing dam to protect it from high tides. Amsterdam’s main urban characteristic may be its concentric canals or Grachtengordel. Now on the UNESCO World Heritage List, these canals were built during the city’s golden age, in the 17th-century, for defence, water management and transport. Sea and canals imprint a city both opened to the world yet proud of its identity.

Amsterdam, a world fashion centre

In 2010 Amsterdam was ranked 13th worldwide for its quality of living and 3rd for innovation in 2009. This is proof, if proof was needed, of the creative dynamism of a city, which plays a major role in the fields of interior design, gaming, fashion, and architecture.

Since the mid-1990s, Dutch fashion designers, creators and designers for luxury labels like Viktor & Rolf, Spijkers en Spijkers, Iris van Herpen and Klavers van Engelen amongst others; or ready-to-wear brands such as G-Star, Sandwich, Gsus, JustB, and McGregor have been met with growing acclaim on the world stage. Their approach to design, often qualified as conceptual, open-minded, pragmatic and process-oriented has honed forward thinking into Dutch Design and Art Academies. These approaches helped establish Amsterdam as a world fashion centre.

Fashion schools in Amsterdam

Modeconnect has met with graduates of two major education institutions in Amsterdam: the AMFI or Amsterdam Fashion Institute and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy named after the famous Dutch furniture designer and architect active during the first half of the 20th century. Students from both of these prestigious academies usually take part to the Lichting, the Dutch equivalent of London Graduate Fashion Week. The Lichting is a show, which takes place during Amsterdam Fashion Week and presents the 2 best graduate collections from the 7 top fashion schools in Holland.

Support for the world of fashion in Holland

As in most countries a number of organisations provide information and resources to the national fashion industry and Dutch fashion students. The Dutch Fashion Foundation represents the interests Dutch fashion designers, at home but also abroad with projects under the name Dutch Touch. The Dutch Design Fashion Architecture