Red light re-gentrification was issue of the day for our ‘Where did the Love go?’ feature in last months sex issue – and as such we thought it would be a good idea to head over to Amsterdam to see exactly what’s been going on.
Fully legalised back in 2007, Prostitution is now under the strict thumb of Amsterdam’s city council. Planning to 'dismantle the criminal infrastructure' and, in their own words, return a 'chic and shady' sense of balance to the community, brothels are closing left, right and centre.
With plans for a Las Ramblas style red carpet from Central Station into the Red Light District featuring ‘a Harrods of Amsterdam’, the city has called in creative consultants HTNK to commission up-and coming Dutch fashion designers to fill the empty brothel windows before squatters set in.
There is certainly some interesting stuff on show. With black, red and aquamarine 3D-print tunic dresses from ...andbeyond, and avant-garde masks, dolls and out-there streetwear from the omni-pierced Bas Kosters - there is talent a-plenty. Though the prostitutes tend not to agree, as our ex-prostitute guide, Metje, reveals in her husky, filed-off tones - 'the girls don't like the mannequins, they make them feel self-conscious'
Whilst the prostitutes themselves may not be able to live up to the impossible plastic standards of the mannequins, the work in-situ captured our imaginations, and we thought we should give you a quick low-down on the top five young designers to come from the red light district designers in residence.
Check back in November to see more on the Red Light District, with the National Gallery's exhibition of Ed Keinholz's Hoerngracht - an expansive, walk-in tableau depicting Amsterdam’s Red Light District in the 80’s.