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A New Look For Antwerp

  • April 15th, 2007
  • Posted by Emma Cillekens

antwerp-fashion.jpgThe Belgian city of Antwerp is shaking off its “historical city” image in favour of a “new look”… Emma Cillekens writes from the famed old port in the country’s North.

Antwerp was once just a fairly small, beautiful city that tourists visited to see historical buildings, art and diamonds; however today the city offers a new alternative for tourists.

Fashion is the word on everyone’s lips, following a decision by the city’s tourism board to promote the area as “the city of fashion”.

A major contributor to the new image is the Mode Museum, internationally known as “MoMu,” which showcases fashion from Antwerp designers as well as historical collections owned by the museum.

Opened in 2002, “MoMu” has seen 450, 000 people pass through its doors.

Four years and eight themed exhibitions later, Leen Borgmans, the Communications Coordinator, believes the museum owes its success to forward thinking design and presentation elements.

“We don’t just put the clothes in boxes and that’s it; we make a story around it; we make a special theme and get signography that matches with theme. The fact that the clothes aren’t presented in boxes but presented in free space allows you to see the couture better.”

She says fashion is a large contributor to tourism in the area.

“I think fashion is quite important to the city; it’s really an item that Antwerp can use as a promotion on an international scale”

Ms Borgmans says the city could never achieve the recognition of Paris or London, but it has certainly earned its place on the fashion map.

Fashion enthusiasts in the streets of Antwerp seem to agree.

One small selection:

“Why do I come to Antwerp? To shop; I think you have a lot of stuff here that you don’t have where I live and that’s why we come to Antwerp.”

“I think the taste is great here.”

“Yeah there are a lot styles, different styles .. so its great to see people wearing different clothes.”

Ms Borgmans does believe that tradition retains its fair place.

“I think at the moment its still for the historical part of the city.

“We have lots of old buildings, we have lots of museums, but I think fashion is a part that needs to be promoted more”.