While Paris, Milan, and New York have long been hailed as the world’s fashion capitals, especially when considering the grandeur of fashion events held there, it’s important to acknowledge that the city of Antwerp, located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, has also earned a prominent place in the global fashion arena. Antwerp’s reputation as a fashion hub is intrinsically tied to the iconic Antwerp Six, a group of avant-garde designers who burst onto the international fashion scene in the 1980s, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s fashion landscape.
This weekend, I visited some of Antwerp’s amazing vintage shops and walked through the exhibition on Belgium’s designers. In this post, I’ll introduce you to the legendary Antwerp Six before sharing recommendations for three must-visit vintage stores in this charming city.
The Antwerp Six: A Fashion Revolution
The Antwerp Six was a group of six avant-garde designers who graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium, in the early 1980s. This eclectic group included Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Walter Van Beirendonck, Marina Yee, and Dirk Van Saene. Each member had a distinct design style and approach, but they all shared a common passion for pushing the boundaries of fashion.
During the early 1980s, the fashion world was largely dominated by established fashion capitals like Paris, Milan, and New York. However, the Antwerp Six challenged this status quo by introducing a new wave of creativity and originality. Their designs were unconventional, often incorporating elements of deconstruction, asymmetry, and unconventional materials.
One of the defining moments for the Antwerp Six was their collective fashion show in London in 1986. The show garnered widespread attention and established the group as pioneers of the avant-garde fashion movement.
While the Antwerp Six were often grouped due to their shared educational background and involvement in the London show, each designer had a unique style.
Their diverse approaches to fashion allowed them to stand out individually while contributing to the collective movement they represented.
The Antwerp Six left an incredible mark on the fashion industry, and their influence can still be seen today. Their willingness to challenge conventional design and embrace creativity opened doors for a new generation of designers to push the boundaries of fashion.
Several members of the Antwerp Six, such as Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester, established successful fashion labels that continue to thrive today. Their commitment to craftsmanship, innovation, and unique design perspectives continues to inspire both emerging and established designers.
In MoMu Antwerpen, the fashion museum in Antwerp, you can find a permanent exhibition on Belgium’s avant-garde fashion, including the Antwerp Six and other designers such as Raf Simons.
This vintage shop is located in the heart of Antwerp on Rosier Street. The store sells high fashion brands, like famous Belgian designers such as Dries van Noten, Maison Martin Margiela, and Raf Simons, and international brands like Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga, Celine, and many more.
This store offers an impressive collection of designer pieces, making it a must-visit destination for fashion enthusiasts! It is important to note that given the majority of items in the store come from high-end fashion brands, you should anticipate slightly higher prices compared to other vintage shops. Nevertheless, the experience of exploring the store and discovering remarkable pieces was so fun.
Think Twice operates a network of thrift shops known for their extensive selection of affordably priced second-hand clothing. With multiple locations spanning Antwerp and various other European cities, Think Twice has become a reliable destination for budget-conscious shoppers and vintage enthusiasts.
What makes Think Twice particularly intriguing is its sheer diversity of clothing. This store is a haven for those with a knack for discovering distinctive vintage gems within the abundance of garments on display. Moreover, Think Twice occasionally hosts special bargain days, such as the Saturday I happened to visit, where every single item in the store was priced at three euros!
Jutka & Riske
My final stop on the vintage shopping spree led me to Jutka & Riska. This was a tip from a fashionable tour guide, who said this was her favorite vintage shop in the whole of Antwerp. This store is a treasure trove of vibrant vintage pieces featuring a delightful mix of colors and even some designer items. What sets this store apart is that, in addition to vintage finds, they showcase their own unique designs crafted by their talented seamstresses. Beyond clothing, Jutka & Riske offers an array of accessories, including jewelry, sunglasses, and bags. The store also has two locations in Amsterdam, one in Haarlem, and one in Berlin.
All pictures contain a link to their source, and all credits go to the rightful owners.
The header picture is my own.