MAD Brussels has decided not to organize Fashion Sales anymore. Designer Valérie Berckmans is taking the initiative. “The Sales are very important for Brussels designers, so I’m organizing them myself.”
The Fashion Sales have been around for almost a quarter of a century. The biannual stock sale of designer clothing has grown into an institution in the world of Brussels fashion during that time.
Initially, the Sales were organized by the non-profit organization Modo Brussels, which would select different locations each time: Centrale Electrique, Sint-Gorikshallen, De Markten, and Atelier Christophe Coppens.
After Modo merged with MAD Brussels, the center for fashion and design, MAD took over the organization.
In April, the center held its last Brussels Fashion and Designers Sales at its building on Nieuwe Graanmarkt. In September, MAD informed the designers that there would be no autumn edition. MAD’s focus is shifting towards business-to-business rather than business-to-consumer.
Anaïs Sandra Carion, who has been the director of MAD Brussels since March, clarifies this strategy: “We have fewer people at MAD than before, so having a clear focus is important. We choose to support brands in the long term. We want to assist young designers in finding locations and stores where they can sell their designs. This way, we aim to collaborate with buyers from Belgian and foreign multi-brand stores.”
The announcement that there would be no autumn stock sale session caused some consternation among Brussels designers.
Ultimately, Valérie Berckmans, who closed her store on Van Arteveldestraat last year and now primarily works by appointment, decided to take matters into her own hands. Together with young designer Théo Auquière, she is organizing the Brussels Fashion Sales from November 16th to 18th. “It’s not my job, and I’m not getting paid for it, but I found it such a shame for this tradition to come to an end. It’s very important for designers. Young creatives find new customers there, established designers can sell their stock,” says Berckmans, who has been participating for years. “Through the Sales, you also show a broad audience that designer fashion doesn’t have to be elitist.”
Berckmans will receive assistance from MAD Brussels for the organization, which will handle all communication.
The autumn sales will take place at Sint-Gorikshallen. “It’s a great location,” says Berckmans. “Better than the MAD building. You really have to know where that is. In Sint-Gorikshallen, you get fashion enthusiasts, tourists, and passersby as well.” She didn’t want to make it too large and only rented the ground floor. “In no time, twenty designers signed up. The space is already full, and there is a waiting list of ten people.”
Linda Van Waesberge, a style consultant and expert on Dansaert, is relieved that Berckmans is continuing the initiative. Many years ago, she organized the stock sale and stylist route for Modo Brussels. “That route was a great success. MAD took it over, let it decline, and eventually discontinued it. Now the stock sale is also gone.”
Van Waesberge understands that MAD is following a specific strategy. “But direct assistance to the designers is also important. The stock sale serves as motivation and financial support for them in these challenging economic times. One should not exclude the other.”
MAD Director Carion mentioned that they plan to organize a route in the Dansaert neighborhood for both fashion and design in the fall of 2024.