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Photos by Otto Vankerkhove

Royal Academy Antwerp

The prestigious Belgian fashion school showcases the next generation of top designers

The longest weekend for the students at the Royal Academy in Antwerp has passed, their annual three day show has brought again all the magic that everyone anticipates. The hot new wave of designers like Peter Pilotto, Alexandra Vershueren, Yuima Nakazato, Elise Gettliffe and so many others prove that the school is not only acclaimed because of the Antwerp six, but that the level of quality is high and any of the new graduates could be part of the already famous Made in Belgium. Dazed talks to some of the students about their collections and the future...

Johan åkesson
How old are you and where are you from?
I'm 27 and come from Sweden.
What’s the concept behind your collection?
Everything is temporary. What caught my attention and became my base of this collection is the world’s collapse, which was clear with the world economic crises. The world we live in is standing on very thin pillars. The thought has brought me to the fact that all we are left with is love. But also this is temporary in many cases. The inspiration came through a book by Allan de Botton. “The study of love” Which describes a relationship from beginning to end. The idea is that the relationship inspires the colour, the colours inspire the shape and the shape is describing the colour’s temperature. The only people that live in extreme heat and cold are the turrets, in the dessert. They are also nomads and so their habitat is also temporary. They carry everything with them, therefore the backpacks with plants; which also are temporary.
Who is your favourite designer?
Hm, really difficult. But I must say Rick Owens.
What kind of fabrics do you use?
Sense the base of my collection was the collapse of the world I decided to only work with fabrics that we find in nature. Which means wool, cotton and leather.
What plans do you have for the future?
I don't know really. I have to step back and see what's possible. I would like to find a job with a designer to get the experience that I need.                                    

Niels Peeraer
How old are you and where are you from?                                                          
I am 21 years old and born in small town in Belgium.                          
What’s the concept behind your collection?                                           
The concept is 'kuzokusyakai no dorei, geisha n°58-65' it is Japanese for 'slave of the aristocracy'. That in the future the aristocracy has personal geisha's, living with them as pets. Then digit refers to a rank, to show there is a limit. It is only for the gifted ones who still own the feelings of the old days. Most people forgot about colors, taste and feelings because they only care about technology, money.                                                                 
Who is your favourite designer?                                                               
That’s a difficult one for me as it is constantly changing. But whom I keep being interested in is Dries van Noten, Damir Doma.                                  
What kind of fabrics do you use?                                                              
Fake fur, leather, wool, silk, fine cotton, knitted wool, elastic (normal used for corsets). I am someone who prefers working with natural fabrics rather then synthetic ones.                                                                                      
Plans for the future?                                                     
Gain life experience as I am still 21 and I want some inspiration-backupBefore I start designing. Most of all I want to create. If that is designing for a fashion house, designing for myself:I don't know yet. I know I am dedicated and I love to push myself so I know I am not going to settle for the easy options. Now my interest goes to Asia so I might want to try to work there for a while.

Maja Zupancic
How old are you/where are you from
28. I am from Slovenia.
What’s the concept behind the Collection?
Last summer I have read the book by André Breton, Nadja, which evoked so many ideas and images in my mind. First line: “Who am I?” and the last “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all”. The story is based on Breton’s brief relationship with an actually young woman (Nadja), who is mad. But her madness is a fascination, a gift. I tried to translate mind distortion into the body. I was really inspired by the early photos of André Kertész and sculptures of Berlinde de Bruyckere. My main Form research was based on works of Anish Kapoor. I wanted to translate his perception of space onto the body, creating jewellery pieces that deform the body. I was also looking a lot at 16th century anatomy drawings…
Who is your favourite designer?
I guess it is about the “sub gender” of fashion.Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann and Helmut Lang, Bruno Pieters…
And the amazing heritage of Yves Saint Laurent...
What plans you have for the future?
Right now I am so overwhelmed with the now, that I cant search for any clues for the near future… my ultimate goal is to continue developing and challenging my creativity and share it with special people.

Tomohiro Tokita
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 30 and Japanese.
What’s the concept behind the Collection?
My collection inspiration came from special visual effect, which is used for the SF movies. That’s why my collection title is "Sci-Fi”. To express Sci-Fi, I tired to use special zips, which were used last year collection just used for the detail decoration. I used zips, which goes around the sleeve and body. If you open the zips, sleeve and body disappear the shape as it is. Even open zips, sleeve and body parts disappear, it can be worn by wrapping. I tried to think.About that clothing can be worn both closed zip and opened zips. This year, I tired to use zips more wearable way and more function way.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t know yet... But I want to work!
What materials have been used?                                                                                   
I used lot of synthetic fabrics this year and I used sponges for the protective parts.