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Retro hip-hop feel sets the tone for Liesbeth Sterkenburg's NEWSTREET EXPO collection

Designer created her own fictional street gang

Menswear collections are becoming better represented at Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam. After showing as part of a larger concept presentation, Liesbeth Sterkenburg held her first solo show on Saturday afternoon. At the previous edition of Mercedes-Benz FashionWeek Amsterdam, the designer took part in Beauty and the Beast, a Disney-supported collection that included one of her ensembles, and several of her designs appeared in Future Generation.

This time, Sterkenburg had the opportunity to put her solo talents on display, and she found success with her contemporary, '70s-streetwear-inspired collection. Anyone who's seen the Netflix hit, The Get Down, will recognise the references right off the bat. In the '70s, the Bronx was overrun by riots and rival gangs. Of course that came along with its share of violence, but the series also focuses on the creativity that bubbled up from the neighbourhood during that era. Sterkenburg thought she, too, would create her own gang, but one made up of rebel artists: the NEWSTREET EXPOS. These creatives spend their nights on the streets, filling empty city walls with their own art. They use their bodies as a canvas, proudly wearing their own art and their own symbols. The hand is the NEWSTREET EXPO symbol, as they use a range of hand signals to communicate with one another.

From monochrome to prints

Sterkenburg's earlier collections were characterised by a monochromatic, black-and-white colour palette. This time, the designer challenged herself by putting prints at the heart of her collection. The Prince de Galles check is a recurring theme in this collection, as is her own self-sketched print. That repetition is something that is, indeed, often seen in gangs, signalling that the members belong to one specific group. The prints were broken up by coloured stripes. The orange, brown, and grey-tinted colour palette was inspired by '70s men's suits, while the bright reds and yellows hearken back to that decade's sportswear.

"A trip down memory lane for hip-hop fans"

Hip-hop

The '70s have been a hot topic in fashion for several seasons now, as has the combination of high-end designs with streetwear. Sterkenburg has consistently integrated both elements into her collection. Details and accessories were translated into bucket hats and fanny packs, signature elements of hip-hop culture. The playlist, too, made its own contribution, with Chief Rocka’s Lord of the Underground kicking things off and Chubb Rock’s Treat ‘Em Right closing the show. It was a trip down memory lane for hip-hop fans.

Van Sterkenburg's show kicked off with this 70’s, acid wash, blue cotton denim-on-denim look. © Peter Stigter
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Van Sterkenburg's show kicked off with this 70’s, acid wash, blue cotton denim-on-denim look. © Peter Stigter
Prince de Galles check formed part of the collection, seen here in an accessory. © Peter Stigter
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Prince de Galles check formed part of the collection, seen here in an accessory. © Peter Stigter
Sterkenburg created a fictional going for the collection called NEWSTREET EXPO. © Peter Stigter
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Sterkenburg created a fictional going for the collection called NEWSTREET EXPO. © Peter Stigter
The traditional Prince de Galles check was broken up by a wavy pattern. © Peter Stigter
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The traditional Prince de Galles check was broken up by a wavy pattern. © Peter Stigter
Fanny packs slung sideways are a social networking element of hip-hop culture. © Peter Stigter
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Fanny packs slung sideways are a social networking element of hip-hop culture. © Peter Stigter
The bucket hats were also taken from hip-hop culture. © Peter Stigter
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The bucket hats were also taken from hip-hop culture. © Peter Stigter
Members of NEWSTREET EXPO wear their creative materials on their bodies as tools. © Peter Stigter
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Members of NEWSTREET EXPO wear their creative materials on their bodies as tools. © Peter Stigter
The designer also made her own, sketch-like print. © Peter Stigter
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The designer also made her own, sketch-like print. © Peter Stigter
With this collection, Sterkenburg challenged herself to move away from the monochromatic black-and-white colour palette and inject more colour into this collection. © Peter Stigter
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With this collection, Sterkenburg challenged herself to move away from the monochromatic black-and-white colour palette and inject more colour into this collection. © Peter Stigter
NEWSTREET EXPO an artists' going, a group of outcasts whose members were rejected by the art academies or found their rules to be to strict. Together, they form a group of creates who spend their nights on the streets, filling the city's empty walls with their own art. © Peter Stigter
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NEWSTREET EXPO an artists' going, a group of outcasts whose members were rejected by the art academies or found their rules to be to strict. Together, they form a group of creates who spend their nights on the streets, filling the city's empty walls with their own art. © Peter Stigter

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Liesbeth Sterkenburg

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