Dutch fashion is making an impression worldwide through brands such as G-star, NIKKIE and Gsus, while also being the gateway and European headquarters for international brands like Nike. The country is known for its focus on denim and relationship with textiles, this is why London College of Fashion Fashion Management and Amsterdam Fashion Institute collaborate every year on a student exchange.
MSc Strategic Fashion Management and BSc Fashion Management students travelled to Amsterdam for a three-day visit to the city. The students focused on denim culture and the city’s relationship with it, gained vital experience in the running of international fashion in mainland Europe and researched how branding interacts with consumer perception in the continent.
The trip helps the students to establish a global focus and perspective, which will be important as Britain and European embark on potentially shaky exit negotiations. We spoke to Anna Davis, first-year BSc Fashion Management student, to hear her thoughts on Dutch fashion and what lessons she learned from the trip.
As a first year student in the first term of Fashion Management, the opportunity to experience a new culture in a different country was amazing. Visiting Amsterdam Fashion Institute and comparing it to London College of Fashion broadened my perspective on the different approaches to the fashion industry.
It was interesting that the business students at AMFI spend time studying the process of fashion design – drawing, constructing, and thinking the way a designer thinks. Understanding these mental and physical processes allow students to progress through university with a well-rounded mind and approach, as they can appreciate first-hand the different aspects of the industry. The environment of AMFI was upbeat and culturally diverse similar to Amsterdam itself, which was booming with life.
The knowledge I gained from our trip to Amsterdam is beneficial and can be applied to my university education at LCF. The retail research journey task we were assigned forged a new way of thinking when analysing store environments, as FMM students have to focus on the levels of technology displayed and utilised in store, and draw conclusions as to how this applied technology benefited the brands. London is one of the most modern, technologically advanced cities in the world, and while the retail landscape of the Netherlands differs from that of the UK, the methods of analysis we used in the completion of our Retail Research task can be transferred to the UK market.
Claudia Sträter, the Dutch brand I focused on, was very conceptual and lifestyle driven. A pattern that frequently appeared in Amsterdam. Similar to London, I found Amsterdam to be as modern in its approach to retail, as it was traditional to its culture and values.
The trip taught me that fashion is defined more by different cultures and people than it is by trends and brands. As a Fashion Management Student, I returned to London with the knowledge of other business environments, which going forward will be beneficial as fashion is a global industry. Although the curriculum of the courses offered at AMFI and LCF were different, the environments were similar, as there was a common thread of intellectual creativity in both environments of acceptance and talent. I left the denim capital with a more open mind and a much heavier carry-on, those thrift stores were so good!
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