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Political Catwalk mixes fashion with politics

Participant Narjiss Bakali wins first place with a female symbol dress

After a resounding success two years ago, Political Catwalk is back again at Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam. 20 young people showed their designs for 10 politicians, then the jury selected a winner: Narjiss Bakali, with a hot pink dress shaped like the symbol for femininity.

How does the younger generation think about politics? How do you combine fashion and politics, and what does one have to do with the other? These were the key questions at Political Catwalk. Organiser Stichting f6's goal with this project wasn’t just to make young people more aware of politics and democracy, but to grow their social networks, as well. With artistic leader Sepehr Maghsoudi, master class professor Bas Kosters and designers Parish and Makers Unite as guides, Political Catwalk couldn’t be anything but successful this time around, too.

Politicians on the runway

Over the last few months, the young designers have spent every Wednesday thinking about, designing, and putting together their designs for the politicians. Among the models were members of the First and Second Chambers, North Holland Provincial Council members, Amsterdam city council members, and politicians from the West Amsterdam City District. The show was opened by VVD Amsterdam city council member Marja Ruigrok. She took her first steps down the runway in a long, white dress with multiple armholes, made by Political Catwalk participant Meike van Lelyveld.

Black and white with a touch of rainbow

As the show progressed, it became clear that the complete collection was based on a black-and-white colour palette, with a touch of rainbow here and there, as seen in Jamairo Scoop's design. He fixed an enormous, rainbow-coloured fan onto his black dress, which the 'model' fanned out like a proud peacock at the end of her turn on the runway. We also saw a diverse range of designs, including a cheerily colourful suit with yellow glitter details, a black satin cape finished with buttons, a quasi-Greek white lace toga, and a Batman-esque dress made from shiny black material.

2017 Political Catwalk Winner

In between shows, the audience was surprised by a dance performance from the ISH Dance Collective. Three dancers danced 'Political Battle' to the tune of Bjørn Torske's Eight Years, proving that dance, too, can be a reflection of politics. After all of the designs had been seen, the jury deliberated before handing down a verdict. The two incentive awards were given to Meike Lelyveld and Jamairo Scoop, but Narijs was the big winner of the day. She showed a hot pink dress shaped like a feminine symbol. The jury thought it was a very strong design deserving of the first place spot, along with the €250 cash prize.

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