This was the fashion news of 2021 (part 2)

The second half of the year was just as filled with news, if not more, as the first half of the year. FashionUnited takes you through the biggest news of the last six months of 2021.


What is perhaps most memorable from last July is the high water and, as a result, the floods in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Very heavy rainfall leads to a gigantic rise in the water level in no time. While one part of Europe is dealing with heavy rainfall, the south of Europe is dealing with forest fires.

There is also plenty happening in the fashion industry this month. For example, fashion designer Phoebe Philo announces that she is returning with her own label. Belgian bag brand Delvaux falls into the hands of luxury group Richemont and Luxottica, LVMH and Chanel are rapped on the fingers by a French competition watchdog.

In the Netherlands, the corona situation quickly goes to ‘critical’ position in July. At the end of June, a lot of measures will be relaxed and the ‘dancing with Jansen’ tactic in which people who receive a shot with the Jansen vaccine immediately receive a corona pass, causes a very rapid increase in infections. On 10 July, the government immediately intervened again. Nightclubs and night catering are closing their doors.

July is also the month that an attack is committed on crime journalist Peter R. de Vries. He is shot at close range in broad daylight in Amsterdam. The journalist died a few days after the attack.

In mid-July, it will also be announced that the works council of Dutch textile company Vlisco is resigning due to a ‘culture of fear’ at the company. The members of the board said they had to deal with discrimination and intimidation from the management of the company. At Hema, the company’s new strategy becomes clear. Hema is going to focus on the core markets and the United Kingdom appears not to be one of them. The chain is therefore withdrawing from the area.


August is a month when a lot is happening on the world stage. For example, an alarming climate report from the UN comes out. The report warns that only with drastic and large-scale measures it is still possible to increase the average temperature on earth by no more than 1.5 degrees. The timing of the report shortly after the floods and wildfires makes the message even harder.

As if there wasn’t enough going on, the world is also looking to Afghanistan where the capital Kabul is taken over by the Taliban in a few hours. People are trying to flee the city and the country with all their might. Evacuation turns out to be very difficult. With the situation in Kabul and the devastating climate report, the world seems to be on fire, literally and figuratively.

However, the world does not stand still. Vogue Scandinavia launches the very first edition with the cover model of activist Greta Thurnberg. G-Star Raw manages to snare a surprising ambassador: Snoop-Dogg. In the Netherlands, shoe retailer Omoda is also getting into fashion and opening sustainable department store Green Up in Utrecht. Removed in Belgium JBC gender labels on all clothing.

Credit: Mike Coppola / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP


The Met Gala returns. Not in the usual fifth month of the year, but this time in September. The world-famous fashion event, which takes place in and around the Metropolitan Museum in New York, provides plenty of iconic fashion moments. For example, Nikkie Tutorials, real name Nikkie de Jager, appears on the red carpet in a dress by Edwin Oudshoorn.

With the dress, De Jager pays tribute to drag queen an activist for trans rights Marsha P. Johnson.

Besides the gala, there is still plenty going on on the international fashion stage. For example, Furmark is launched by the International Fur Federation. It is a system for certification and traceability of fur. A day later, other animal material is in the news, but negatively. Footage taken at Australian crocodile farms shows the animals being kept in cramped pens and severely mistreated. The breeding farms are linked to various large luxury fashion houses.

Despite the corona measures, Amsterdam Fashion Week still finds a safe way to continue. The fashion week starts with a show by Schepers Bosman and brings fashion lovers to the Kröller Müller Museum and an abandoned gas station. The fashion week is diverse with new talents, is full of contrasts and really takes on a face of its own.

Besides Amsterdam Fashion Week, more events are taking place in the Netherlands. For example, there is the very first edition of the Circular Textile Days in Amersfoort and the fabric and pattern fair Evolution returns. In the month, Hema also announces that it will also withdraw from Spain after the United Kingdom. Huub Vermeulen will stop at after twenty years and The Next Closet will receive an investment of millions.

In Belgium, the long-awaited reopening of the Fashion Museum in Antwerp. On September 4, after three and a half years, the time has finally come. September is also the month in which the mouth cap obligation in stores in Flanders] lapses.

A special feature is the launch of a special information portal for retailers in the Benelux. It ‘Info point Benelux Retail’ is an overview of relevant legislation on retail, setting up a business, e-commerce and trading activities in another Benelux country.


The Chinese Fosun Group, the owner of Lanvin, among others, changes name. The group will from then on continue as the Lanvin Group. British fashion brand French Connection is finally falling into other hands. A consortium takes over the company for more than 33.3 million euros. Fashion house Fendi has teamed up with Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims.

While one company starts working together more in October, other partnerships stop. Hema is ending the collaborations with Franprix, Casino and Wehkamp. All this to further zoom in on the strategy to focus on Hema’s core markets and activities. On the other hand, the company wants to make it possible for fans of the chain to buy bonds. The collaboration with Jumbo is also being expanded.

The Netherlands also has enough news of its own. For example, the Dutch Design Awards are presented and The Fabricant takes home the fashion prize. Organization Moam, owned by fashion entrepreneur Martijn N., who has been suspected of sexual abuse since March, will cease to exist. Sun Capital offers Scotch & Soda financial support and extra capital and the children’s brand Donsje makes the move to Germany.

For the first time in fifty years, there are more vacancies in the Netherlands than the unemployed. As a result, the search for staff is becoming increasingly difficult, including for the retail sector. The staff shortage comes at a time when clothing and shoe stores are doing very well. Sales in the industry have been rising for six months in a row.

Walking into a store in Belgium without a mask turns out to be short-lived. A month after the relaxation, the mouth cap obligation will be introduced again. As a result, new retailer Eviva, Bel & Bo’s sister, can enjoy a mask-free policy for just two weeks. In mid-October, Eviva will make its debut in the shopping street and will focus on affordable fashion for sizes 44 to 54. Dutch brand Nubikk will also make its debut in the Belgian shopping street during the month.

Chris Dercon and The Jury Prize winner Walter Van Beirendonck – photo by J. Van Belle – WBI


Behind his unprecedented success was also a very serious illness. The death of designer Virgil Abloh shocked the fashion industry at the end of November. Abloh had been battling cancer for several years when he died a few days before one of his fashion shows at the age of 41.

The Netherlands has a less favorable corona situation in November. Figures are not rosy, so a press conference is scheduled for November 2. There will be an ‘evening lockdown’ that will also require non-essential shops to close at 5 p.m. There are even hints at the possible introduction of a corona pass for non-essential shops. However, it is not yet that far, for this must first be a change in the law.

In the meantime, Hema continues to streamline its activities. This is how the chain’s bakeries are sold, but nothing will change about the characteristic Hema delicacies such as the tompouce. In the same month, Fashionclash fashion festival wins the inspiration prize from the Limburgs Cultuurfonds, launches Retourvignette as a means to combat return abuse, extends sustainable fashion search engine Project Cece to all of Europe and the petition for legal supervision of international production chains is signed almost 40,000 times.

After the restart with Dille & Kamille earlier this year, Hutspot announced in November that the stores will close at the end of 2021. Hutspot will continue as an online brand for the time being while a new strategic plan for the brand is being worked on.

In Belgium, the annual Belgian Fashion Awards and Belgian Fashion Talks take place in November. Walter van Beirendonck and Nicolas di Felice are the big winners of the evening, but many others also receive prizes. At the beginning of the month, Antwerp also finds the conferences IAF and Euratex place for the fashion and textile industry.


December starts with a striking sprint to the metaverse. Both the OTB Group, Adidas, Balenciaga and even Zara are announcing steps into the metaverse. For some it is a collection that will be for sale in the digital world, the others announce a special company (branch) that will focus on products and experiences for the metaverse. The term ‘metaverse’, a virtual space that connects all virtual worlds using the internet and augmented reality, will quickly become the new buzzword of the fashion industry.

However, much more is happening. Luxury brand Roland Mouret and optical chains VistaSì, Eyewish and Grand Optical find new owners. The ECCHR files a complaint against C&A, State of Art, Nike and Patagonia about possible forced labor in the chain. Meanwhile, all editions of Elle magazine announce that they will stop using fur. About You announces to open a special webshop called WhyNot for streetwear in 2022 and invests in the streetwear brand 6PM.

A big deal that has been hinted at for months finally falls at the end of December: The Selfridges Group is being sold. The group, which also owns De Bijenkorf and Brown Thomas Arnotts, will be sold to a joint venture of Central Group and Signa Holding.

The pandemic still has the fashion industry in its grip. For example, Germany is introducing a 2G rule for non-essential shops and in Belgium shopping with a maximum of two people is again mandatory. In the Netherlands, however, the biggest blow falls with a hard lockdown that suddenly starts on Sunday 19 December. Stores are allowed to offer click & collect, but the closure just before Christmas is a heavy message. Trade associations indicate that due to the closure for the last two weeks of the year, many retailers will not be eligible for compensation because it is calculated on a quarterly basis. It is hoped for a stock compensation, but this is not in it.

In the meantime, it is getting busier in neighboring countries Germany and Belgium, since the shops and catering facilities are still open there, so that the Dutch cross the border en masse during the holiday season.

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