The Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts is one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1663 by David Teniers the younger, at the time regarded as one of the greatest painters in Europe. For 300 years, the school remained focussed on the fine arts of painting and sculpture. In the 1960s the school expanded and new departments were opened in the applied arts, including photography, graphic design, jewellery and fashion.
Fashion designers who are trained at an academy and who studied four years with painters, sculptors, graphic designers, and students of other courses, live in a creative artistic atmosphere that leaves a mark on their personality. It requires effort and perseverance. Students are expected to be very good draughtsmen. The study from live model in postures and movements is essential. Students must also show a high degree of originality in their designs. Through form studies, pattern studies, research and graphic work, they have to be able to make their own creations.
The fashion department of the Antwerp Academy sees fashion in the broadest sense of the word, as a form of expression of the emotions of our times. Clothing reflects society or, adversely, questions it. The training provided by the fashion department stimulates innovation, encouraging the students to create and to explore forms, new colour combinations and original treatments of materials. The approach is focused on experimentation, improvisation and formal innovation.