Fashion & Branding graduate Martijn Nekoui talks to second-year iFB student Sarah Södersten about his upcoming exhibition, how fashion is not just about unicorns and glitter, and his future plans.
The spacious room is deceitfully still, yet the creative vibe of MOAM is present. One by one the team members drop in and the day grinds to a start. As I’m sipping on my coffee, the door swings open and the energy in the room suddenly changes. Gone is the calm, before the storm of energy embodied by owner and creator Martijn Nekoui has arrived. Whilst he asks for a coffee I think, “Wow, him on caffeine? This will be interesting.”
Nearly three years after taking his graduation project, MOAM (MOdeAMsterdam), from school project to praised platform, Martijn might now be seen as the uncrowned fashion prince of Amsterdam. The creative collective MOAM has made its name by collaborating with famous Dutch fashion profiles like Viktor&Rolf, Inez and Vinoodh, Doutzen Kroes and the late Frans Molenaar. Quite possibly the breakthrough for MOAM was reaching an audience outside the fashion circle: MOAM for HEMA. This made MOAM the first external brand in 90 years to work with the iconic home and lifestyle brand. No wonder, then, that all eyes are on MOAM’s next project Generation 2015, come the start of Amsterdam Fashion Week.
Generation 2015 is an exhibit developed after actively exploring new ways of elevating new talent. Each of the 26 handpicked participants received only the first letter of their first name as an inspirational framework, essentially carte blanche. If you were expecting a week-long exhibition, you are unfortunately mistaken. On the 21st of January the doors at Looiersgracht 60 swing open only to be shut again a few hours later. ‘Generation 2015 is the ultimate pop-up! It’s selective, short and sweet. 300 people, 3 hours, that’s it!’ Martijn explains with enthusiasm, waving his coffee cup around.
When I asked Martijn about the keys to his success, he passionately pinpoints not taking no for an answer: ‘No is no, until its a yes. You have to remember, success in fashion is not dancing around with unicorns and glitter – its about determination, networking and giving it all you’ve got. You compete against yourself – you’re only as good as your latest project.’ Not a surprise he’s so successful in the Dutch Fashion industry despite being only 26 years old.
But what’s next? As the young entrepreneur talks about his future plans and vision, I discover he sees London as a new playground: ‘The last two and a half years have been about getting to know and develop myself and MOAM and I have always seen 2015 as the year I graduate. We have always worked with Dutch talents in a Dutch market, now its time to take the step away from our roots to explore something new, and we’ll start by exploring the British fashion world. Only I’m not sure about the name yet.. FaLo doesn’t sound right and LoFa.. No, I have to figure that one out.’
When I leave the building I feel overloaded with inspiration by the drive Martijn Nekoui exudes. Walking along the canal back to AMFI, I am curious if he is aware of the other acronym MOAM is – Man On A Misson. Aware of this or not, it is exactly what Martijn Nekoui is.
Interview and text by Sarah Södersten, second-year International Fashion & Branding student.
Photography by Marina Coenen, second-year International Fashion & Branding student.