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A fashionable fall: Four unmissable fashion and design events in Brussels

09:23 03/10/2020

From runway shows and design markets to exhibitions and workshops, the Belgian capital’s autumn season offers everything fashion and design aficionados could wish for.

Brussels Fashion Week From 4 to 7 October

Like many industries, the fashion world has taken quite a hit during the pandemic, with countless runway shows and entire seasonal collections being cancelled. Brussels Fashion Week, a fairly new initiative that’s only in its second year, wants to support the shaken sector while at the same time raising questions and offering ideas about what the future of fashion could look like. The event, taking place all over the city, will bring together not only fashion designers but filmmakers, photographers and other creative minds. There’s of course no fashion week without the classical catwalk shows, plus an upcycling workshop, a conference on sustainability and innovation, a political catwalk: a project designed to invite young people to look at politics and democracy in a new way by letting students design fashion for politicians. Until now, Antwerp has been the Belgian city with the longstanding reputation as the country’s fashion mecca – but now that Brussels boasts its own fashion week, will the capital catch up?

Brussels Fashion and Lace Museum-Masculinités exhibition

Masculinities at the Fashion and Lace Museum Until 13 June

Just last month, Belgian designer darling Raf Simons, who launched his own menswear label in 1995 and then worked for Jil Sander, Christian Dior and Calvin Klein, saw the fashion world raving about his first collection as co-creative director of Prada. And he’s not the only Belgian who came to fame for men’s fashion beyond the borders of his home country (think Dries Van Noten or Walter Van Beirendonck). Nevertheless, Brussels’ Fashion and Lace Museum is the first institution delving into the vast and diverse subject of male attire, from the 18th century to today. Titled “Masculinities”, the exhibition (pictured, above) explores how what men wear is tied to the notion of masculinity throughout history. Besides Belgian designers, the show includes creations by international superstars such as Hedi Slimane, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani and Comme des Garçons. While you’re there, we recommend making a stop at the Lace Room, entirely dedicated to the ancient craft that has a strong tradition in Belgium.

Mad Sales (2019)

Mad Sales 20 and 21 November

The fashionistas among you most certainly already know this: Twice a year, MAD, a Brussels platform supporting the Belgian fashion and design sector, hosts special sales events promoting local fashion creators. This year, the organisers are widening the scope. The next edition, taking place in November, will include the entire design genre, meaning you won’t just be able to get your hands on clothes, shoes and accessories but also other beautiful creations from furniture pieces to decorative objects. The event, which has the feel of a chic market, gives Belgian designers an important opportunity to promote their collections while shoppers benefit from friendly prices. If your wardrobe is already full, the stunning MAD building alone, a gem of contemporary architecture, is reason enough to make a visit.

Brussels Design Museum Belgian Design

(Un)locked at Design Museum Brussels  Until 15 November

It’s official: as of this autumn, Brussels has its very own design museum. Formerly known as ADAM (Art and Design Atomium Museum), the institution has transformed itself into what is now called Design Museum Brussels, notably the only one in the capital. Two fascinating exhibitions ring in the new era. “(Un)locked” is a play of words referring to the recent lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and gathers a selection of objects which are usually “locked down”, confined in storage rooms due to their sensitivity to light, humidity, or varying temperatures. Exceptionally on view are handpicked pieces from the Plastic Design Collection, such as sculptures and armchairs made from PU foam, plexiglass light installations, or a PVC and latex jacket. Additionally, the museum dedicated a space to the history of design in Belgium (pictured, above), where, as a sort of changing pop-up laboratory, creations from different periods enter a dialogue with the museum’s own collection. First up are pieces of modern and contemporary design from the King Baudouin Foundation, featuring elegant wooden and metal accessories from the 50s thought up by renowned Belgian designers Jules Wabbes, Jacques Dupuis, and Léon Stynen.

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Photo (main image): Design Museum Brussels (Un)locked