Amsterdam Fashion Week: Squat in This!



Young Dutch designers LEW (it stands for Kim Leemans and Merel Wicker) held their untitled Fall/Winter presentation during Amsterdam International Fashion Week not in the main showing area, Westergasfabriek, but in the designer’s anti-squat studio in the Red Light District.

Anti-squats are, enviably enough, the government’s answer to controlling illegal squatting; they provide discounted housing in abandoned spaces. Not all inhabitants luck in to such charming spots as The Blue Boy, the former gay bar that now is home to the designers of LEW. The walls, covered in peeling paint and graffiti sketches from the turn of the Twentieth Century, house and inspire LEW’s designs. “When we came to the anti-squat it was very junky, and we loved the walls,” explained Wicker. The designers have added their own touch to the gray, tattered walls where they place photos of their styled looks, not to mention a Duran poster portrait featuring a Blue Boy in its own right.

The collection was full of silk and wool separates and a palette of mustards, red, forest green, and grays. Several accessories popped up, including cut-out clogs, picture frame necklaces and drawstring backpacks. LEW’s S/S 2010 collection had also been inspired by their surroundings, but Wicker concluded the new collection was an answer to the last, but with a “bit more peeled painting.” This came out in the strong prints of abstract paint, as well as court jester-like two-tones. As Wicker elaborated, “It’s more of a feeling of like making a painting—it’s not very determined what it should be like. It’s just paint, it’s just the feeling of colors, the flow of colors.”