The Hague’s fashion graduates reveal their final gesture

We talk dreams and designs at the KABK.

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The Fashion & Textile department of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague has been heralded for its challenging programme, offering students the expertise and skill to take their concepts and designs to another level. Last Saturday the academy’s latest talents presented their final collections, wrapping up four years of incredibly hard work. Glamcult was present to chat to the designers—discussing the whys and hows of studying fashion design, but most of all: what’s next?

Glamcult_KABK_Thalonja_Slui

Thalonja Slui

What’s the title of your collection? And what does it stand for?

Out of Touch is based on schizophrenia and the sense of losing reality. I hope to convey a message that although you might be suffering from a mental illness, the world you experience is still complete. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Which [design] skill do you believe to have mastered over the four years?

I don’t believe that I have ‘mastered’ a specific skill yet. I would say the skills I am quite good at are technical drawing and shape innovation.

Why is it important for the industry to support young designers in 2017?

It’s important to support talent. It allows for new views and perspectives. Without support, new views can’t be explored nor created.

If you could ask the Fashion Industry anything, and it would answer, what would that be?

“Hey, shall we go out sometime?”

How do you balance out the concept and the actual design? What’s more important?

I think the design was more important because the concept is not very visible in this specific collection. The concept was more a starting point. For me, it was important that the clothes were wearable and comfortable.

What’s your best advice for aspiring fashion students?

Some dedication and a good sleeping pattern go a long way. And have fun!

Glamcult_KABK_Rachel_Cheong

Rachael Cheong

Tell us about your collection.

We Know What You Are Hiding revolves around the idea that dolls as the keeper of secrets. They sit in your room, watch everything you do, know what you mutter in your sleep and know your deepest, darkest secrets.

What are you championing through your designs?

I like making people uncomfortable. My work should trigger some form of self-reflection. For example, why do dolls make people so uncomfortable? It has to do with a feeling of being watched, and the idea that a lifeless object has the power to see into your soul, to know things maybe you don’t even know yourself.

From the past four years spent at the KABK, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned? Any great memories you’d like to share?

To take a step back once in a while. In my second year I became completely overwhelmed with my work and had a mental block, thinking fashion design wasn’t for me. I decided to take two weeks off. That helped make me realize this was what I wanted to do. I just simply needed some time off from constantly thinking about work.

Which [design] skill do you believe to have mastered over the four years?

Design-wise, I learnt how important colour is. I wear a lot of black and I like working with concepts that have a darker undertone but it would be so dull if my work only involved darker colour schemes. I like the idea of darkness being deceptively colourful. There is a lot to explore with colour; it’s all about finding the right combination.

If you could ask the Fashion Industry anything and it would answer, what would that be?

“How did it all get so boring?”

How do you balance out the concept and the actual design? What’s more important?

I think both are very important. You may have brilliant concept but if people can’t feel it in your work then it’s all a waste and vice versa. I want to feel a connection; I want to know the underlying narrative.

If all of your dreams come true, where will we see you 10 years from now?

In the future, I see myself not just working as a fashion designer but also as an artist. I would have a successful art collective with my creative friends from all around the world. We would collaborate a lot and showcase our work in galleries, at festivals etcetera. I think I would also have my own label, working in a big house, accompanied by 10 black cats—and a personal chef! The chef has to be really good at making Singaporean cuisine.

What’s your best advice for aspiring fashion students?

Fashion is a team effort!

Glamcult_KABK_Veronika_Konvickova

Veronika Konvickova

What’s the title of your collection? And what does it stand for?

For Silent Wonderlust the relationship between silence and sound was my main source of inspiration. It involves the search to escape the constant motion of a busy life and never-ending noise. I would like to inspire people to seek more silence in their life and surroundings, to slow down and take more time to reconnect with their inner self.

From the past four years spent at the KABK, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned?

I think what is very beneficial is to collaborate with people from other creative fields. It is a great way to experiment and learn how to think about fashion in other ways.

Which [design] skill do you believe to have mastered over the four years?

Over the years I have experimented with a wide variety of materials, which I like to combine together to create something new. I also love to work on a mannequin.  Draping techniques brings me a lot of inspiration.

If you could ask the Fashion Industry anything and it would answer, what would that be?

“Can you please slow down?”

If all of your dreams come true, where will we see you 10 years from now?

At the top! :)

What’s your best advice for aspiring fashion students?

I would say just go for it, you can do it! Believe in yourself.

Glamcult_KABK_Roos_Boshart

Roos Boshart

What’s the title of your collection? And what does it stand for?

I am a slave of your perception, you are a slave of mine stands for the interaction between the body, the self and the other. Questions I explored were, amongst others, how do we perceive each other and how can we influence this? How does fashion play a role in how we see ‘the other’?

What are you championing through your designs? 

I want people to think for themselves. In my collection I make use of iconic and recognizable fashion pieces, but by showcasing them outside of their usual context or literally taking the air away—making a space void of matter—I allow people to form their own opinion of what’s presented. Which I, for example, conveyed through vacuumed items of clothing.

From the past four years spent at the KABK, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned?

I learned to stand for my own beliefs. KABK allowed me to realize that I have to stand for what I find important.

Why is it important for the industry to support young designers?

We are the future, and everyone should know how important the future is.

How do you balance out the concept and the actual design? What’s more important?

For me, this year the concept was the most important aspect of the design process. I believe, as a design student, this is the best time to work in a conceptual way, because you’re still operating within the safe confines of the academy whilst also having the opportunity to present your work to a broader audience.

What’s your best advice for aspiring fashion students?

Only start a fashion study if you have an obsessive love for what you do. If you have a passion, the fashion academy is the best place to develop yourself in both a personal and professional way.  

www.kabk.nl

Photography: Jan/Jorre