European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World

MoMu grand reopening: Fashion 2.021 and fashion as E/MOTION


MoMU finally reopens to the public with an ambitious program of events that wants to take over the city and infuse it with the energy of contemporary fashion.

‘Fashion 2.021 Antwerp – Fashion/Conscious’ is the ambitious reopening programme initiated by MoMu – Antwerp’s fashion museum, in collaboration with the city of Antwerp and VISITFLANDERS. The program aims at ‘invading’ the city with an impressive line up of projects, events, activities and exhibitions reflecting on the changing nature of fashion.

The name ‘Fashion/Conscious’ refers to the conscious discovery of fashion as an industry in evolution; the consciousness on the ecological and human sustainability of the industry for both producers and consumers; finally, the right acknowledgement of the pivotal role of the city of Antwerp as prominent fashion city, historically as well as now. As Nabilla Ait Daoud, alderman for culture, said: “The transition within fashion is a global theme, and the concept of ‘reset’ appears to have social relevance on all levels. For the City of Antwerp, the reopening of MoMu is a time to celebrate, because Antwerp is all about fashion, but it is also a moment for introspection. The city must also reflect critically on its position. This project can further develop the long-term vision of Antwerp as a fashion city and an international fashion destination of the future.”

The renovation of the museum itself led to a rethinking of the exhibition space, that now hosts the ambitious exhibition: ‘E/MOTION. Fashion in Transition’ which explores the way in which fashion is an expression of emotion, fear and desire in society: fashion is both ‘emotion’ and ‘in motion’. Through themes such as the female body, 9/11, identity and surveillance the exhibition looks at how fashion can expose and even anticipate the different emotions running through society. The exhibition is divided into chapters that function as portals through which social, political and psychological change is explored. All objects – an assemblage of fashion silhouettes, artworks, photography, video and documentation – are presented as symbols, icons or metaphors of their time. Of the exhibition, Kaat Debo, director of the museum, said: “We want to push the meaning of fashion in the museum. Move beyond the canonized narratives of fashion history. Fashion needs a place for reflection and criticism. A haven to calmly observe the philosophy and dynamics behind fashion, its history and its future. A place to explore what fashion is, and what it does with people.”