FASHIONCLASH Festival with Branko Popovic

Every year since 2009, fashionistas descend to Maastricht as the city hosts the FASHIONCLASH Festival. It has attracted more than 900 talents from 50 different countries. This year’s 8th edition is bigger and better, involving more than 150 designers and artists from all over the world who will showcase their work and creations to a diverse international audience. Our Maastricht Students reporters sat down with Branko Popovic, founder of Fashion clash, and Melissa Stoots at Alley Cat Bikes & Coffee the location where it all began for Fashionclash Maastricht. What started as a small scale event grew to one of the main annual attractions of the city.

Interview and photography: Brian Megens
Interview and text: Karissa Atienza

What is FASHIONCLASH?
The whole idea started at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design. When we graduated, there was no perspective for designers so it meant that most just left. It was quite a shame because there were a lot of good designers and people also weren’t aware of the Art Academy. We thought why don’t we organise a fashion show for local designers and our own work? It’s very difficult for young designers to find an affordable stage. So in 2009, we officially established FASHIONCLASH as a foundation and secured funding from the city and the province. It was also around that time when the city filed for candidacy as a cultural capital so there was a lot of buzz in the air.
For the first edition, we said let’s try something and it just exploded from there! Initially, we targeted local designers but what happened was we had 60 designers from all over BeNeLux. The first edition was a success but we didn’t sell out. We did generate a lot of media attention and people were talking about the event and how great we could do this. So we thought let’s do it again, let’s do it better and use all the things we learned from the first edition. The second edition was a great success! The shows were sold out and we had designers from 11 countries. Then we really realised that whole idea of creating a stage for young designers was not a local problem but an issue everywhere.
When we choose a theme, we always choose a theme that is connected to something topical. For this year’s edition, we have ‘heritage’ as our topic. Since we have designers from all over the world, we wanted to talk about how designers deal with their heritage. Everybody is immigrating everywhere, so how do designers deal with that? It’s what they do, designers translate their life experiences and vision to their work. At the same time, we’ll have some fashion talks and debates where we’ll talk about these things. It sounds simple but it stimulates culture and diversity and most especially, the beauty of it.

Photo by: Brian Megens Photography (www.brianmegens.com)

Branko & Melissa

What is the aim and goals of FASHIONCLASH?
Ou aim is to provide an affordable stage for young designers to present their work and designs. Fashion week cost thousands of euros just to participate. Initially, we thought it was a local problem because for designers that live in Amsterdam or Berlin there are more possibilities but based on the first edition of FASHIONCLASH, we realised it was a problem for a lot of starting designers.
We are growing every year, developing the concept and the idea, and learn from each edition. We’re trying to contextually develop the idea of showing fashion as an art form which distinguishes us from all the other fashion weeks in the world. It now puts Maastricht in quite a unique place in fashion. Something we want to develop as well in the coming years is to become more of a national institute, meaning that we also do something in other cities like Amsterdam, but the festival will always remain in Maastricht. We’ve been growing more outside the country so we want to develop more nationally. Also, if we want to grow and challenge ourselves, it’s good to collaborate with people from outside the city because we’ve worked with everyone here. It also creates a broader audience.

Photo by: Brian Megens Photography (www.brianmegens.com)

How can the students get involved?
Most of our interns and volunteers are actually students and they come from different studies. We have Arts and Culture and European Studies students and also students studying International Business and Commercial Management. It also changes every year. Some years we have more students from the Hogeschool, some years we have more UM students.
For the festival, we build a team and together we organise the festival. There’s around 10 of us in the team but we need more volunteers for the festival itself. We need a lot of volunteers, for example to guide the international press, to seat the guests, help with the exhibitions, etc.  There are a number of students who are models during the show and a lot of students are also doing their graduation research with us, so students are very welcome to engage somehow.

Why should students get involved?
The whole project is a learning curve for everyone. Most get involved because they really like fashion, like fashion lovers who want to get involved with fashion and also students that are doing business but are interested in the fashion business who wants to see what goes on behind the scenes. It’s a very interesting experience! For example, Arts and Culture students who specialise in Media Culture can do a lot. We give student interns real work where they can learn from and skills that they can further develop. It’s also a great way for student volunteers to meet people. You get to meet local and international designers, other people from the city and fellow students.
What do we have for students? It’s a really accessible festival. Just come and watch! Bring your student card and we have student tickets for 5 euros which you can buy at the venue itself. It’s nothing to see designers from all over the world. There are a lot of things for free, for example the exhibition market and events in the city. There’s also a party in the venue. It’s a very nice gathering of young people from all over the world. I would really recommend it!

Would you like to be part of the FASHIONCLASH Festival? Become a volunteer by sending an e-mail to Melissa at volunteers@fashionclash.nl!
The FASHIONCLASH Festival is accessible to everyone. Most of the programme is accessible for free while you can secure your spot at the Fashion Shows by purchasing a ticket. Don’t forget to check out their FB page or their website for more information on the Festival!

Photo by: Brian Megens Photography (www.brianmegens.com)

© Brian Megens

WE Festival with Alexandra Frank

In a few weeks, Maastricht will play host to the vibrant WE Festival. But what is it? This week we met with Alexandra Frank. A third-year Arts and Culture student, she has been involved with the annual WE Festival since her first year and currently leads its programme committee. Read on to hear more about the upcoming WE Festival.

Interview and photography: Brian Megens
Interview and text: Karissa Atienza

© Brian Megens

Alexandra Frank, WE-Festival 2016

What is WE Festival?
It all started in 2010 as a small event organised by students who wanted to connect the squats (people who occupy empty houses to live in them) with the local community. Since then, the festival has grown much bigger, year after year, as well as our organisation team and local partners. What we aim to do is to stimulate local culture by connecting different communities in the city, focusing on sustainability and community building.
There are many different activities organised for the week-long festival centred around 5 categories: arts and culture, food and sustainability, workshops, music, and film. The arts and culture category includes cultural activities and performances like theatre, circus performances and art exhibitions while under food and sustainability, we have workshops, lectures and debates dedicated to create awareness about sustainability as well as daily vegan/vegetarian cooking workshops and walking dinners. Workshops can be for any skills that our volunteers want to share, last year we had belly dancing and woodworking for example. The music category includes the evening parties which features a mix of world-renown and local artists and bands. This year, we are hosting our first dedicated film festival.

© Brian Megens

Alexandra Frank, WE-Festival 2016

How can students participate in the WE Festival?
Students can participate in many ways. They can join the WE Festival as a visitor or a volunteer. They can share any skill or hobby for a workshop or an exhibition. It could be skills like pole dancing or cooking, anything or display their artworks during the event. Students can also attend the parties we organised. The bigger parties are during the weekend while in the weekdays, we organise smaller events like a chill music evening. As a visitor, students can also learn new things, go to skills workshops,lectures on sustainability, or watch films. There are a lot of activities organised throughout the week on various things and for different interests.

© Brian Megens

Alexandra Frank, WE-Festival 2016

How is the WE Festival different from last year?
We are getting bigger year by year, both the festival and the organisation team. Last year, we only had 4 categories, this year we added another category – film. The activities within the festival itself also changes year by year. The artists and the workshops are different every year depending on the volunteers and people’s interests.

© Brian Megens

Alexandra Frank, WE-Festival 2016

How did you get involved?
I heard about it from a friend 3 years ago who was involved and asked me if I wanted to join.I joined the organisation because I like the idea of community-building, connecting the students with other Maastricht communities. I was first in the promotion team and then last year, I joined the programme committee. This year, I’m head of the programme committee.

What are you looking forward to the most?
Everything! I’m looking forward to see the whole event happening.

© Brian Megens

Alexandra Frank, WE-Festival 2016

The WE Festival is from 24 April to 1 May at various locations in Maastricht. The festival kicks off with a free Open-air party at the Stadspark on the 24th  and two back-to-back closing parties on the 29th and the 30th. For more updates on the WE Festival’s programme, check their programme page or Facebook event.

Pirate Week Maastricht

Did you know that Maastricht was occupied by pirates once? You don’t have to go back that long in history and luckily it weren’t real pirates either. The annual entrepreneurship Pirate Week in Maastricht was held from 24-01 until 30-01 and turned out to be as amazing as promised. Unfortunately university deadlines prevented me from participating myself but luckily I was fortunate enough to drop by now and then to get a taste of it.

Pirate Week Maastricht 2015

The concept of the Pirate Week is to bring young entrepreneurs together and work on their ideas from 9am until very late for seven days in a row. It goes as follows. In total, 30 people participate from which ten have an idea to develop, ten have technical skills and ten people have the creativity and knowledge to market and polish the image of the project. Teams are formed and during the week, these teams are guided by experts in the field. They receive training, workshops, lectures and personal talks. All in order to help them in developing their idea and pitch it at the end of the week for real investors who can provide them with start capital.

Pirate Week Maastricht 2015
Pirate Week Maastricht 2015

I attended the Pirate Week on Tuesday when they received a workshop explaining the business model and how to apply it on the projects. I immediately noticed the passion as teams were taking advantage of every minute to work on their projects. The heavy debates in some groups also showed the involvement of every group member.

Pirate Week Maastricht 2015

After seven days of hard work, it is time to go to Campus Chemelot, located on an industrial park outside Maastricht, to present their ideas in front of ‘real’ business men.

Pirate Week Maastricht 2015

The projects pitched varied from making sure you have the right shoe size when buying online to meeting the right people on events to a robotic arm which helps disabled people. All brilliant ideas and solutions to real problems, however, they did not win the first price. This honour went to Pales. Pales is a project that aims at reducing mortality among horses during birth. The project already won 10.000,- euro start capital at the Local Heroes Award 2014 and is now ready to take off with another 1st price. However, Sfitsy (shoe size solution) and City Quest (aiming to challenge tourists to discover a city interactively) receiving second and third place respectively, can both count on serious interest from the investors and might receive some start capital themselves.

Pirate Week Maastricht 2015
Pirate Week Maastricht 2015
Pirate Week Maastricht 2015

After this week, which felt like a marathon for them, there was a mixture of emotions, there was excitement, happiness, relieve, satisfaction and of course disappointment of not winning the competition. However, as much as people were aiming to win, above all they had a great experience, formed teams with which they started to develop their ideas and only future can tell how successful they are going to be. One thing is for sure this week will last forever in their minds and I was happy that I occasionally be part of it!

Pirate Week Maastricht 2015
Pirate Week Maastricht 2015

More information on the Pirates:
http://maastricht.startuppirates.org/

INKOM day 5: Maastricht Market, Mosae Master and BBQ

The last and final day of INKOM has arrived, you can see the toll of a rough week on the students. At noon, the Maastricht Market kicks off the last day. On this infomarket associations, companies, religions, sport clubs, political parties have their stand and students can go there for information. Free brunch and coffee is provided and lots of stand offer free giveaways and food. As the students partied the day before, it was quite empty until 1pm. However, students are students and will not skip free food, so it eventually got pretty busy as you can see on the pictures!

Overview of the infomarket © Brian Megens

Overview of the infomarket © Brian Megens

BreakingMaas reporting © Brian Megens

BreakingMaas reporting © Brian Megens

Fire department giving a demonstration Ps. nice shorts © Brian Megens

Fire department giving a demonstration  © Brian Megens

Paul Vermin the student agent socialising and informing students © Brian Megens

Paul Vermin (student agent) socialising and informing students © Brian Megens

The Queu for the free brunch © Brian Megens

The Queue for the free brunch © Brian Megens

The Queue for the free Coffee © Brian Megens

The Queue for the free Coffee © Brian Megens

And then everything needs to be consumed © Brian Megens

And then everything needs to be consumed © Brian Megens

At the end of the afternoon... view from a tower ladder from the fire department © Brian Megens

At the end of the afternoon, view from a tower ladder from the fire department © Brian Megens

For the Master students INKOM offered the Mosae Master. An event where the Master students could get together and find information useful for their further career, alcohol in the form of a wine tasting and food served as a tapas buffet were provided.

Mosae Master students © Brian Megens

Mosae Master students © Brian Megens

 

Dinner for the master students, Tapas mmm  © Brian Megens

Dinner for the master students, Tapas mmm © Brian Megens

 

Did I already say that they had tapas? © Brian Megens

Did I already say that they had tapas? © Brian Megens

The weather so far was pretty good keeping in mind that it was raining all day in the rest of the country, however, when it was time for the BBQ it was pooring. Luckily, tents were provided so students could enjoy their food somehow dry.

BBQ at de Griend © Brian Megens

BBQ at de Griend © Brian Megens

© Brian Megens

© Brian Megens

Students still smiling despite the weather © Brian Megens

Students still smiling despite the weather © Brian Megens

Lovely poncho © Brian Megens

Lovely poncho © Brian Megens

 

Enough food was provided! © Brian Megens

Enough food was provided! © Brian Megens

Keep on smiling Jeroen! © Brian Megens

Keep on smiling Jeroen! © Brian Megens

Unfortunately, tonight is the last party of INKOM 2014. For us it was a blast and we want to thank the organisation for making this event possible! We wish all the new students a great start of their academic adventure!

Ashika & Brian

INKOM: day 3, Sports event and Picnic

Today marked the day that the sports event and the picnic took place. We went to the Griend in the early afternoon to see what kind of sports activities were taking place. Below you can see a few impressions of the day.

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The scene at the Griend. © Brian Megens

 

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The terrain. © Brian Megens

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A game of volleyball, anyone? © Brian Megens

Some more volleyball. © Brian Megens

Some more volleyball. © Brian Megens

 

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Climbing that wall. © Brian Megens

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From the Wilhelminabrug. © Brian Megens

In the evening we enjoyed seeing all the groups sitting and having dinner with their mommies and daddies. We hoped you guys had fun. Save some energy for the party on Friday! 😉

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The picnic at the old wall. © Brian Megens

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New students enjoying dinner with their group. © Brian Megens

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People getting food at the stand. © Brian Megens

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The scene. © Brian Megens

We hope you enjoyed it, see you on Friday!

Blogpost by Ashika Baan, Photography by Brian Megens

INKOM: day 2, Day at the Faculty

Today, we visited the “Day at the Faculty” of the INKOM. After a successful opening day of the introduction week on Monday (to read more about it, click here), this was a more serious day where all the faculty associations of different faculties could present themselves to the new students.

Inside the SBE. © Brian Megens

Inside the SBE. © Brian Megens

The atmosphere at the School of Business and Economics on the Tongersestraat was relaxed, as students were walking around the information market. As there is a difference between student associations and study associations, it’s perhaps a good idea to quickly explain.

 

A student association is one where students can join to participate in fun activities outside of university. Examples of these associations are: MSV Tragos, Circumflex, SV Koko and Saurus. There are also a lot of independent sororities and fraternities.
A study association is usually closely connected to the faculty that it belongs to. For instance, the law faculty has JFV Ouranos, School of Business and Economics has SCOPE and so on. To see more what kind of associations are situated in Maastricht, click here.

© Brian Megens

© Brian Megens

As students were enjoying a nice lunch throughout the building, the excitement for Tuesday night’s MECC-party was very much there, so to everyone who’s there, HAVE FUN!

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The team responsible for handing out the lunch. © Brian Megens

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The lunch package. © Brian Megens

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Students enjoying their Lunch. © Brian Megens

See you tomorrow at the Picnic!

Blogpost by Ashika Baan, Photography by Brian Megens.

 

INKOM: day 1, Registration and Opening

The first day of an introduction week like the INKOM, marks a special moment for all the new students of Maastricht University and Zuyd Hogeschool. It’s with a lot of good memories of past years that we, Ashika and Brian, stood at the registration point of this wonderful week this morning. The big-eyed, tiny bit intimidated first-year students looked at us as we were snapping pictures for the blog and for Facebook.

Signs are clear.. This is where the magic happens ;)

Signs are clear.. This is where the magic happens. © Brian Megens

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INKOM: Interview with the President of the Work Group

On the 18th of August new students will be welcomed in Maastricht with the annual INKOM. For those attending INKOM 2014, continue the tradition of living INKOM to its fullest!  We interviewed the president of the INKOM organisation Elsemieke Hoet, a 22-year-old student at the law faculty. We were curious about the plans that Elsemieke and her colleagues have for this year’s edition.

 

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