Dutch label Reconstruct Collective reworks suits in workplace satire

Dutch designer group Reconstruct Collective launched its seventh
collection with an aim to create garments that are more wearable. While
only sales will tell if customers thought the same, the theme of the
collection was undeniably relatable – after all, who hasn’t sat through the
boredom of a never-ending workday?

“The Boring Office” was one of five work-related themes to greet visitors
at the start of the brand’s AW20 presentation on Saturday evening at
Iso-Amsterdam, an old and disused industrial building turned into a working
space with occasional public events.

The clock stood still in the sterile office setting, where models, mostly
in grey, deconstructed and then reconstructed suits, sat on chairs and
tables, staring listlessly as if into a void, a deep abyss of ennui. One
model apathetically crumpled sheets of paper, feeding a growing mass on the
floor. While the setting fully conveyed what boring means, the clothes
certainly didn’t. One oversized blazer, named ‘Pull it together jacket’
could be literally tied together at the waist with the brand’s signature
drawstrings. Another jacket was missing a piece under the breast, which was
instead sewn to a pair of matching trousers.

Social statements meet forward-thinking fashion pieces

Reconstruct Collective started out as a very conceptual brand, which
helped it gather attention from press and artists, but now the label hopes
to reach a more broad base of customers. “Nowadays, we want to be a more
wearable brand,” said Alyssa Groeneveld, one of the five members of
Reconstruct Collective. “We see people, who are close to us or in Amsterdam
who are really inspired by us, they always say: ‘I love your clothes, but
it’s too much.’ Now we really want to reach our target group, to see it in
our clothes.”

Picture: The Burnout corner at Reconstruct Collective’s AW20
presentation | FashionUnited

Nevertheless, concept remains a strength of the Reconstruct Collective,
as the fashion-show-meets-art-installation presentation of its AW20
collection demonstrated. Ironic social statements meet forward-thinking
fashion pieces throughout the show with themes such as lab, burnout and
‘vrij mibo’ – the traditional Dutch office drink on Friday.

“We invent concepts before we come up with a collection. We always base our
stories on five characters because we’re five people,” explained Groeneveld
about the collection titled the ‘Redundant 5’. “This time we thought the
office was cool because we could create five really different characters
and bring them together because they work together”; a reflection of the
way in which Reconstruct Collective was founded in 2015.

Homecoming

Reconstruct Collective was originally founded by nine friends who studied
together at the art school Wilhelm de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam. When
they heard in their final year that there wouldn’t be any graduation show,
the group decided to stage their own show using money collected through a
crowdfunding campaign.

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Picture: The Lab at Reconstruct Collective’s AW20
presentation | FashionUnited

Since then, Reconstruct Collective has gone on to show at international
fashion weeks such as Paris and New York, and after receiving some critical
acclaim, the company now feels it is time to prove itself on the market.

Reconstruct Collective’s current designers are each responsible for a
different aspect of the brand’s identity.

Laura Aanen is the photographer and in charge of social media. She does the
castings together with Groeneveld, who serves as creative producer and head
of marketing. Michelle Lievaart is in charge of the interns and production
and Kim Kivits heads sales – she is also the graphic designer for the
label. Sanne Verkleij, the head of textiles, is also responsible for
finances.

The label, which is currently stocked at JIP by Margreeth Olsthoorn in
Rotterdam and ENG concept store in Shanghai, has decided to show its
latest collection in Amsterdam to build its following.

“We have been around the world and made our marks everywhere we wanted
to,” said Groeneveld. “But we thought let’s go back to Amsterdam because we
see that’s where our family and friends are, we really wanted to do
something for this city.”

Pictures: FashionUnited

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