On Friday, September 6, Lichting 2019, the debutant ball for up-and-coming fashion talent, took place in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam as part of Amsterdam Fashion Week. The fourteen best graduates from the seven Dutch fashion academies presented themselves to an international audience. Dylan Westerweel, a graduate of ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, was voted the most promising talent in the Netherlands by an international panel of fashion professionals. He won the Lichting 2019 award of €10,000 made available by the Meester Koetsier Foundation. In addition, Dylan received the NJAL + award that gives the designer visibility on leading online fashion platform Not Just A Label. Lichting is an initiative of Amsterdam Fashion Week and HTNK fashion recruitment & consultancy and is supported by the Meester Koetsier Foundation.

The collection
Dylan Westerweel presented a men’s collection entitled “Jack Saul”, inspired by the beauty and problems of the homosexual prostitute of the Victorian era of the same name. Dylan sees this beauty and sexuality as a weapon – the male counterpart of the femme fatale. The basis of the collection is enlarged masculine forms – 3D “muscle” patchwork, restricted waistlines and built-in buttocks’. Classic male garments have been rebuilt to accentuate body parts in a surprising way. Soft and seductive materials are painted by hand or combined with embroidery and 3D structures of flowers and anatomical hearts. The colour palette is pink, magenta, white and blue – from pastel-coloured cotton to striking magenta wool.

Winner 2019
The international panel was formed this year by Kim Bekker (Freelance Creative Director for Isabel Marant, among others), Eva Losada (Fashion Photographer), Jo Simpson (Curriculum Leader of the Fashion & Textiles department at Central Saint Martins) and Rolien Zonneveld (Editor-in-chief of iD Netherlands). They met all fourteen participants during an intensive panel pitch the day before the show in the 5 & 33 gallery of the art’otel Amsterdam. They spoke at length about the collection and the design vision of the participants. The panel unanimously agreed on the talent of Dylan Westerweel. The jury report read:

Over the course of fashion history, designers have reacted to, and influenced in many cases, the social and political frameworks of sexiness or their respective times. Today, with gender identities and expectations crumbling quicker than ever, the idea of what makes a man sexy has never been more fluid.

Dylan’s collection was a refreshing take on what masculine sexiness means in 2019. Inspired by the rent boys of the Victorian period, the gift of an interesting take on the idealized masculine silhouette, by crafting intricate corsets for men and combining it with soft and seductive fabrics. His use of embroidery, hand painting and 3D structures in florals and anatomical hearts showed great technical skill. His baby blue and magenta pink colour pallet, applied to soft hand-dyed pink cotton and wools was original and fresh.

We are very excited to see what Dylan will do next.

An honourable mention goes to Iris van Wees, who not only tackled the issue of sustainability but also showed us a glimpse of what fashion might look like in the future. A pioneer who has taught herself how to integrate digital applications into her practice with the idea of designing fashion collections using zero waste.

Another honourable mention goes out to Armia Yousefi, whose permanent collection drew us into his raw, emotional universe. The richness of his referencing, the dramatic silhouettes and the great craftsmanship that got into his looks was boundary-pushing and uncompromising.

About Lichting
Lichting is the debutant ball of the Dutch fashion industry, a celebration of talent and creativity. The concept is simple: the 14 largest talents of the seven Dutch fashion academies present themselves to the critical fashion press and industry in one central catwalk show.

Lichting has been created to build a bridge between the academies (and its alumni) and the fashion industry. The goal of Lichting is to offer promising talent a springboard towards a viable career.

Lichting is an initiative of Amsterdam Fashion Week and HTNK fashion recruitment & consultancy and is supported by Meester Koetsier Foundation.

The Meester Koetsier Foundation provides financial resources to educational institutions and students in the field of fashion, clothing and textile science.


Pictures: Peter Stigter