Walter Van Beirendonck

I decided to look at the Antwerp Six and then chose my favourite designer amongst them to look at in- depth.

Firstly I want to look at the Antwerp six.  As a fashion city Antwerp owes its reputation to the pioneers of the fashion movement by the form of the ‘Antwerp Six’ this includes: Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee who travelled to London and Paris together in the Eighties, (N/A,2008). The group of Belgian designers emerged in the summer of 1987. They are all alumni of the city’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and have individually produced works that are  avant-garde and intellectual. It is however impossible to define them by one over all aesthetic. (Venessa Lau, 2010)

“I Brake for Twerps” was a feature story in a special July supplement called Scene. Image below:

Walter Van Beirendonck

In 1982, two years after the completion of his studies, Van Beirendonck presented his first collection, Sado, named after his white bull terrier. His use of leather, muzzles and whips immediately caused a good deal of controversy in his own country. after the completion of his studies, Van Beirendonck presented his first collection, Sado, named after his white bull terrier. His use of leather, muzzles and whips immediately caused a good deal of controversy in his own country. (Luc Derycke and Sandra Van De Veire, 1999 )

His first breakthrough was at the British Designer Show in London in 1987 as part of the Antwerp Six with his ‘bad baby boys’ collection. Since 1983, he has his own collections under the label Walter Van Beirendonck. Walter has been inspired for his designs by art, music and literature, all mixed with ethnic an nature influences, wild colour and the interplay between body-hugging and loose forms have always been trademarks of his exuberant, often-political collections.  (Walter’s weaves, 2011) For his fall Winter 2011-12 collection, he envisaged ‘Hand on heart’, street-casting African models for a high-impact statement of dark skin against rainbow and pastel-hued clothing. Standout details included floral jacquards, beaded scarves and a myriad of shaggy knitwear in gradient tones. (Walter’s weaves, 2011)

His styles are outlandish and attention grabbing. some interesting twists he has included into shows include Some of Walter’s models had to fall from the catwalk in the Paris Lido. Two collections I found particularly interesting was his Sex clown summer 2008 collection. The models are static on small podiums and viewers are allowed to walk around the models and view the work at their own leisure. what I find interesting about it is the concept, the colour and avant garde shape and the creative madness/ genius of this collection.


N/A. (2008). The Antwerp Six.Belgian city of fashion makers. Available: Last accessed 30th April 2011.

Venessa Lau. (2010). Moment 54: The Antwerp Six. Available: Last accessed 30th April 2011.

Luc Derycke and Sandra Van De Veire. (1999 ). Belgian fashion design. Available: Last accessed 30th April 2011.

Walter’s weaves. (2011). Walter van Beirendonck. Available: Last accessed 30th April 2011.


2000s: Music

Popular music of the United Kingdom in the noughties continued to expand and develop new sub-genres and fusions. While talent show contestants such as Will Young and Leona Lewis were one of the major forces in pop music. British soul maintained and even extended its high profile with figures like Joss Stone and Amy Winehouse, while a new group of singer/songwriters, including KT Tunstall and James Blunt, achieved international success. New forms of dance music emerged, including grime and Dubstep. There was also a revival of garage rock and post punk, which when mixed with electronic music produced new rave.

In the era of post Brit Pop, bands such as Travis, Radiohead and Elbow succeeded in the British Music Industry. The most commercially successful band in this new revitalised Brit Pop genre was Coldplay, their debut album Parachutes achieved a multi platinum status.

2000s: World Events

The turn of the millennium saw a variety of global events which changed the world and the newly established international order after the Cold War. By far the most striking event of the noughties was the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. These attacks killed nearly 3000 civilians and led to the USA declaring a ‘War on Terror’; stating that ‘you are either with us of against us’. This in turn led to a vast international campaign led by the Americans to stop the ‘Axis of Evil’.

The election of Barack Obama was another defining event of the noughties. The senator from Chicago became the first African-American President of the United States in 2009.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics saw various world records being broken such as Michael Phelps winning 14 gold medals (the most any Olympiad has ever one at one games) and Usain Bolt of Jamaica dominating the male sprinting events winning 3 gold medals and breaking a world record in the 100m.

2000s: Chavs!

The Chav phenomenon escalated in the noughties with the stereotype becoming the face of the British white working class. The word chav is an acronym for ‘council house and violent’, which epitomises the two main characteristics of the sub culture.

Chavs had a disastrous effect on the fashion industry particularly Burberry. The sub culture adopted the luxury brand as their trademark feature. The iconic Burberry tartan soon lost all its prestigious status as more and more chavs began to wear clothing with the tartan displayed. As a result of this Burberry went through a major rebranding to distance themselves from the chavs which had adopted their label as their hallmark.

The Chav culture soon became the main topic of satire in the noughties with various comedians and musicians making fun of the sub culture to amuse the public. The BBC comedy show ‘Little Britain’ took the stereotype to create the much loved character Vicky Pollard with her catchphrase ‘yeah but… no but’. The Welsh band ‘Goldie Lookin’ Chain’ also tapped into the Chav culture to create a popular comedic music group.

1990s: Brit Pop Domination

Brit Pop emerged from the UK independent music scene in the early 1990s and was characterized by bands influenced by the British guitar pop genre well known in the sixties and seventies. In the wake of British invasion from the American grunge scene bands such as Blur and Oasis positioned themselves as an opposing musical force.

At the height of its popularity a rivalry between Blur and Oasis became the subject of media attention with both bands battling for success in the UK charts. The band initially praised each other but as the years went on their hostility for each other grew. The Battle of Brit Pop at its height drifted away from music and unintentionally became a battle of class and regional division: Oasis representing the north and Blur the south.

1990s: The End of Thatcher and the Rise of New Labour.

The start of the 1990’s saw the end to the Thatcherite era which dominated the 1980’s. Thatcher resigned in 1990 after her leadership being challenged by Michael Heseltine and because of widespread opposition to her introduced community charge.

John Major (a key figure in the Thatcher administration) hoped to breathe new life into the Conservative Party after securing the 1992 general election. Major did not succeed in maintaining the Tories longevity and failed to secure the 1997 general election being defeated by Tony Blair. This saw the end of the 18 year Conservative rule. The party had been given a new breath of life under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson: ‘New Labour’ shaped the next decade of British politics.

1990’s Rave scene


noun /rāv/
raves, plural

  • An extremely enthusiastic recommendation or appraisal of someone or something
    • – their recent tour received rave reviews
  • A lively party or gathering involving dancing and drinking
    • – their annual fancy-dress rave
  • A party or event attended by large numbers of young people, involving drug use and dancing to fast, electronic music
  • Electronic dance music of the kind played at such events

The rave scene very much came from the Acid House scene of the late 1980s. Acid House being a derivative of house music which added a repetitive beat with elements of trance. Acid House has its origins in Chicago where the first supposed Acid House record was created.

Acid House continued to remain prominent throughout the 90’s rave scene with the emblem and predominant logo of the culture being a yellow smiley face symbol which was commonly associated with Acid House

This stemmed into the early 1990’s and gave birth to the whole ‘Rave’ movement.  By 1991 many notable rave orientated organisations such as Fantazia, Universe, Raindance and Amnesia House were holding massive legal raves in fields, warehouses, abandoned buildings and any other expanse of space would prove the perfect venue. This started local councils passing laws andincreasing fees to stop and generally discourage any rave organisations from acquiring licenses needed.

The happy old skoolstyle was replaced by the darker jungle and the faster happy hardcore.

For a ‘raver’ going to a rave was not just about the music, it was about the fashion. A mixture of neon colours, tye-dye, bum bags and the smiley face logo was the raver’s trademark. It seemed a statement of standing out within the confines of a club and emulate the neon or strobe lighting of club scenes.

Drug taking was fairly prominent allowing ravers to continue dancing well into the night and was very recreational and prominent within the subculture.

Often the drug of choice was ecstasy usually in tablet form but MDMA, a derivative of ecstasy was also taking in powder form which held stimulant properties. Recreational Ecstasy use spread worldwide, beginning on the holiday island of Ibiza in Spain. Ectasy tablets were often branded to create an image, sell better and to give it a designer drug image as well as encouraging brand loyalty.