A possible end to Amsterdam Fashion Week

A crowded catwalk at an Amsterdam Fashion Week show at Westergasfabriek (Michiel020/Wikimedia Commons)A crowded catwalk at an Amsterdam Fashion Week show at Westergasfabriek (Michiel020/Wikimedia Commons)

The livelihood of Amsterdam Fashion Week (AFW) is under serious threat, after the city's municipality expressed a reluctance to subsidize the event. As foreign competitors steal more of Dutch talent and audiences, the event's organizer Bart Maussen is contemplating his next move. In an interview with Quote magazine, he revealed that unless more support is provided by the municipality, it is the end of this event in Amsterdam.

This year's AFW is scheduled to start on the January 16, and runs for ten days, but Maussen has revealed that as of next year, the event may be moved to another city or stopped entirely. A meeting has been scheduled with the municipality later this month to determine whether or not the municipality will issue financial support for the event.

Maussen has set a benchmark grant amount of 200,000 euro as the necessary minimum to keep the event afloat, but agrees that Rotterdam is the obvious choice if the event is to be moved.

While the previous administration of Amsterdam refused to contribute and suggested that the event be moved to Rotterdam, certain current council members, like Kajsa Ollongren have expressed a desire to support AFW.

The threat to the event stems from the massive scale of other European fashion events, and their subsequent ability to "hijack" Dutch talent. The size of the fashion weeks of London, Paris and Milan make it difficult for Amsterdam to market itself as a lucrative fashion capital, says Maussen. He attributes the success of these events in part to the commitment of international municipalities to supporting fashion, and urges Amsterdam to see this as a wake-up call.

Without public funding and with dwindling commitment from sponsors, Maussen has been forced to fund the event himself, but describes this as an unrealistic strategy for the long run.