Slash
How One Culture Continues To Dominate The Design Industry

Take a deeper look at how and why the Dutch are a constistent powerhouse nation in the fashion world.

Plus Aziz
Plus Aziz on October 25, 2013. @plusaziz

As a pioneering culture in the world of design, we continue to see outstanding examples of consumer and conceptual products originating from  The Netherlands.

The work  of Dutch designers gained world recognition in the early 20th century, much of which is grounded in a modernist tradition (i.e. De Stijl), a tradition that is typified by simplicity, minimalism, functionality, and sparsity that enabled objects to convey ideas about society, nature, and even design itself. Since then, Dutch designers have moved into new forays of experimentation with products, materials, and lifestyle branding. As Dutch Design Week goes into full throttle in Eindhoven, we wanted to highlight some of the stellar work that is keeping them at the forefront of creative design.

Dutch Designers Are Driving Innovation in Conceptual Fashion

On the conceptual and experimental front, Dutch fashion designers like Iris van Herpen provide a great example of futuristic haute couture. A good portion of the textile concepts are inspired by natural phenomena like lightning bolts and botanical organisms, she regularly works with progressive creative thinkers (e.g. architect Julia Koerner, Prof. Neri Oxman). The images above captures the works of Dutch artists such Jólan van der Wiel who collaborated with Iris van Herpen to create a collection of magnetically grown couture, working with iron filings and molten plastic to grow shapes and forms. We also recently wrote about Iris van Herpen’s 3D printed collection, which was awarded by the Dutch Design Awards for best design in the fashion category.

Part of what inspires such conceptual work is good research. Marije Hellwich is a designer that caught our attention in this regard due to the focus on the psychological impact of fashion. Her research pays attention to social standards and creates a more fluid relationship to subcultures.

Maintaining the Heritage of Dutch Craftsmanship

MUJJO is a lifestyle brand that has been lauded for providing Dutch craftsmanship to the mobile generation; we did an extensive interview with them last year as they were one of the first companies to develop touchscreen gloves with high-end materials, reflecting a harmony between the traditional and modern (which is  characteristic of Dutch design). The ‘smart couture’ brand makes a wide array of handmade accessories that strike a balance between materials (e.g. cotton and leather, felt wool and leather). A recent product of theirs are the crocheted cotton touchscreen gloves with leather which combines lambskin cotton, fine leather, and nylon fibers (at the fingertips).

For a comprehensive perspective on how Dutch design is talked about today and its contribution to fields beyond fashion, download Dutch Design Week’s Trend Book and check out the video below, which we published in 2010.

Thinking...