Amsterdam, The Silicon Valley of Europe?

Amsterdam, Fashionable? Not particularly. Fantastic Food? Depends on who you’re asking. Champagne and celebrities obsessed? Who are you kidding. This is a city that promises to soon become known for more than just “going Dutch”.

At the risk of sounding quite pompous, I have to share with you a little secret. Amsterdam is a city having a moment, a Silicon Valley moment that is screeching out, “People, New York City, London and Paris is not where it’s at!”

Image Credit: blockstrap.com
City of Amsterdam | Image Credit: Blockstrap.com

If you are finding yourself wondering why, then it is time for an education. The Dutch have been for a while now, churning out left, right and centre, amazing Fashion Technology designers . Forget London College of Fashion or Parsons in New York, a lot of fashion students with an interest in technology are all heading to Design Academy Eindhoven or the ArtEZ Academy of Art & Design. These are schools that have been quietly making a name for themselves by taking the doubt out of this rather niche subject. Their courses not only allow students to think outside the box but encourages them to explore all the wonderful possibilities that technology can offer creative minds.

Image Credit: Pauline van Dongen
Image Credit: Pauline van Dongen

Those unfamiliar with the city could not imagine that this cobbled street city with its unassuming dwellers could be the hub of Fashion Technology.  The thing is, although the Netherlands on a whole is not exactly known for making much effort on the fashion front, you cannot argue with the fact that their natural desire to encourage individuality could be why it is a city currently giving birth to all things Fashion Tech, all the while nurturing it’s homegrown talent; Borre Akkersdijk, Maartje DijkstraGert-Jan Spriensma and Martijn van der Veen.

Image Credit: Iris van Herpen Runway
Image Credit: Iris van Herpen Runway

To continue, it is this knowledge that makes it easy to see that the main cities in the Netherlands firmly have their finger on the pulse of Fashion Technology. It’s potential to remain at the top is being driven by the likes of Iris van Herpen, Anouk Wipprecht and Pauline van Dongen. This fashion forward trio has been busy paving the way for those with a natural inclination to study Fashion and Technology.

Dutch Fashion Tech Pioneers: Pauline van Dongen, Anouk Wipprecht and Iris van Herpen
Dutch Fashion Tech Pioneers: Pauline van Dongen, Anouk Wipprecht and Iris van Herpen

So, who would have guessed that a city full of cute canals and more “coffee shops” than we can shake our selfie stick at would be the place? Who knew that a location made famous for its relaxed attitude and love of bicycles would be at the helm of the most talked about fashion innovations? I don’t think anyone saw this Clark Kent moment coming, which, in my opinion, makes it the perfect city for Fashion Technology to find its voice.

With those final words, you will find me, most days, sitting in a cute cafe, by a canal somewhere in Amsterdam. I will be appreciating a city that inspired the birth of FashNerd.com, and although London is home, Amsterdam is the city that adopted me and gave me the tools of trade to make FashNerd what it is today.

Article written at Cafe de Jaren, one of Amsterdam’s grand cafes- Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22. 1012 CP Amsterdam.

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