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A TRENDBOOK on Amsterdam 2013

CONTENT Introduction..............................................................1 Trend #1 - The Amsterdam Allegory....................................3 Trend #2 - New Old / Old New.............................................7 Trend #3 - Empire State of Body&Mind...............................11 Trend #4 - Geometry Reloaded.............................................15 Conclusion.................................................................19 References........................................................................... 22

“The moments of chaos and disaster are the moments where I think there’s a possibility of seeing things in a new light, from a new perspective. It’s the moment when new forms can rise. Chaos can help to reveal important things that would otherwise remain hidden. The aim or the challenge is to be in the midst of chaos, and try to keep centered. [From there] everyone should then decide for his or herself what’s important for them, what really counts. [...]”

- Artist Thomas Hirschhorn -




risis, digitalization, globalization and high tech: The sign of times cry out for Upheavel. In between everyone has to find his way around. A complex issue indeed, but as Hirschorn suggests, it opens at the time new opportunities. To recognize them not only in the present and future but also in the past is the real challenge behind. In order to rise to it, we’ve to question ourselves, come clear of our aims and values in life. While a shift to differentiation and individual selffulfillment is clearly discernible in nowadays’ Western society, the human being is still a social creature that seeks for company and belonging. This social phenomena explains the occurrence of trends that portray basically a group agreement; as the philospher Christian Garve (17421798) wrote: “Fashions are a result of man’s social nature. People want to be uniform with one another.” Discerning trends that are already happening is in an era of mass consumption and fast fashion offhand feasible but spotting future tendencies proved to be a much more complex issue. It requires to focus on what is different, to recognize and interpret signs, come clear about the role of the zeitgeist and over all: connecting all these elements logically. The starting point for our research was to go out on the streets of Amsterdam, let the spirit of the city soak in and talk to locals. By asking them about their connotations, observations and experiences, their needs and wishes for the future, we were able to gather further information. When collecting our findings first parallels revealed. While still keeping the eyes open for other trends, we dived deeper into our initial selection by repeating the first research step in a more directed way, and

carrying out desk research to support our findings with magazine articles, literature and studies. Repeating this scheme constantly we came eventually up with a number of interesting findings. Our research was mainly focused on Amsterdam but included the city of Rotterdam as a supplement in order to have a comparison and consider the trends from a trans-urban perspective. Looking back, our different origins, internationals but also Dutch, among one Amsterdammer,presented an enrichment for our research and enabled us to include different angles. Also striking was realizing the idea of nowadays’ world as multi-layered complex that relates past, present and future. It ran like a red thread through the entire process and also mirrors in the final selection: The Amsterdam Allegory deals with the collective individualism of the city and its citizens, driven by the aim to emphasize Amsterdam’s unique identity and individual status within the Netherlands. New Old / Old New portrays how nostalgia directs our values back to the very essence and what has been. With the awareness of the present and past a different perception and esteem of the world arises. Empire State of Body&Mind points at a new lifestyle that embraces the convolution of happiness and health in search of self-fulfillment. Geometry Reloaded examines the fascination with geometry in order to explain its persistence throughout time and Amsterdam’s current take on the evergreen. Time to depart!




inding ourselves in the second decade of the 21st century, globalization has become a regular feature of our daily life that is hardly deniable. While improving international relations and opening up new opportunities, globalization rises at the same time a challenge: The meanwhile fully developed global market does not only mean higher competition but also the risk of losing world’s cultural diversity.

Facing an international shift to urban areas1, cities are becoming more and more the center of interest. In order to stay competitive and maintaining their individuality, they are in demand of building a strong and unique identity that refers to its essence: History, culture, location, values and characteristics – in a nutshell, everything that makes the special spirit of the city and the differentiation to other places. The citizens play hereby a major role. Particularly when it comes to metropolis, living in a city goes nowadays often beyond convenience. Residents consider themselves noticeably as a forming part of their living space, they identify themselves with their city and shape its identity in turn. The city of Amsterdam exemplifies this phenomena vividly: Already from the 16th century on, back then epicenter of the province Holland and engine for the Dutch’ Golden Age, Amsterdam has had a privileged status within the Netherlands. Fallen and yet revived like phoenix from the ashes, the city has never lost its pride and dignity, in fact it seems stronger than ever before. The reason for this tendency is accounted to the mindset of a part of the urban population that is best described as a collective individualism: Loyal to the city motto Iamsterdam, over here one doesn’t consider himself a Dutchman but an Amsterdammer. The fact that Amsterdam is a popular destination for tourists and expats, increases the urge for differentiation even more. To which extent the city itself also attaches high importance to its uniqueness and independents clearly mirrors in the town-scape. The three vertical St.Andrew’s Crosses which form the core of Amsterdam’s coat of arms, occur all over the city in diverse usage and forms. In particular as the symbol of the Gemeente, they adorn among others drain covers and warning signs. 1 Degree of urbanization world-wide in 2012: ca. 51% (Statista, 2012) a)


Amsterdam’s crosses are literally spread in all cardinal directions: On the ground, the wall and even in the air - they are everywhere. Also among local businesses it’s popular to incorporate the XXX into the logo. The message behind: Amsterdam know-how.

Tourists in the “Iamsterdam-mood”



For Nieuwmarket kids: De Waag


msterdam’s tourists love to adorn themselves during their “trips” with beanies, shirts etc. that show their excitement for the city. For the young citizens carrying symbols like the XXX have however a much deeper meaning.

A part of Amsterdam’s future generation feels a very strong and special unity with the city. Driven by the endeavor of showing their pride and origin, the crosses and other symbols that characterize Amsterdam such as De Waag of Nieuwmarket have become a popular tattoo motif. This urban pride also starts seizing Amsterdam’s fashion scene: Local street-wear brands such as The Hundreds or Patta embrace the desire of the


wholehearted Amsterdammers: “Culture, hip hop, fashion, social and Amsterdam pride.”, that’s how Patta founder Guillome Schmidt describes his concept. Despite the success of the brand that collaborates with big names such as Nike or Asics, he doesn’t want to open another store in the Netherlands in order to maintain Patta’s roots and exclusivity. Other meaningful cities also have a particular urban identity, but one that is as succinct and symbolic for the connection between the city and their citizens, is an Amsterdam rarity. Rotterdam’s urban identity is for instance determined by providing a major intersection for international trade, being

Patta Lookbook Winter 2012

Patta xxx Asics collaboration

Street-wear label Patta combines true love for Amsterdam with a hip-hop aesthetic

dynamic and multicultural. Also its modernist architecture and a successfully growing contemporary art scene are growing characteristics. According to its mentality “Actions speak louder than words”, Rotterdam and its citizens stay despite considerable developments discreet. Among the youth subgroups like the Rotterdamse Ravers start emerging, however for the time being the essential differences of the two cities, make the emerging of a “Rotterdam Allegory” driven by a collective individualism rather unlikely. As indicated before, the fear of cultural assimilation and the desire for differentiation, imply that in the future more cities will emphasize their individuality.

Connected by music and origin: The Rotterdam Rave scene is on the rise.






y instinct mankind recalls in periods of upheaval in particular what has been, the good and old, the well-known and secure. This feeling of nostalgia becomes nowadays even stronger: Digitalization has blurred the borders between reality and fiction so that a distinction in what is true or not has become almost impossible. For the human being, a creature of habit that avoids the uncertain, this results in aproper irritation. Driven by the lack of certainty, a shift back to the essential and what we used to enjoy before the iGeneration was born. We focus on what as has been, perceive the world around us with new old eyes; eyes that have been educated by what they’ve already seen and take this experience to discover new realities.b) The beauty of nature, we forgot about over daily stress and smartphone displays reclaims our attention. A longing for authenticity and quality is more and more developing. Craft and quality are newly revived; instead of transitory fast fashion and mass products, unique and unpolished products that convey personality come into demand. Amsterdam, a city that is known for its charming and eccentric character, exemplifies this new tendency throughout the entire town-scape. When wandering for instance through the Jordaan or the Haarlemmerbuurt love for detail and a playful, authentic blend of old and new catch the attention. Especially the various concept stores embrace this aesthetic and show how the new mindset mirrors in the shopping environment. While Sukha and Restored maintain for instance their own special identity, they have yet something in common: Both stores convey a feeling of home and cosiness. Not buying but the experience are the center of attention. This effect is on the one hand achieved through the pleasant interior that invites to stay. On the other hand through the selection of crafted, unique and exclusive products that is especially achieved by putting emphasis on featuring unknown and young talents.

Lounge feeling at Sukha Amsterdam


The arrangement within the store pays attention to every item and invites the visitor to explore with the curious eyes of a child. “I want my clients to step into another world, a bubble”, explains Janwillem Sanderse, owner of the interior design Store without a home the idea behind.


Clear statement in Restored’s loft style store

Here every item deserves special attention

Oddities in the Nine Streets

Playful home items at Store without a home


A short escape from the daily city routine

Rough exterior but a highly inviting interior with living room factor. At Pllek the mix makes it!


different take on the trend reveals when taking the ferry to the north bank of the Ij river. Even if the city center is not what you would call loud and crowded, Amsterdam-Noord seems even more relaxed. The island is surrounded by a magic silence and allows an escape from the daily urban life.

Right at the bank with a phenomenal view to the other side of Amsterdam, Pllek, café, restaurant and cultural venue in one, has settled down. Made out of industrial raw materials and old containers the venue provides a cozy core inside. It’s representative for the rough, unpolished character of the NSDM.

Yet there’s much to discover in this up-coming area and melting pot for Amsterdam’s creatives. Center of attention is the NSDM wharf, formerly the city’s largest shipyard and a vivid example of New Old / Old New. The hangar accommodates today the Kunstad, a workplace for artists and flagship for unique Amsterdam craftsmanship.

Having the Port as its landmark, this rustic urban atmosphere can also be found in Rotterdam. With its harbor the town-scape is constantly developing, driven by the city’s modernist originality. Rotterdam’s architects play hereby with the heritage of the Port and incorporate it in projects such as MVRDV’s virtually planned Container City.


Space for craft and creativity: The Kunststad

Plenty of opportunities in Noord

Also for the growing art-scene uniqueness and craftsmanship plays a highly important role: Currently the Museum Boijmans Van Beuninge hosts the exhibition “Hand-Made: Long Live Crafts�. What units Amsterdam and Rotterdam despite having each an individual approach on the trend, is the authentic blend of past, present and future that creates a roughedged but charming vibe. With the rising shift from mass to pecularity and quality, this trend is highly likely to gain even more popularity in the future. The importance of sustainability encourages moreover smart up-cycling solutions such as giving old containers a new meaning.


EMPIRE STATE OF BODY&MIND THE HAPPY-HEALTHY LIFESTYLE Purity, authenticity and fairness are Marqt’s key values

On offer: Fresh, natural and local products


he pursuit of happiness and health is a quest our prime fathers have already been facing. Although a connection between the two has always been there, it was never as close as today. It’s a par of the increasing desire for self-fulfillment. Crisis and environmental issues have given people a shake to wake up. Media in all its diversity and the internet in particular have shaped our minds and make us more critical by making broad information easily and fast accessible. Along with this goes a higher (market) transparency, as the recent horsemeat scandal in the food industry shows for instance. The broader outlook, media&co. imply is make us rethink our whole lifestyle: Due to recession, growing competition and a higher life expectancy, retirement age is raising. While mental stress and burnout become common illness, health insurance premiums are mounting immensely. “You are what you eat” and so the search for a new lifestyle that meets the mood of the times, drives our attention


in particular to new eating habits and food consume. While for the majority of the Dutch consumers a low price represents still the main buying criteria, there’s at the same time a shift towards organic food with an reliable origin. In the city of Amsterdam and Rotterdam this tendency mirrors among others in the growing number of organic supermarkets, restaurants and cafés: Grocery concepts like the wholefood chain Marqt are on the rise. Opening the first store in Amsterdam in 2007, it counts today eight branches, two of them in Rotterdam and four in the capital. Under the claim “Real Eating” it provides the customer with fair regional products that are purely authentic. The offered goods in all their natural beauty build the center of attention, this also mirrors in the simple but highly pleasant store layout. For the customers, better taste and health represent the main motivation for buying at Marqt but also growing respect for the environment and the hope to contribute to improvement play an important role for many customers.

Suggestion by a book-store: DIY

Marqt’s minimalist and modern interior succeeds

Also on the rise: Natural cosmetics and compounds

Tea as a matter of mind at the cafĂŠ TwoForOne



hat offering green high quality goods often goes along with an environment that makes the costumer feel relaxed comes especially the clear when taking a look at Amsterdam and Rotterdam’s green food venues. The Dutch-Danish vintage design at Vinnies Deli in Amsterdam or Rotterdam’s Picknick, convey a casual, open and cozy living room atmosphere where friends seem to come and go to enjoy fresh, organic treats.

Doing good for yourself and the environment results in inner balancwwe and happiness. That the latter contributes in turn to a better well-being has been proven meanwhile also by scientists. Researchers at the University College London found out that happiness improves the functioning of biological key processes.c) iA study by the Harvard University supports this by suggesting that more optimistic people are up to 50% less likely to suffer cardiovascular disease.d) Also psychology embraces the connection between health and happiness. The field of Positive Psychology offers an alternative to the traditional, curative model by putting the emphasis on in increasing well-being and making life more fulfilling instead of actively treating mental disease. In order to achieve positiveness, therapists identify for instance when and how it occurs in order to apply it then broadly by means of “story editing”.e) The connection between happiness and health, how it is used by brands and scientists in combination with the changing, increasingly conscious mindset of society indicate that Empire State of Body&Mind and the values attached to it will obtain in the near future even more importance. With a growing demand, the healthy-happy lifestyle becomes more popular and common. From a marketing and branding perspective this means not only speaking about but actually bringing these values to the more selective and sustainably minded consumer.

Top-seller: Home-made Granola


Fresh design and food at Vinnies Deli

Picknick in Rotterdam is the new concept of artist and designer Marie Vogelzang. The name reflects not only the love of nature for food but also in the interior design and atmosphere. Marie Vogelzang is also the iniciator of Proef, a green restaurant at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam.


gEOMETRY RELOADED “Nature’s order is not a disorder, but it is confusing and sometimes incalculable. Incessantly people have tried to understand its secrets: robably because of their rightful fear of what nature with its sudden violence might do to them. So they went lookingw for regularities and repetitive patterns. The old myths were succeeded by scientific systems, for a single purpose only: to be in control of nature.”


ormer Stedelijk director and art historian Rudi Fuchs once said, reflecting on an art work based on geometrical shapes.f) The fear of losing control is besides the power of habit one of mankind’s biggest weaknesses that show in particular in unsteady times like now. As Fuchs indicates this phenomena is not of recent age but looks back to a long tradition. However, the urge of being in control is not only restricted to nature but includes the whole cosmos, including humanity itself. The question why geometry has always retained its fascination and never really comes out of fashion goes beyond the desire for control and routine. It takes us back to the ancient world and the origin of Sacred Geometry, a field of archeology and anthropology that deals with religious, philosophical and spiritual beliefs attached to geometry throughout time.g)

It was not only commonly believed that God created the universe according to geometry, plan figures such as the square or triangle were related to numbers and thus used for counting and calculating. As numbers had in turn a symbolic meaning attached to them, three was for instance considered as divine and holy, these were adopted to the geometric shapes which carried eventually an even higher emotional value.

Display at Unlimited Delicious

Paulus Kerk Rotterdam 15 - TRENDBOOK

Another justification for the fascination geometry relates in turn back to the power of habit. A study carried out among others by the Harvard University in 2011, suggests that all human beings have the ability to understand elementary geometry, independent of their culture or level of education.h) Besides aesthetics, the interplay between these factors and our mindset suggest a reasonable explanation why geometry is an on-going trend that is variable, sometimes more and sometimes less present. While in 2012 the triangle gained in particular popularity in the context of the SWAG style and fashion hype, Amsterdam reveals currently a more diverse take on geometry: Wild distortions, abstract combinations and orders as well in fashion as in interior design and architecture appear that reveal however their geometric base. The edgy and freethinking aesthetic somehow also mirrors the image of Amsterdam: The city is for many the embodiment of freedom and considered a stronghold of creativity. Amsterdammers are considered as friendly but straight-forward.

Constructive lamp design at DotShop

Constellation-like geometry at LockStock&Barrel

Geometric window construction at Chabrol Wines

Triangles for everybody at Restored



otterdam offers especially in terms of architecture a big diversity of experimental geometry. The most famous example are probably the Cube Houses designed by Piet Bloem in 1984 but there are various more recent ones like the Shipping and Transport College or the general Central Business Area. What characterizes the geometry in Rotterdam’s architecture is a certain incorporated playfulness that is yet highly modernist.

Geometric interplay at the Beekwilder show-room

Also in the future, geometry will not seize any of its attractiveness for designers and architects. Especially for the latter the eagerness to experiment and discover new dimension of geometry seems, in particular in the industry’s epicenter Rotterdam, by no means maxed.Piet Bloem’s famous Cube Houses, 1984

Rotterdam’s Shipping and Transport College by Neutelings Riedijk Architects, 2005 Piet Bloem’s famous Cube Houses, 1984


Amsterdam’s new Paleis van Justitie by J.P. van Eesteren, 2012

AMFI Triptiek 2013 student project

Display at SPRMRKT concept store





very trend that has been presented in this book is individual and still all of them relate to each other by mirroring the current spirit of time and essential features of mankind. The power of habit, the longing for control and explanation, individualism and affiliation at the same time; all these traits were clearly discernible in our trends and proof that despite digitalization&co. some things just never change. In combination with the zeitgeist umbrella this also explains why we were able to find most of the times parallels in the city of Rotterdam, even if the trends derived from our observations and findings within the capital. Despite being based on common ground, trends are thus flexible patterns that can occur in different forms while having the same essence. Even if some of them don’t seem to reveal at first sight a relation to fashion, they are still applicable to a brand concept that offers a basic clothing such as the skirt. In order to be hereby successful there are to keywords to consider: Differentiation and relevance! The Amsterdam Allegory already offers a clear example for an approach: Based on mindset and values, the idea becomes visible through its depiction in symbols such as the three crosses. The street-wear label Patta shows that incorporating this symbolic in a brand logo means also adapting the strong and unmistakable identity behind. The success proves that this message reaches its target group, however there’s a risk of being too one-sided and restricted regarding the brand’s future development. Facing the vintage hype that is especially in Amsterdam big and the growing number of concept stores, it brand concept based on New Old / Old New wouldn’t have it easy. The main challenge for standing out of the mass would be to focus on conveying the emotions attached to this trend. The brand and its products have to convey uniqueness and a slightly eccentric feeling, achieved through high quality craftsmanship that allows yet rough edges. Decisive is however the nostalgic and personal approach. Being in the store and wearing the skirt, the customer must feel a story behind, for instance as if the garment was specially made for him by his grandmother.

A brand dedicated to Empire State of Body&Mind would convey in turn a form of well-being that is based on optimism and consciousness, towards yourself and the environment. Of course sustainable fashion comes hereby immediately to mind. Eco-friendly is over its “environmental-activistimage” and has proven to make people feel better by doing good for the environment and their own sake. While working notably well in terms of food, applying awareness proves to be in fashion however much more difficult. Even research has proven that buying green food doesn’t go along with an according fashion consume. Converting the consumer from fast fashion that is (apparently) also increasingly embracing the conscious trend, presents thus the main challenge for the brand. The key to success is authenticity; from bags to clothes, tags to store concept, all backed up and connected by a razor-sharp identity that doesn’t allow compromises but is based on strong values and responsibility. Geometry Reloaded would mean in terms of a brand concept playing around with the well-known by reinventing and rethinking it without losing its essence. The balance act is hereby not too drift too far away but staying at the same time innovative. Surprising the customer anew and challenging him while still making it possible to understand by relating it back to a common base, that’s what the brand should accomplish. Even if signs and statistics allow us to draw conclusions for the future, one can never be sure what time will bring. The same apllies to trends: They come and go, some stay longer while others only flash. There’s not a clear or common explanation for every trend but by relating it to the spirit of time and finding out what is behind, there’s nearly always a story behind to discover.


references INFORMATION/STATEMENTS a) Statista, Statistics on urbanization degree world-wide in 2012

PAGE NO. 3 [retrieved 17 March 2013] b) Vroons, E., 2013, Magazine preface, GUP Issue #36


c) University College London, 2011, The Science of Hapiness

13 [retrieved 17th March 2013] d) Harvard School of Public Health


Rimer, S., Drexler, M., 2011, Happiness&Health [retrieved 17th March 2013] e) Positive Psychology

13 [retrieved 17th March 2013] f) Fuchs, R., 2011, Preface Catalogue Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Cahier No.23


About the art-work “Pentagonism� by Gerard Caris [retrieved 15th March 2013] g) Sacred Geometry [retrieved 16th March 2013] 21 - TRENDBOOK


IMAGERY 1. Sneaker by Patta in collaboration with Asics [image]

PAGE NO. 6 [retrieved 14h March 2013] 2.Picture from Patta Winter 2012 Lookbook [image]

6 [retrieved 14th March 2013] 3. Logo Rotterdamse Rave [image]

6 [retrieved 16h March 2013] 4. Sukha Amsterdam Interior [image]

7 [retrieved 12th March 2013] 5. Lunchroom Picknick Rotterdam interior [images]

14 [retrieved 15th March 2013] 6. Shipping and Transport College in Rotterdam by Neutlings Riedjik Architects [image]

17 [retrieved 20th March 2013] 7. Photo by LucyandBart, art collaborative [image]

19-20 [retrieved 24th March 2013] TRENDBOOK - 22

a project by miriam al-massad amfi 2013

Amsterdam Trend Book  

Intensive field research in the city of Amsterdam was combined with desk research into the Zeitgeist of the decade, in order to create an in...

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