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M.E.N. turns out to be an interesting contrast between costume and rugby

The designers try to bring stereotypical men and women apparel closer to each other

The name M.E.N. could indicate a label for men. But the truth is, the designer collective exists of three girls: Maartje Janse, Elysanne Schuurman and Nikki Duijst.

With Studio M.E.N., the three girls want to approach the role of fashion designer in a different way. They want to experiment and innovate without making concessions. They worked together before at a different collective called MOAM and are always looking to strengthen their own talents by working with others on perfecting the results so it matches their ideals, like for instance the sustainability of production. They do this by using other designer’s leftover material. Leftover fabric was used from collections made by Ann Demeulemeester, A.F. Vandevorst, Dries van Noten and Walter van Beirendonck.

Confusing

A show that starts with a group of muscular rugby players rolling out a green carpet sets the tone for the rest of the presentation: at least it was a real surprise. With the collection M.E.N., they take the traditional gender roles out of the original context. The male models carry out this idea in a successful way: we see a flamboyant overall-like long yellow dress and a top with extra long, laser cut lace sleeves. Not that masculine. It proves once again that it is easier to add rugged, masculine elements to female garments than the other way around. The female models do not have to loose their ‘sexiness’. The sporty, male elements – tracksuit, shorts – that the female models are showing, can also be interpreted as feminine. Especially if we look at the cut. But maybe that is the whole point? The collection is named ‘ES TUT MIR LEID ! Ich habe mich verwählt’ which means: ‘ Sorry, I made a mistake’.

"With this collection, M.E.N. take the traditional gender roles out of the original context"

Why rugby?

The key question in this story is all about the role of rugby. The theme of this collection is the ‘game’ between men and women, so the choice to go with rugby – which is an extremely manly game with muscular guys and a lot of screaming – makes sense. The team spirit and the combativeness that rugby entails is also something M.E.N. want to be associated with.

 

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