As the pioneer of sustainability and working cross-culturally at AMFI, Linnemore Nefdt has dedicated over 25 years to our school. It was time for her to descend our marbled staircase for the final time this year … or was it really?
Linnemore is an Amsterdam-based designer who’s sold her own collections across the Netherlands since the eighties. Studying Fashion Design at the Rietveld Academy built the base for her fashion career, which finally led her into the arms of AMFI as a Fashion Design and Concepts lecturer in 1990. Her generation saw at this time a big shift from selling clothing in a gallery-like setting to a society driven by mass consumption.
Her interests in promoting and investigating sustainability began back in the 70’s with the ‘Hippie movement’ when second-hand clothing came to fore. While lecturing she realised others needed some motivation. Making sustainability matter at our school didn’t only start by separating waste or reducing water consumption. Linnemore helped to create a culture here to stimulate social movements and organise activities related to make our future (in fashion) worthwhile.
Although many consider her to be the AMFI great who integrated sustainability throughout the curriculum, she begs to differ: ‘I did not do it on my own – Jan Piscaer and I were a team. I’d say he was the ‘founder of sustainability’ and I was just the face – the communication face’.
Long-time projects such as TBB Culture, Beyond Green Talks, Magazine’s product line and the Blue Fair are several manifestations of sustainability’s success. Yet, Linnemore knows there is ‘so much more’ still to be done: ‘What I like to see happening is students and teachers working together cross-culturally.’
Linnemore stresses the gravity of teacher-student interactions: ‘We are all in this together’. For her this interaction leads to evolution and innovation. Continuously sparking discussions and doing research are the most important aspects of a sustainable future, she says. Students need to broaden their horizons by looking beyond the surface, by actively seeking out and evaluating new cultures and perspectives.
She says her final year at AMFI was by far one of the most wonderful. She helped launch the project WeAreStuart – a pop up platform to challenge the fashion system. Among the teachers she organised ‘Café Pensant’, a Socratic dialogue on sustainability issues. These projects bring people from diverse cultures together and stimulate them to think differently.
When I asked her about her plans after AMFI, Linnemore smirked and replied: ‘You will see me kicking around. I want to make use of our fashion library and catch up on my reading, about sustainability obviously, but also books on materials, production, economy and consumers.’ She is not yet leaving our marble staircases completely behind, after all.
Twenty-five years after her adventure began, it can be said that Linnemore left a strong impression on teachers and students alike. She puts issues on the agenda that are critical to AMFI’s future – the importance of cross-cultural education and a sense for sustainability. Even though Linnemore would not call herself a legend, we would surely consider her to be one.
Interview, text and illustration by second-year International Fashion & Branding Student Laura Sinnhuber.