Dries Van Noten, fashion designer
“Antwerp is a very pleasant city to work, it’s very low key. It’s better that I stay far away from all the fashion madness, from the epicentre of the fashion world and from all the hip parties. Antwerp is the ideal city for me: I take the train to Paris to show my collections there and my life here in Antwerp is much easier and quieter, compared with life in a big city. Life is a bit more anonymous in Antwerp and it allows me to look at fashion as an outsider, which I find more interesting. I maintain a healthy distance and it gives me different perspectives for creating my own work.”
“It also allows the city to have an impact on you. Sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, it’s automatic. As a fashion designer I reflect what I see and feel to some extent, so sometimes I find myself thinking of the Scheldt when designing a dress. Antwerp is also no-nonense. In Paris, sometimes, there is a lot of brouhaha about a small detail. Here in Antwerp, things move fast and the blab la factor is less obvious. In Antwerp, you always feel grounded, which is a nice experience: it may not be a world city when it comes to size, but it is very worldly. You have all the advantages of a big city, everything is in close proximity and while there is a healthy dose op open-mindedness, the melting pot of influences is still manageable.
“That is precisely why Antwerp is a good breeding ground, where fashion designers are trained, by the fashion academy on the one hand, but also because you easily get to know interesting people in a small city. You constantly see students of the academy gladly working with young photographers, using dancers of the Royal Ballet of Flanders as their models, and so on. In Paris, the city is so big that nobody ever leaves their own quartier. Here, however, the cross-pollination is a fact of life; it is a perfect breeding ground for people with a creative streak.”
Story created on March 7, 2013