Mar 25th, 2020, 07:50 PM

How Youth Has Come to De-Code Fashion

By Shi-ann James
Photo on the Runway, Image Credit: Unsplash/Raden_Prasetya
Labels and the Status Quo No Longer Apply

Rushemy Botter and Lisi Harrebrugh, have caught plenty of attention during their brief tenure within the fashion industry. The Dutch duo, with Caribbean roots from Curaçao and the Dominican Republic, were finalists for the LVMH Young Designer Prize in 2018 and won the Première Vision Jury Grand Prize prize at the Hyeres Prestigious Young Designers Festival in Spring 2018. Soon after, the pair caught the attention of brand Nina Ricci and were both hired as creative directors for the fashion house. This came after executives of the brand’s parent company, Puig, were reportedly “less than enthusiastic” about the performance of the brand's previous creative director, Guillaume Henry.

Botter and Harrebrugh released their first collection for Nina Ricci during the pre-Fall/Winter 2019 season. The creative partners’ first trial was met with optimism by some that praised their ability to embody the “Ricci lightness”. But many critics believed the creative directors still needed more practice to “lean more on instinct when it comes to fully portraying the brand's identity,” according to Vogue USA.

Their second collection for the brand, SS20 season, garnered a lot more attention, praise, and critique. The pair brought humor and quirky youthfulness to the runway, but once again were criticized for not properly encapsulating Nina Ricci’s “femininity and romance” as stated by fashion journalist Nicole Phelps. While the team is known for their “effervescence”, they still have much to learn in terms of connecting with the “vision” of the fashion house and converting that vision into practical women’s wear.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

'Ninalicious': A big bubble of wonder - Nina Ricci Spring-Summer 2020 by @lisiherrebrugh and @rushemybotter

A post shared by NINA RICCI (@ninaricci) on

On the other hand, Botter and Harrebrugh have had a bit more luck with their own menswear brand called Botter. The two started their brand in 2017. Their debut collection came directly from their final project at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Botter’s first runway show was held during Paris men’s fashion week in January 2020 for Autumn-Winter 20/21 where the theme was “Upcycling is a mindset, not a concept.”

The team collaborated with another Curaçaoan artist, Tirzo Martha, who is known for using what some call “junk” (toilets, tires, and tarps) and turning it into art.

Botter and Harrebrugh kept with their “eco-conscious” values with this collection featuring jackets embroidered with price tags and bubble wrap headpieces.

While the fashion industry is known for its continuous ability to keep up with the ever-modernizing world, it is at a crossroads, between attracting the next generation of consumers and upholding its history of posh design. Bringing in young minds for a near century-old fashion brand marks a compelling step towards the major changes the industry must make, willfully or not.