Ronald van der Kemp FALL 2021 COUTURE

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When Ronald van der Kemp introduced his upcycled couture concept in the mid-2010s, he was an outlier. Of course, sustainability has become one of fashion’s most urgent narratives in the years since. The Dutch designer deserves some of the credit; made from existing resources, his persuasively glamorous clothes have always been matched by his frank talk about the perils of overconsumption.

So the alarm he expressed on a Zoom call yesterday about how quickly fashion is returning to normal was cause for concern. “I already see the more, more, more feeling coming back in the amount of clothes that are coming out again,” he said. It’s only natural to crave excess after pandemic-time privations both social and material, but, he went on, “if you do something, I think, it needs to make sense and there needs to be a purpose for it. I still think we need to make beautiful things, but it needs to be more edited, more thought through, and it needs to be with more substance.”

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