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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Red Light Shines On Dutch Fashion

Ask anyone to give you one or two words they would associate with Amsterdam and it is highly likely that this person will say (something associated with) drugs or sex. I lived in Amsterdam as a student and these two lone associations with the city were frustrating. The position on living in Amsterdam to those mostly young who did not live there was that lifestyle would entail the drug or sex lifestyle they associated with the city. Certainly the tolerant approach of the Dutch toward drugs and sex is evident in the centre of the city, however there was plenty more to the city than this. Amsterdam offers other entertainment through its dynamic culture of the arts, entertainment and fashion.

Since 2004 fashion in Amsterdam has made its official mark with the creation of the biannual Amsterdam International Fashion Week which has placed the inspirational city on the fashion map. Subsequently it is clear that Amsterdam is recognized for more than just its tolerance of the sex culture. Yet what if both of these celebrated aspects of the city merged? How would one begin to combine the Red Light District with fashion?

HTNK a fashion consultancy and recruitment agency was invited by the City of Amsterdam to design a concept for a window area which it was renting out in the Red Light for the usage of the creative industry. A section of windows usually rented for the use of prostitutes to sell their services is now on loan to Dutch designers to present their creations for one year.

There is a diverse selection of fashion pieces being exhibited in the windows offering displays from couture to ready to wear street fashion. The distinguished designers displaying their pieces are undoubtedly appreciative of the space to advertise their work.

This merge of the fashion world with the sex world in the most famous Red Light District in the world (I swear I’m not biased) demonstrates the creative ways in which fashion can be showcased. As well as this the fashion world is opening its doors and windows to perhaps a new audience who did not previously feel part of it.

Particular individuals may think of the Red Light District as somewhat sleazy, but this use of window space in the area may give people the chance to think that there is more to it than a beautiful girl standing in a window waiting for someone to want her services.

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