Runways and girl gangs

With only a few days remaining before Generation 20’s collection is unveiled, AMFI.nl sent Orla Tiffney to catch up with iNDIVIDUALS’ Lisa Hupe and Melissa Kasteleijns – to pick their brains regarding content, democratisation and new directions.

Orla: From following iNDIVIDUALS’ social media teasers over the past couple of weeks, I would stab a guess that this season centres around redefining what it means to be a strong woman. How would you define this generation’s concept?

Lisa & Melissa: Pretty close! We would say that we are honing in on what femininity is at this precise moment in time. It’s a tug between things inherently female and things absolutely not defined by gender. We are communicating this in our designs through a play on stereotypes of both gender and society. We’ve branded this by telling a story of a modern girl gang, primarily through the medium of Instagram. This will all climax with the collection presentation, which is being kept very hush-hush, but we can say that it will not just be a traditional catwalk!

A photo posted by iNDiViDUALS (@individualsatamfi) on

O: This is one of the first times that iNDIVIDUALS is not using a traditional catwalk, what is it you intend to achieve with this?

L & M: Most people don’t realise how expensive it is to actually hold a runway show, it’s thousands and thousands of euros for 3 minutes! So we discussed how to do this differently. Of course there are arguments for the traditional catwalk, how it works as method to show garments. But iNDiViDUALS is the perfect platform to experiment with these often unwritten rules. With the strong storytelling in this generation’s concept and collection, we needed more than just a couple of minutes to communicate the narrative.

iNDiViDUALS modern girl gang – AW16 G20

O: Did you have in mind the entire time that the collection would not be shown in a traditional format?

L & M: Not really, it was the result of having a big team of strong-willed branders who were determined to shake things up! We really want to make iNDiViDUALS relevant to AMFI students, insofar as trying to increase affordability. We work from the idea that iNDiViDUALS is a brand students should aspire to, making real steps to make the brand more accessible, because that is what it should be about. I guess you could say that our steps away from tradition are steps towards our peers.

O: iNDIVIDUALS is one of the programmes that runs as part of the reality school. Do you feel that the new directions are realistic and a reflection of the current fashion climate?

L & M: We suppose so, but as we said, taking a new direction for the presentation wasn’t the driving force behind the collection’s concept. It was more of an outcome. We thought about what best fits the concept, and the best way to showcase the designers’ garments in line with that. It wasn’t as simple as ‘oh other brands are doing this, let’s do it too.’

We’re curious about Generation 20’s unconventional approach to fashion presentation.

O: I’m almost sure that when INDIVIDUALS began, there was no such thing as a Digital Manager. Which roles are becoming more prominent as iNDIVIDUALS evolves?

L & M: This is something really dependent on each generation and what they want to achieve with their time here. For ours, we felt that a push towards generating more social media content was important, therefore the role of Digital Manager became sizeable. There really aren’t less important roles, so to speak. Each member contributes to the decisions on how are delegated at the beginning.

O: Fashion moves insanely quick. Did creating the presentation in this way help to ease any of the massive stress that people in this niche of the industry feel?

L & M: No, none at all! Without giving too much away, a lot of the same procedures have to happen. We ran away with the concept of a catwalk, therefore ending up with more work. But as everyone who attends AMFI knows, the hard work is always worth it if you truly believe in what you’re doing, which we thankfully do!

AMFI.nl wishes this generation of iNDIVIDUALS a lot of success.

A livestream of the show on 20 January 2016 at 18.20 will be hosted on Vogue.nl.

Interview by second year International Fashion & Branding student Orla Tiffney.