Mark van Vorstenbos new Head of Textile & Fashion

The Hague, 8 January 2019

As of February 2019, Mark van Vorstenbos will be the head of the Textile & Fashion department at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. Van Vorstenbos works as a designer and creative director for various brands in the Netherlands and abroad and was previously affiliated with ArtEZ as a (guest) teacher, research fellow and Head of Programme of the Master Fashion Design.

Van Vorstenbos (1967) studied Fashion Design at the Academy of Fine Arts Arnhem, later ArtEZ, and then worked as a designer for high-end fashion labels in France and Italy. In 2000 he returned to the Netherlands and worked as teacher at ArtEZ BA and MA, as well as designer and creative director for various national and international brands.

In 2010 he gave his career new direction when he founded the fashion label YOUASME MEASYOU with artist Twan Janssen. This "slow fashion" label created with crowdfunding broke pretty much all the rules regarding production and marketing that controlled the fashion industry until then. With sustainable knitwear essentials, the brand focused on a radically new mindset based on social and human values such as participation and inclusiveness. The Family of Founders who supported the brand were invited to present the collections to each other. In addition, public space was 'hacked' by using augmented reality to open virtual stores worldwide in city parks such as the Vondelpark in Amsterdam and Central Park in New York.

This approach and mindset garnered great success for the brand in terms of content and creativity. In 2015, YOUASME MEASYOU received the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Mode Stipendium.

Since 2017, Mark van Vorstenbos has been brand manager of cashmere label SoGoodToWear, a fair trade cooperative which breeds local goat herds to initiate a fair cashmere industry in areas in Nepal that were hit by the earthquake in 2015.

Van Vorstenbos is involved in Dutch fashion and design education in various ways. As a (guest) teacher, researcher and external examiner, he was associated with, among others, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Design Academy Eindhoven and ArtEZ, where he also led the master's programme Fashion Design from 2014 until 2017. From his position as (senior) lecturer and research fellow, Van Vorstenbos initiated various research projects for the textile industry, for instance in collaboration with The Woolmark Company, Eindhoven University of Technology, Wageningen University & Research, the Textile Museum and artist/designer Claudy Jongstra. Van Vorstenbos extensively researched both authentic and new material development and techniques so as to arrive at innovative and meaningful applications.

With this critical approach to research, combined with a wide national and international network and thorough knowledge of contemporary discourse in the world of fashion and textiles, Mark van Vorstenbos fits the position of head of the Textile & Fashion department at the KABK extremely well.

The Royal Academy of Art (KABK) - Department of Textile & Fashion

The KABK was founded in 1682 and is therefore the oldest art academy in the Netherlands, and one of the oldest in Europe. The KABK offers seven bachelor's and seven master's programmes, several preparatory courses and, in collaboration with Leiden University, a Double Degree and a PhD programme. The KABK offers intensive, structured and small-scale education in which students have considerable freedom to shape their personal interests and ambitions. Education at the KABK focuses on an eminently international field and is entirely in English. Together with the Royal Conservatoire (KC), the KABK forms the University of the Arts The Hague.

The Textile and Fashion department is unique in the Netherlands because of the combination of two professional disciplines in one programme. The 4-year bachelor's programme has a strong focus on innovation, experimentation, improvisation and reflection, as well as a thorough knowledge of history and folklore. Together with a multidisciplinary team of teachers, Mark van Vorstenbos will focus on the further development of the curriculum and collaboration with relevant (research and exchange) partners to strengthen the internationally distinctive profile of the programme.