Activities DFF since 2000
The Dutch Fashion Foundation (DFF) emerges out of a growing need for the development of a Dutch fashion climate. Angélique Westerhof, co-creator and director of the master course Fashion Institute Arnhem, perceived that graduated fashion designers experienced difficulties in presenting collections on their own, starting their own label and creating a connection with the international fashion industry. She established the Dutch Fashion Foundation to activate a collective, self organizing Dutch fashion discipline. DFF is an independent, self generating non-profit organization, which is not subsidised by the government but works with structural subsidies on a project basis.
2000 – After perceiving the ambitions of graduated Dutch fashion designers and the problems they encounter, first steps are made in the recognition and acknowledgement of Dutch fashion by media, higher and lower governments, funds and international parties. A Dutch collective national fashion identity is actively stimulated.
In 2000 the ‘Defile sur l’Herbe’ presentation is organised, where the first generation of graduated Fashion Institute Arnhem-designers present themselves to specially invited international fashion journalists during the exhibition ‘Dutch Modernism’ at the Centraal Museum Utrecht. This presentation is internationally launched to give Dutch fashion a collective face. Also a special edition of the magazine DUTCH is developed completely focused on Dutch fashion through photo shoots with international top photographers.
2001 – The international campaign ‘Dutch Touch’ is launched to embed fashion designers in existing international structures. The importance of Dutch fashion as an export product is highlighted and an own international identity is created to emphasize the distinctiveness of Dutch designers in relation to other countries. ‘Dutch Touch’ starts in 2001 when DFF is invited to curate international contemporary fashion during the Rome fashion week alongside the traditional haute couture program.
2002 – In collaboration with management centre De Baak VNO-NCW several fashion exhibitions and presentations are organized to promote support and knowledge exchange between fashion designers and companies focused on management and commerce. ‘Fashion Villa‘ is a project organized by the Fashion Institute Arnhem with support of the Dutch Fashion Foundation, presenting a cultural interdisciplinary exchange between fashion design, photography, dance, video art, installations and design. ‘Summers Camp’ presents live installations and tableaux vivant.
2003 – The Dutch Fashion Foundation is officially introduced with the event ‘Moët & Chandon A Tribute to the Dutch Fashion Foundation’ highlighting the collections of five generations of designers graduated from the Fashion Institute Arnhem. 800 guests from the national and international media, business world, education and creative industry are present. ‘A Tribute to…’ proves as the first high-end fashion event in the Netherlands how much fashion talent exists on Dutch sole, and that it is possible to present this talent on a large scale to bring the Dutch fashion field together.
With an office in the World Fashion Centre in Amsterdam, DFF creates a base to organize fashion projects and to be a key figure between designers and other creatives. Part of the office is made into a showroom with collections of graduated fashion designers after requests by stylists to use the designs in photo shoots for Dutch and international magazines.
2004 – The Dutch Fashion Foundation is invited by the Netherlands Embassy to curate ‘WonderHolland’ in Rome; an interdisciplinary exhibition of sculptures, installations, photography, video art and fashion by Dutch designers, in honour of the centenary of the Netherlands Institute in Rome and officially opened by H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
In collaboration with five renowned European institutes such as Unit-F (Vienna), Central Saint Martins (London) and Flanders Fashion Institute (Antwerp) the first digital online fashion archive ‘Contemporary Fashion Archive’ is launched presenting the interaction between the European fashion fields, subsidised by the European Union.
During the very first Amsterdam Fashion Week DFF activates and curates a collective fashion show with upcoming Dutch fashion designers, focused on presenting creative innovation on this then commercial platform.
2005 – The ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign is continued with an extensive amount of fashion shows and interdisciplinary presentations in the fashion capitals Paris and New York. The aims is to explore international markets and introduce them to Dutch fashion, with the emphasis on creating and maintaining structural collaborations with local parties. For this project DFF received a subsidy of HGIS, the cultural part of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, being the first Dutch fashion organisation which receives this support.
Back home DFF connects fashion design with business through creative concepts such as the development of new uniforms for Transavia.com, the limited edition baby stroller Bugaboo by Bas Kosters and a specially designed collection for Miss Etam.
2006 – The first ‘Prelude’-fashion salon takes place in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz. Through this platform designers receive the opportunity to present their collections to the DFF- network of press, companies, and fashion and creative professionals. The ‘Prelude’ fashion salons are a fashion incubator platform consisting of an overall assistance and the possibility for a designer to participate in the fashion salons for four fashion seasons. The ‘Prelude’ fashion salons were held twice a year on the eve of the Amsterdam Fashion Week.
In collaboration with the World Fashion Centre in Amsterdam ‘TH+ FLOOR’ is created; an entire floor for fashion design studios, a pr-unit with showroom, and overall meeting point. More than 1000 square meter offers designers and upcoming brands a home.
2007 – The start of the annual ‘Dutch Fashion Awards’: a focus and celebration moment for the state of affairs in contemporary Dutch fashion in relation to foreign fashion markets. An international jury judges and advices a group of Dutch fashion labels who are taking a first step in exploring international fashion markets. The nominees are appointed by the collective Dutch fashion field and receive the chance to be awarded financial or consortium prizes of high value to further develop their band strategy.
‘Dutch Touch Rome 2007’ takes place with support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Netherlands Embassy in Rome. The campaign continues to implement Dutch fashion into a high quality market. The main focus of the ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign develops from a cultural into a economical embedment.
2008 – After the first edition of the ‘Dutch Fashion Awards’ in 2007 the jury members became immediately enthused about the potential of the nominated designers and opened up their network to DFF to offer the designers possibilities to further develop their international growth. After requests from Milan, ‘Dutch Touch Milan’ is organized, focussing on the development of long-term relations in collaboration with local parties.
2009 – To accommodate the ambitions of the designers in further developing their label, ‘Dutch Touch’ expands its focus in Paris and Milan on sales, matchmaking and sourcing, besides creating visibility and knowledge exchange, to strengthen the position of Dutch fashion and the labels of the designers on a structural level. It is a natural, collective transition from a cultural to an economic level.
2010 – DFF suspends the ‘Prelude’-fashion salons because of a swift in the priorities of the designers: their ambition to further develop themselves internationally. With the support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs the ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign as part of the ‘2g@there fashion’-program can structurally continue on fashion trade fairs in Paris, Milan and Florence with 36 Dutch womenswear, menswear and accessory labels, with the focus on brand development and international positioning.
2011 – ‘Dutch Touch’ is launched extensively with the presence on womenswear and meanswear trade fairs in Milan, Florence, Paris and a fashion presentation held at the residence of the Dutch Ambassador in Rome. The Dutch fashion field is given feed-back of gained knowledge and experience through ‘Dutch Touch Coming Home’ in collaboration with the Modefabriek trade fair.
As an addition to the annually held ‘Dutch Fashion Awards’, the special fashion walking route ‘Residence de la Mode’ is organised together with shops and exhibitions throughout the city centre of The Hague.
2012 – Together with the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the Dutch Fashion Foundation organizes the ‘Cultuurfonds Modestipendium’: a financial injection of €50.000,- granted annually to a different Dutch fashion label which, because of its established reputation and maturity, doesn’t qualify for other financial injections provided by other Dutch funds. The Dutch Fashion Foundation facilitates the selection process, counsels the receiver and realizes the granting ceremony.
Alongside the fashion fields of Milan, Paris and Florence, ‘Dutch Touch’ also explores Berlin. In the Netherlands a presentation of Dutch designers is held during the ‘TedX Binnenhof’-event which is attended by Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. The sixth and last edition of the ‘Dutch Fashion Awards’ is organized with the support of the city of The Hague.
2013 – Now that the structural support of the Ministry of Economic Affairs for the ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign has ended, the Dutch Fashion Foundation sustains contact with the network that was build up in Italy over the past years and continues the ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign with a ‘Fashion and Food Experience’ in the Hotel Savoy during the fashion week of Florence.
In the Netherlands DFF organizes five thematic ‘A String of Pearls’-events at the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht hotel, each time presenting an individual Dutch label to a select group of guests during an exclusive lunch and gathering. It’s a small-scale continuation of the ‘Prelude’-fashion salons which the Dutch Fashion Foundation organized in the city centre of Amsterdam during 2006 and 2009.
2014 – DFF is back during the fashion week of Florence with the ‘Dutch Touch Fashion and Music Experience’. In the Netherlands the gained knowledge of the ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign, and the network that was build up, is shared with the Dutch fashion field through the ‘2014 Fashion Symposium’. During the symposium key note speakers reflected together with a public of 200 designers, students, creatives, media and policy makers on the international and historical developments in the fashion industry. Main speaker was Floriane de Saint Pierre of the eponymous fashion headhunter agency in Paris.
2015 – For the third time a get-together is organized between fashion designers and the Italian network in Hotel Savoy in Florence, this time Dutch designers present themselves during the ‘Dutch Touch Fashion and Photography Experience’.
The ‘So Dutch Fashion’-showroom on ‘TH+ FLOOR’ in the World Fashion Centre closes: in the previous years several PR-agencies started profiling upcoming Dutch designers in their showrooms, this way expanding the initial role of the showroom. The Dutch Fashion Foundation office is also closed. The DFF-projects are mainly organized by freelance employees and a permanent base becomes redundant. DFF becomes a mobile institute, similar to the way the DFF-projects were organized in the early years. ‘TH+ FLOOR’ remains an existing concept which since 2006 has been an important springboard for many designers, and still offers a home to design studios.
2016 – In 2016 a study is conducted commissioned by the Amsterdam Noord city district named: ‘Amsterdam Noord, district for creators and fashion’, in which the city district was explored as a location for fashion companies.
For the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) a final report is drawn up about the ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign which describes the developments of the participating Dutch fashion labels between 2010 and 2015. With 22 collective presentations, 36 labels positioned themselves on fashion trade fairs in Paris, Milan and Florence. Seven labels have been able to master a firm international market position. By the end of 2015 these labels had 25 or more points of sale and operated independently in the international markets. Participating in the ‘Dutch Touch’- missions abroad and the ‘Dutch Touch’-presentations in the Netherlands have played an important role for many of these labels. A total of 50 Dutch fashion designers participated in the ‘Dutch Touch’-campaign, whereby the designers were guided and supported by the Dutch Fashion Foundation.
2017 – The ‘Cultuurfonds Modestipendium‘ was granted for the 7th time to support a Dutch fashion label. The designers who are considered for this grant are mostly independent labels who are standard bearers for Dutch fashion design and Dutch culture through their consistent design and research. A development platform for talent and a financial injection are still necessary for a label to keep continuing a (inter)national strategy.
The Dutch Fashion Foundation keeps communicating with fashion designers and stake holders from the Dutch fashion field. It becomes clear that the needs of established, as well as upcoming, Dutch fashion designers are shifting. A new generation of upcoming designers have a need for DFF’s knowledge, experience and network. A new policy and strategy is conducted which can support designers in this individually as well as collectively. The management and records are streamlined and the policy is approved by a newly formed board.
2018 – The granting ceremony of the 8th edition of the ‘Cultuurfonds Modestipendium‘, which is organized together with the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, takes place in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Bas Kosters is the recipient and presents his latest collection with an interdisciplinary art installation. After the ceremony the installation was opened to the museum public, in this way creating an interaction between art and fashion, showing that the role of fashion further develops from exclusive to inclusive.
2019 – Dutch fashion designer Erik Frenken is the recipient of the 9th edition of the ‘Cultuurfonds Modestipendium’. The committee of the Cultuurfonds Modestipendium praised the perseverance and long-term vision of the designer. On Wednesday April 3rd 2019 Frenken received the ninth Cultuurfonds Modestipendium in the NewWerktheather in Amsterdam. Frenken also traditionally received the well known relay trophy designed by Atelier Ted Noten from his predecessor Bas Kosters.
2020/ 2021 – By growing along with the Dutch fashion designers and with its developed knowledge, expertise and network, the Dutch Fashion Foundation as fashion-incubator keeps responding to the developments in the contemporary fashion climate.