Meet Edwin Oudshoorn
One of the most memorable shows of passed Amsterdam Fashion Week was the show of Edwin Oudshoorn. This made us think that we wanted to get to know the designer himself a little better. So Hunter Niels went to the red light district and met Edwin Oudshoorn in his atelier.
What an amazing location for your atelier. How did you end up here?
A while ago a couple of designers, including me, were asked to have a showroom in the red light district. For me this was a perfect opportunity. Since it’s so central, people easily pass by. Moreover it’s a fun experience to be surrounded by other Dutch Design talents. Jan Taminiau is across, Darryl van Wouw next door, and Bas Kosters on the other side. It’s fun to run into all these designers when you go do you(r) grocery shopping. Moreover there is lots of traffic here. So also potential customers pass by and take a look in my atelier.
Four years ago you suddenly stopped showing on Amsterdam Fashion Week. Why did you decide to have a break of Amsterdam Fashion Week?
After graduating I won the ‘Frans Molenaar prijs’. This gave me opportunities to show on the Amsterdam Fashion Week. After four years of showing I decided to show my collections in a different way, and not during Amsterdam Fashion Week. This gave me opportunities to show in Paris and Aruba for example. However, this summer I got a new offer to show during Amsterdam Fashion Week again, and I decided to do it again. And of course it had to do with the opportunity the sponsors gave me.
The show was very theatrical. What inspired you for the show?
The inspiration for my show all had to do with the song of Judy Garland:
Forget your troubles
Come on get happy
You better chase all you cares away
Come on get happy
Get ready for the judgment day
It’s so odd, and contrasting. Forget your troubles, be happy, while it’s judgement day. The end of your life, and you need to be happy. This contrast was also visible in my collection. From elegant evening gowns to crazy, circus-like, colour blocking outfits. You could see the whole life cycle in my show. For that reason I started with the young girl, in commune dress, followed by a virgin Mary wedding dress and I finished the show with the more adult couture dresses: higher collars, long drapes and embroidery.
What inspires you in general when designing your collections?
Actually I am always inspired by life and death, and vice versa. Just like my show during fashion week. Death always has been something magical. Not in a dark way, but also because of the unexpected part. You have to enjoy every single moment, because before you know it, ‘it’s judgement day’. As of a young age, I always went to see graveyards with my parents. And I still keep this tradition alive. Each holiday I have to visit a graveyard. However this doesn’t mean that my collections or me as a person are dark. It’s also the beautiful side, that you need to enjoy life to the fullest. Moreover I always design kind of conceptual. I have a vision of a sudden look and feel. For the show on fashion week for example I collaborated with LM Flowers. I had these big trees in my mind, and these bushes. So I see the location, and think this also needs a more voluminous dress, and have a little extra volume here and there, longer drape, this and that colour etc.. So the inspiration comes from all different angles.
Who are your style icons?
Strong characters are important for me. Real personalities. A good example for me is Matilda Swinton. She is so powerful, talented and characteristic. Probably that’s why I dress many people from the theater world. They often are strong characters. Besides designing the red carpet dresses for actresses, I also design for several theater shows.
What are your future plans?
I don’t really have specific future plans or dreams. We will see. I enjoyed showing on Amsterdam Fashion Week. And if I get the right sponsors, I will definitely show again next season. First on the agenda is Aruba (where he showed passed weekend). I need to get many things ready for this visit. After that I look forward to start on my new collection.