Installing mid-century hospital beds in a store might be an eerie concept for a fashion label, yet it all begins to make sense in the hands of A.F. Vandevorst – the Antwerp-based designer duo, whose fascination with austerity and utilitarian clothing has granted them a firm spot on the Paris schedule for the last 11 years. Their guerilla store AKTION I launched with a big bash in Antwerp last Thursday.
“At first we wanted to open a big concept store” explains Filip Arickx of the idea. “But after seeing so many derelict spaces in Antwerp, we thought it would be a shame not to make use of them.” Conceived as a three month venture, the store is located in the city’s Volksstraat and brings to life all the elements that made Arickx and An Vandevorst succesful in the first place.
There is a reference to hospitals in antique sick beds and glass cabinets, which were borrowed from Dr. Guislain Museum in Ghent, and which here, display military-inspired holdalls and felt jackets – a reference to the couple’s ongoing fascination with the artist Joseph Beuys. Meanwhile, utilitarian ideas play through the genius idea of a store dumpster, where customers can deposit their worn out clothes. “We’re going to duplicate the best pieces” says Arickx. “It’s like an exchange. and those who we picked are going to get a piece in return!”
Aside from showcasing A.F.’s women’s collection, Nightfall (lingerie) and Fetish (footwear line), the store’s opening also coincides with the news of the launch of their new collection A. Friend, which promises jersey pieces at only a fraction of the main line price. A. F. Vandevorst AKTION I will remain open the 31st of March with plans to move to another city afterwards.
A.F. Vandevorst AKTION I, Volksstraat 29-31, Antwerpopen until March 31.