20 April 2017

Interview with Anne Marie Commandeur, Stijlinstituut Amsterdam

Mrs Commandeur, let’s talk about Stijlinstituut. Could you please describe your activity, in particular the cooperation with companies?

Stijlinstituut Amsterdam is an agency that consults the fashion and interiors industry with a strong expertise in innovative development and design of fibre, textiles and materials. We link trend research and analyses through innovative design and communication. Our services range from design consultancy, presentations, and production of prototypes to content, design and realisation of magazines, books, trend forums and exhibitions.
To mention some of our projects: trend marketing tools for global manufacturers and brands, like the legwear, intimate apparel/swim and woven segments of INVISTA and for Swarovski Interior, Jewellery and Accessories. We design and curate trend forums and produce trend books for material exhibitions, among them is Heimtextil organised by Messe Frankfurt. We work on publications on trends in fashion fabrics and lifestyle/interiors for Textile View Magazine. Other projects we worked on range from inspiration showers for Vlisco, African Wax textiles, curating a pavilion at a future of apparel summit for VF apparel, design and realization of an exhibition on smart wearable’s for Nanolab/Swissnex during NY Fashion Week.
Next to the commercial projects I am a regular guest lecturer and external examiner at a number of European academies and universities.

How long have you been working in trends? Which aspects of your personality made you decide to become a trendsetter?

30 years ago I started working as a fashion and pattern designer mainly for the sportswear, swimwear and intimate apparel industry. Invista was already then one of my customers, as were O’Neill, Mäser, Benger, Arena, Nike and Gottex.  During the years it became obvious my value as an external consultant was to be able to look at the big picture instead of focussing on details. My work changed to trend research, analysis and consultancy - providing trend insights, and working on applied concepts that were more conceptual and innovative, to inspire and trigger innovation. One of the strengths of my agency is our network, we compose versatile teams of professionals to work on our projects. All being experts in their field, a unique team made to match each customer’s project.

The today’s big debate about ethics in fashion. What is your opinion about it?

I am absolutely convinced that the only way forward is working on systems, concepts and industry fit for a resilient future. Taking social responsibility as well as environmental sustainability into account. We realise it needs time and resources to change processes and develop technology for more sustainable production processes. But we think every effort is worthwhile since it is obvious that change is urgently needed. This serves a social, environmental as well as on the long term also an economical goal. I am truly passionate about this topic and messages related to this are interwoven with all of our content whatever segment or output we are delivering.

The fashion industry has been changed a lot throughout these lasts years. In your opinion which is the role of trend forecasting?

Where previously ‘what trend’ was the question, now our customers ask us ‘why this trend’, ‘why now’ and ‘where does it come from’.
The role of contemporary trend forecasting is to signal trends, to inspire and trigger innovation. To offer insights and show the context that drives change and innovation in design. And in a next stage our role is to work on application of these insights by translating them into product development and communication concepts.

We are so glad to start this cooperation with you. What do you expect from the MarediModa trend board formula ?

I entered this project thanks to the other member of the MarediModa trendboard; Textile View Magazine. David Shah being one of our clients. This being a very inspiring and energising collaboration motivated us to join. Energy and inspiration is also to be found in the topic of MarediModa exhibition, Bodywear - capturing sports as well as swim, intimate apparel and hosiery - being my favourite subject ever since I started my professional practice. I always liked the high value and strong technological aspect of these segments.
Next to this I value the strong segment focus and local character of the MarediModa exhibition. In the trend board formula I appreciate the close and immediate collaboration with colleagues and industry. I hope to be involved in future discussions on trends and innovation in the segment and to have an opportunity to share our views, inspirations and concerns.