The fashion department at Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious fashion design programs in the world. With a reputation for instilling an avant garde sensibility and high standards of creative excellence, the institution has an impressive alumni to match, like Martin Margiela, Demna Gvasalia, and Kris van Assche, as well as the infamous Antwerp Six that include Ann Demeulemeester and Dries van Noten.
“The freedom and one-to-one way of tutoring, as well as placing importance on storytelling, is what I love about Antwerp,” says former student and Antwerp Six member Walter Van Beirendonck, who is currently the academy’s head of fashion. “We believe in the power of creativity, and that it can make a difference.”
At the end of September, schools and universities in Belgium reopened their doors with social-distancing precautions in place. But less than a month later, after photographing this story, the entire country went into its second lockdown. Here, the students share their experiences of remote coursework and virtual tutorials, as well as how it felt physically returning to the Academy (albeit for one month only) and, of course, what they wore to mark the momentous occasion.