Thinking of Fashion and the Netherlands immediately conjures up an image of rain boots, bicycles and windswept hair. Both nationally and internationally, the Netherlands is not famous for having a very fruitful relationship with fashion. However, that image is completely untrue. If one country has contributed to the modernisation of fashion, it is the Netherlands. But this contribution only becomes visible when you do not only look at fashion from the perspective of the system itself. Only when we dare to cast a wider look at the system of fashion does it become clear how fundamental the influence of the Netherlands is on the global functioning of the discipline.
The history of fashion usually focuses on the role of designers. In order to characterise the particular position of the Netherlands within the international environment, the canon of the Temporary Fashion Museum focuses on the position of the users. This has everything to do with the egalitarian social environment in which the post-war Dutch fashion is embedded. Not the designer, but the user has been the innovator here. And at many times the user even appears to have been a guide for global developments. This speculative canon shows the international impact of the Dutch housewife in the fifties, the Provo’s in Amsterdam, the squatters' movement, the clubbers, and the Internet pioneers who develop new models of borrowing and sharing.
No phenomenon is as temporary as fashion. The discipline exists by virtue of ephemeral truths. What is considered passé today can be trend-setting tomorrow. Some migh declare the discipline itself dead, but this is by no means a permanent farewell to fashion. In an environment where the temporary is so dominant, it is difficult to formulate a historical line or a canon. And yet, that is exactly what this exhibition aims to do. By projecting the speculative character of fashion onto the desire of the museum to capture a historical development, a canon of Dutch fashion is constructed.