Compound design identities, one collective. Leaving the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2013, Dutch designers Anouk Van Klaveren, Christa van der Meer and Gino Anthonisse, Dewi Bekker decided to not only stay in touch but also join forces. The outcome couldn’t be more mind-blowing as ‘Das leben am Haverkamp’ made it their mission to give a new dimension to fashion and challenge the industry in every possible way.
“Welcome to our island spaceship disjointed, from time and space, which could all of a sudden land at a prestigious museum, or right in front of you at your local supermarket, but never as you expect.” The message is as loud as it is clear: according to ‘Das leben am Haverkamp’, fashion is more fun when separated from conventions and restrictions, surprising and mesmerizing anyone, anywhere, any time.
While their intentions are set, combining four different mind-sets ought to be a challenging phenomenon. However in this case it appears to function in their benefit, using their differences as an empowerment. Where Christa focuses on combining aspects of different cultures, Gino intertwines classic with ethnic. Anouk explores the alienation of the body and Dewi brings in the playful, imaginary aspect. All this combined, it seems the general theme of ‘Das leben am Haverkamp’ is playing with the tension between normality and abnormality, causing a spectacle of surrealistic images, uncharted silhouettes, and unseen fabric combinations, forming a entirety that is as astounding as it is coherent.
Their latest project breaths the philosophy they’ve meticulously created over the past two years. Ornamenting an aged man from top to bottom and putting him on stage for Mercedes-Benz Amsterdam Fashion Week was unquestionably the most unconventional act of the week. They baptized it Gelificifashion, another delightfully weird piece of work to join a collection of lightning glasses and Leggo trousers, fish sculptures and hair art. Quite a portfolio if you ask me.
Presenting one collection a year collectively, ‘Das leben am Haverkamp’ aims to make people more aware of the value of clothing and discard the interpretation of it as a disposable item. As the rest of their time will be occupied by focusing on collaborations and smaller, more experimental projects, we ought to see a lot more from the designers in the future, whether that is as team or as individuals.