Meet the 10 Lichting 2022 finalists: Denzel Veerkamp

We are more than proud to present the 10 finalists of Lichting 2022. Before their debut to the public on the 2nd of September, AFW sat down with each participant to talk about their collection and their plans for the upcoming Lichting show. This week we would like to introduce you to Willem de Kooning Academy graduate Denzel Veerkamp!


How did the concept behind your graduation collection come to being?
‘The rebound Parley’ is a translation of a critical view on my experience as a mixed person of color in a post-colonial Netherlands, alongside a manifestation against the destructive fashion industry. This concept initially came to be during my minor in Cultural Diversity. There, I was introduced to the literature that ultimately formed the foundation of my collection. Intimate and intriguing cultural analyses triggered me to review my own existence and experiences, as a Black man growing up in the Netherlands, on a deeper level. To protest the privileged perception of how textiles are being valorised in the West, the collection is made fully from post-consumer textiles, in collaboration with Leger des Heils (Salvation Army).

How would you describe your signature as a designer? How does this reflect in your collection?
Expressing my emotions through critical research, textile alterations, and a healthy dose of irony are signatures in my overall work and graduation collection. The techniques of collaging, mixing and literal mimicking are design approaches that keep recurring, since they have become the most powerful tools for me to open up conversations on for instance a stereotype-free society and other socio-political utopia.

On July 29th, you were introduced to the Lichting jury for the first time. How did you experience this moment? What feedback do you take with you to your presentation during AFW?
“What is your dream?”, a question asked by one of the jury members. I dream of an impactful contribution to the fashion landscape that is positive for both people and planet. I still stand by that statement and will carry that energy with me to AFW.

Which piece from the collection are you most proud of? Why?
Look 2, a technical dress made from an Ajax ’05-’06 away kit. During my minor, I interviewed friends and relatives that, like me, experienced an ambiguous experience growing up in Amsterdam with Surinamese descendance. Ajax was mentioned many times. The inexplicable love for the club acted like a familiar refuge within an often mad and unpredictable world. To me the dress is a well executed; it’s a sophisticated translation of a complex personal matter and I’m proud of that.

What would be the ideal way to present your collection to the public in September? Can you already say something about what you currently have in mind?
Sincerity. Urgency. Disruption. And hope.

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