Dries van Noten’s proud independence has transformed his eponymous fashion house into a beacon of creative ingenuity and intellectual integrity in living color.
By Max Berlinger
Belgian cult fashion designer Dries van Noten first showed his work in 1986, as part of the powerful collective known as The Antwerp Six. Since then, as the industry has unfurled in an explosion of globalization, van Noten has remained a man apart from the madness, maintaining his aesthetic tinged with timeless eclecticism and nostalgia.
Today, as corporate collectives like Kering and LVMH snap up big brands, van Noten remains the Chief Executive and Creative Director of his business, which still remains headquartered in Antwerp. This autonomy has helped inform his work, which mixes a sense of athleticism and wistful romanticism into an undeniably cool, intellectual look.
“I have always believed that economic independence informs and sustains creative independence, a principle of my work. My parents set an example in that they owned their own retail ready-to-wear business. Besides this, I have always enjoyed all of the aspects of my business as one's attention drawn to one area can be a welcome respite from another. It is clear, too, that getting clothes made as an independent company in these days of vertical integration is increasingly important.” – Dries van Noten