RVDK Ronald van der Kemp Couture Spring 2023

At RVDK, guests arrived at the Dutch ambassador’s Paris residence amid red smoke, sirens and Kim Kardashian’s voice repeating ad nauseam that she has “thousands and thousands of clothes,” tallying some 30,000 items.

That sound bite had gotten under the Dutch designer’s skin. “People like Kim Kardashian could change the world. They’re bigger than Michelle Obama in terms of influence, so do something good with it [for sustainability]. The whole world is in turmoil,” he said backstage before a spring show he deemed a happening.  

As a result, he started to question the “whole idea of fashion shows” and of influencers, bringing professional models, clients, performers and influential fashion types together on his runway.

A sustainability advocate and a lawyer for LGBTQ issues rounded out this cast he felt portrayed his belief that being sustainable means determining one’s style and building a wardrobe.

As ever, his spring silhouettes were unabashedly colorful, glamorous and cut from a flotsam of castoffs, including his previous collections. It went from the simplicity of a pink column sheath or a black coat dress with gold buttons to the drama of a lamé opera coat and a chain link dress with lozenges of patent leather — all unique.

There is, however, one thing van der Kemp would mass produce: the “trashure trove” fabric.

He explained it was a completely circular fabric made from “the worst of the worst” in terms of textile scraps and which he’s been working on in collaboration with textile collector organization Sympany, social enterprise i-did and the The Hague University of Applied Sciences’ circular economy center of expertise Mission Zero.

On a boxy tailored jacket, a flirty minidress or an asymmetrical gown made of individually crafted flowers, they lent credence to his belief that one industry’s trash can — and should — become a designer’s supply.

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