Amsterdam Fashion Week began in 2004 as an initiative to put the city on the map as an international destination for all things ‘en vogue.’ Twice a year, this event brings together the core of the Dutch fashion world for a full slate of shows, trade fairs, presentations, lectures, and soirees.

franciscus van der meer

However, AFW isn’t devoted entirely to fashionistas eager to network and schmooze. This bi-annual gala throws open the doors of the Dutch fashion industry in order to celebrate the hard work of its designers while bringing the glamour of the catwalk to Amsterdam’s boulevards, bars, theatres, and boutiques for all to enjoy.

Public shows, exhibitions & events

DOWNTOWN’s programme includes public fashion shows, pop-up stores, markets, art exhibitions and parties galore. The aim of the event is to make each edition both increasingly accessible to the public and shine a light on the best the Dutch fashion world has to offer.

AFW 2013 highlights

Here’s our selection of highlights ready to strut their stuff at DOWNTOWN this July:

  • EAT.PATTERNS S/201: The most unusual (and edible) designs you’ll find at DOWNTOWN go on display at the Amsterdam Marriott. The five featured conceptual dresses are made entirely out of vegetables and fruits that reflect global trends in the food industry. Look for matching cocktails on the menu at the hotel’s bar too. 6 & 7 July.
  • Mad Men Vintage – Sewing workshop: Get inspired by the hit American TV show and design your own vintage skirt, apron, and/or other items at this workshop hosted by Linhard’s Marieke Hendriks. Are you a Betty? A Peggy? Or more of a Megan? Spots are limited. Sign up on the iektextiles website. 6 & 7 July.
  • An American in Paris & Live Show: Swedish luxury brand Gant takes you on a journey to Paris at their store on the Van Baerlestraat. Featured designer Jetske Rikkert from J!Design will present her unique ‘industrial paper’: gorgeous but also tough enough to handle a rainy day in the City of Light (or Amsterdam too). 6 & 7 July.
  • The Fashion Bazaar: AMF hosts this fashion market under the canopy of the Stedelijk Museum, offering a wide selection of products from food to fashion. The festivities are scheduled to kick-off with a ‘Beau Monde’ pop-up catwalk presented by design label Dorhout Mees. 7 July.
  • iNDiViDUALS By AMFI: Serving as a platform for fashion creativity, this catwalk show at the Transformatorhuis turns the spotlight on the work of some of the Netherlands’ best young talents. It’s hosted by the AMFI-Amsterdam Fashion Institute and the Hogeschool van Amsterdam and will feature a seasonal selection that will be presented in stores throughout the Benelux. 12 July.
Photo by on Flickr.
Photo by on Flickr.
  • MaryMe-JimmyPaul: This catwalk show will bring together art, architecture, sculpture, and fashion (but of course) for one wild, bizarre, and beautiful hour at the Gashouder. Think ‘Bjork meets Vogue Magazine.’ 12 July.
  • Marga Weimans: The internationally-focused design house will explore the outer realms of fashion and offer a cinematic experience at their catwalk show in the Gashouder. Their conceptions are sure to be both intriguing and enchanting. 13 July.
  • FREDFARROWBRITTAVELONTAN: As part of AFW’s Fashion Lab PRO showcase, this uniquely-named French design house will showcase their line made out of eco-friendly materials in their temporary pop-up shop at the Transformatorhuis. Their Amsterdam showroom will be constructed entirely out of scrap wood while maintaining the aura of a Parisian boutique. 13 July.
  • Keys to Success: Professionals from inside and outside the fashion industry will rub elbows at this networking event at the Westerunie. Head here if you’re a passionate entrepreneur, a business professional in search of inspiration, or simply a lover of fashion. Guest speakers include: Holly Syrett (AFW) and Shubhankar Ray (Global Brand Director at G-Star). The evening will also conclude with a catwalk show hosted by Francisco van Benthum. 15 July.
  • Cold Method: This Amsterdam brand is quickly becoming one of the most significant menswear labels in the Netherlands. They’ll showcase their uncomplicated urban looks and classic but contemporary wares at this catwalk show in the Transformatorhuis. 16 July.

Head to the Amsterdam Fashion Week website for the full rundown of events.

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