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New non-profit organization *Fashion in Brussels* wants to make designers better known

© Saskia Vanderstichele| Valérie Berckmans, designer and organizer of the Brussels Fashion Sales.

At the end of this week (April 19 – 20), designer Valérie Berckmans is organizing a new stock sale in Sint-Goriks. She does this on behalf of Mode in Brussels, a new non-profit organization that wants to make Brussels designers better known to the public.

Fashion Sales have existed for almost a quarter of a century. At that time, stock sales of designer clothing grew into an institution. For years, the semi-annual event was organized by the non-profit organization Modo Brussels. After the non-profit organization was merged with MAD Brussels, the center for fashion and design, the latter took over the organization.

But last summer MAD announced that there would be no autumn edition, after which designer Valérie Berckmans decided to take the reins into her own hands. This way the autumn sale could still go ahead.

In the meantime, Berckmans, together with Elizabeth Djamdjiev (Design September), has established a new non-profit organization, Mode in Brussels. They received financial support from Alderman for the Economy of Brussels City Fabian Maingain (Défi) and Brussels State Secretary for Economic Transition Barbara Trachte (Ecolo). From now on, the non-profit organization will organize the Brussels Fashion Sales twice a year in the Halles Saint-Géry, but it has other ambitions. “We want to strengthen the contact between Brussels designers and the public,” Berckmans explains. “So that the public understands that we are not Zara or H&M.”

Fabric sales

To this end, the non-profit organization plans studio visits, a new trail, Fashion in May, and also a fabric sale. There will also be a website presenting Brussels designers. Berckmans: “We are also thinking about a kind of marketplace, a joint e-shop for the designers.”

The aim of the non-profit organization is to make the lives of designers a little easier. “Our sector is having a hard time. Most Brussels designers cannot make a living from their designs and have another job, which is not ideal. Designers must be able to concentrate 100 percent on their work.”

Berckmans wants to look at it very practically. “We strive for a community of designers who support each other to be more profitable. For example, they could share spaces or an accountant. Fabric sales also fit into that context. Every designer is faced with a surplus of fabrics every year. That stock is dormant money. These fabrics can better be exchanged among designers or sold to the public so that money can be raised. It is also more ecological.”

Competitor for MAD?

Does MAD, which is organizing its own course this autumn, have a competitor with the new non-profit organization? “We are much smaller, MAD is a real institution. They tend to work B2B, business to business, while our focus is on business to consumer,” says Berckmans. “We want to work additionally. Our course next year in May will be slightly different than the MAD course.”

The Brussels Fashion Sales take place on Friday and Saturday. About thirty Brussels designers show fashion, jewelry and accessories. Among them are established designers such as Annemie Verbeke, Conni Kaminski and Berckmans themselves, who offer their stock and prototypes, but also young recently graduated designers such as Thu, who are there with their first collection.

Halles Saint-Géry!
April 19 and 20 2024


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