Mini, Midi, Maxi – the skirt issue at Hotel the Exchange

The city of Amsterdam realised that the historical Damrak was developing a bad reputation due to the quality of tourists who wander its lengths. In an effort to transform the Damrak into ‘the red carpet’ of Amsterdam, the urban creative renewal Project 1012 would launch Hotel the Exchange to give this landmark a more diverse and fashionable look.

In 2010 Suzanne Oxenaar and Otto Nan of the Lloyd Hotel initiated a collaboration, bringing in the Tilburg Textile Museum and design duo INA+MATT to develop special fabrics for the hotel rooms. Their concept was to dress the rooms like fashion models…where else in Amsterdam was more perfect to seek talent than the students of AMFI?

The creativity of great minds including alumni Juanita Koerts, Roos Soetekouw, Malu Gehner and Anne Wolters was unleashed – producing interiors evocative of Renaissance collars, Frida Kahlo and even the simplicity of a shirt pleat. Since the concept’s inception, each year one room of the hotel has been dedicated to the latest theme of AMFI’s annual independent fashion magazine. Rooms have been Odd, to ANT, to Tiger – and now it’s Garment’s turn.

Garment-Denise-Hotel the Exchange

Branding alumnus Denise Kraaijenbrink was tasked to translate the magazine into a concept for a hotel room: ‘It definitely wasn’t easy, as the magazine focuses exclusively on one piece of clothing: the skirt.’

The sketching of concepts began by imagining the variety of creative ways to play with skirts. Perhaps something with the lengths, or the silhouettes? The actual hotel room had smaller dimensions than Denise had expected, which she hadn’t realised until she visited. This sent her back to the drawing board, but also forced her to incorporate practicality into her interior designs. Different from many projects she did while in school, the pre-existing starting points required a lot of flexibility and creativity.


The difference with the rooms made for Odd, Ant and Tiger Magazine? Garment’s room interprets the magazine in a more conceptual way. After searching high and low for inspiration, she landed on one of the articles in Garment that shed light on a social phenomenon in the world of skirts: Panchira. The term is Japanese, describing a specific fetish — catching unexpected glimpses of panties underneath skirts. “This article stood out to me the most as it showed a phenomenon unknown in the west, yet perfectly normal in Japan. The angle this article took on the skirt was the most interesting, funny and exciting.”

Denise Kraaienbrink - Hotel the Exchange

A moment of Panchira, created on the wall of the room.

Denise created the Panchira moments several times throughout the room, sometimes even forcing the guests to take a peek. The most obvious spot panchira appears? “The lamps above the bed are actually skirts. Nobody can escape from it!” The opportunity to create the hotel room was a once in a lifetime experience. Future guests at the Garment room will not only get the thrill of panchira, but can stay comfortably, browsing the ode to the skirt in print.

Text and interview by Laura Meijnen, second-year International Fashion & Branding Student

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