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Dutch Design Duo Klavers Van Engelen

A profile of an up and coming Dutch fashion partnership.

Dutch fashion has often been labeled as being highly conceptual. Niels Klavers definitely contributed to that image when he made his memorable entry in the fashion world back in ‘98. We remember his window display at Colette with this bizare jacket featuring multiple sleeves. That was right after snatching up the Grand Prix in Hyères.

Astrid van Engelen was called to his assistence when all of a sudden the whole world wanted a piece of his surreal tailoring. Astrid and Niels turned out to be two of an exceptional kind finding inspiration in abstract themes like a ball of paper or the wind. Their couture creations turned out to be highly collectible for fashion afficionados around the globe and the art world jumped to the occasion to add fashion to their vocabulary.

Since Niels Klavers had so quickly established a name in the fashion world it took the designer couple some time to officially add Van Engelen to the label. Astrid van Engelen entered The Rietveld Academy for the Arts in Amsterdam in the same year as when Niels Klavers graduated there. Niels in the mean time started working on his label and enrolled in the ArtEZ masterprogramme at the Fashion Institute Arnhem. As a team Klavers and Van Engelen built a promising brand for several years until in 2003, they decided to stall the label for a while and rethink their steps. Niels Klavers and Astrid van Engelen took on teaching positions at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and the Design Academy in Eindhoven, working for various commercial labels and other free lance projects in between.

Four years later, and four years richer in experience, Niels and Astrid found themselves right back where they always wanted to be; re-launching their label Klavers van Engelen with a preview during the Arnhem Fashion Biennale in the summer of 2007. Two months later Niels Klavers and Astrid van Engelen won the Mercedes- Benz Dutch Fashion Award, which was held for the first time in Amsterdam. The international jury headed by Maria Luisa Poumaillou voted unanimously for the Klavers van Engelen come-back collection. It took a while since that initial win in Hyères but finally the name Klavers van Engelen is making a whole lot of sense.