Ronald van der Kemp recently hosted an event at the luxurious Residence of the Dutch Ambassador to France, where guests were greeted by a thick curtain of smoke, ominous red lights, and a wall of disturbing noise. The event served not only as a fashion show, but also as a metaphor for the turmoil of the world. van der Kemp aims to raise awareness about the state of our planet and believes that fashion can play a role in bringing about positive change.
Eight-and-a-half years ago, when he began designing sustainably, many thought he was crazy, but with the younger generation embracing his approach, he deserves credit for being ahead of his time. The event featured a collection made entirely from recycled or upcycled couture fabrics, lace, trimmings, ribbons, and leather scraps, ingeniously transformed into showstopping pieces. The cast was as imaginative as the clothing, featuring a human rights lawyer, a museum copywriter, a flamboyant Japanese fashion journalist, and a retired businesswoman from the medicine industry.
Ronald van der Kemp’s main focus is humanity. Among the exceptional collection of upcycled pieces, three looks stood out, made with the in-house developed Trashure Trove fabric, a scalable project in which small scraps of silk, lamé, or leather are re-woven into new textiles. One was an asymmetrical minidress made with pieces of multicolored leather with a metallic shine, another was a discarded black leather jacket that had been reconstructed in an imaginative way and paired with extravagant black and gray jeans that had been pierced, re-embroidered with thin rope, and richly embellished. The third was an asymmetrical, one-shouldered dress made with a rainbow of assembled, hand-crafted mousseline flowers, salvaged from the trash and given new life. “Trash is the new gold“, van der Kemp said, and it was hard to disagree.