How Dutch fashion is making an impression worldwide

The Dutch fashion industry is making an impression worldwide through brands such as  G-star, Gsus and McGregor to name a few.

The Dutch fashion sector

The Dutch fashion sector can be characterised as:

  • conceptual
  • open-minded
  • pragmatic
  • process-oriented
  • innovative

The vast majority of turnover in the Dutch fashion branch is generated by two types of fashion suppliers: brand suppliers and private label suppliers. Brands may further be differentiated as being either Dutch brands (such as G-Star, Gsus, Sandwich and Supertrash) or foreign brands with a sales office or regional headquarters in the Netherlands (for example, Nike EMEA in Hilversum employs 1,449 people).

Key aspects & strengths

The Netherlands has several internationally successful fashion designers (including Iris van Herpen, Spijkers en Spijkers) and fashion brands (G-Star, Sandwich, Gsus, JustB). G-Star have teamed-up with top photographer, Dutchman Anton Corbijn, for their worldwide advertising campaigns. Some Dutch apparel retail outlets also occupy key market positions internationally (C&A, HEMA).

  • Since the mid-1990s, Dutch couturiers and ready-to-wear brands have been met with growing enthusiasm in international markets.
  • Increasing numbers of young Dutch fashion designers are showing their creations successfully on international catwalks.
  • Overseas sales of Dutch labels such as G-Star, Sandwich, Blue Blood, Gsus and Just B are on the rise.
  • The fashion departments in the Dutch design academies train well-educated and forward-thinking young conceptualists.
  • The Netherlands itself is becoming an international stage for the fashion industry, with initiatives such as the Arnhem Mode Biennale, Amsterdam International Fashion Week, Streetlab and the Dutch Fashion Awards.

Facts & figures

It is difficult to obtain an accurate, up-to-date overview of turnover in the fashion sector. This is because specific statistical data pertaining to the fashion (design) sector are unavailable, or not readily accessible. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that, in 2009, a total of 4,670 designers were employed in various design fields, including fashion, interior design, furniture design and graphic design.

MODINT, with around 800 members, is the largest textile and fashion industry organisation in the Netherlands. Around half of its members operate internationally. The fashion industry, with 595 members, is the largest branch within MODINT. This group is mainly comprised of fashion suppliers (brands and private labels) and very few independent fashion designers. Total turnover for those companies affiliated with MODINT, is € 9 billion, of which, 45% is derived from export (2010). Some 25% of this export goes to Germany.