"Sometimes it feels like you’re watching a reality show almost, where there’s a panel with someone cutting in with a funny insult,” said one student, who left the Academy after battling depression and suicidal thoughts in her first year in the programme. You go through an enlightening creative bootcamp, but have to maintain a level head. Two important milestones have … After months of remote coursework, the fashion students of Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp physically returned to university. // fetchMarginPercent: 500, On March 22, when the students arrived on campus, they were greeted by counselors, including Sophie Hiels, a school psychologist. After the Academy's rapid pivot to virtual classes and online // googletag.enableServices(); Philadelphia. 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Sleep deprivation is also commonplace because of the workload, with many students only receiving one-to-four hours of rest a night. The fashion department at the Royal Academy accepts 60-to-70 students to its bachelor's programme each year, but fewer than 20 typically graduate and, on average, 10 or less graduate with the master’s degree that most BA students hope to complete when they matriculate at the Academy. The steady shrinking of class sizes over the years leaves many students feeling isolated and alone, especially as they can only work in the classrooms until 5:00 p.m., almost always having to take work home with them. (BoF has decided to honour a request made on behalf of the student’s family not to include his name in this story.) 80 master students from nine graduation disciplines will present their work and projects on the Academy Campus. “However, there should be a substantial change in how this school treats welfare of the students.”. Pas said that there has never been a formal complaint regarding drug use. // }); // googletag.pubads().enableSingleRequest(); “If you come out and you’re a fashion designer, you will always struggle with journalists judging you,” said one working alumnus who attended the programme but was not awarded a degree. // addSize([730, 200], [[728, 90], 'fluid']). Call: +32 (0) 2 648 40 14, UK Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us Call: 116 123, US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Call: 1-800-273-8255. // mobileScaling: 2.0, At Antwerp, many students repeat years, although they are only permitted to repeat each year once. Provide your UAntwerp-email address and correct student number in the appropriate fields. // googletag.pubads().disableInitialLoad(); Welcome! Others are less convinced the methods are effective. In Antwerp, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Students Wear Their Art to Class VOGUE.COM - Alex Kessler. Ever since the renowned Antwerp Six changed the landscape of fashion forever and put the small, cosy Belgian city in the international fashion map, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp has been a bastion of innovation, creativity, avant-garde and conceptual fashion design. (Students often hire support staff — pattern makers, finishers, cordwainers — with money out of their own pockets in order to complete their collections on time.) As the teachers trickled in, Walter Van Beirendonck, head of the fashion department, lead instructor for the third-year students and a member of the Antwerp Six — a clique of agenda-setting designers who studied at the school in the 1980s — addressed the room, saying simply: “Something bad has happened.”. Its fashion programme entered the international spotlight following the breakthrough of the Antwerp Six designers in the 1980s. on Indiegogo. // }); Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp. Those who do not pass are told so in front of the group. Cooperation with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and The Woolmark Company. Selected Graduate 2020 // addSize([980, 200], [[970,90], [970,250], 'fluid']). Vogue caught up … If you cannot pay the full tuition fee at the start of the academic year, you can submit a request for a payment plan in the international helpdesk between 1 August and 1 November by submitting a ticket. The school vehemently denies any accusations of cultural insensitivity or tolerance of racism. And while many friends insisted that the student suffered from depression related to his studies at the Academy, others mentioned personal reasons that may have been a factor in his suicide, including his possible return home to South Korea to serve in the military there. ANTWERP, Belgium — On the evening of March 21, 2018, Karine Rotsaert, an administrator in the fashion department at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, sent an email to students, requesting their presence at the school at 10:15 a.m. the next morning. But after a recent suicide, current and former students have come forward with accounts of depression and drug abuse, calling teaching methods into question. “You have to find out why your work is not good. "There’s a difference between constructive criticism and manipulation. South Korea’s suicide rate is the highest of all 35 industrialised nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). // googletag.pubads().collapseEmptyDivs(); The graduating class of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is showcased on June 27, 2020 from 8pm CET, on www.showww.be. “[This] tragic death has been a tremendous shock to all of us,” Pas continued. BoF also corresponded via email with 11 other students including multiple current students who offered testimonials about their experiences at the Academy. “They don’t teach you anything, basically,” another student said of the Academy. Since the ‘Antwerp Six’ caught the attention of the international media, Antwerp and its fashion school … © 2020 The Business of Fashion. Van Beirendonck could not attend for personal reasons. All Rights Reserved. Does Fashion Have a Mental Health Problem? Another key moment in the history of the academy would be 1963. “Everything is pushed in one direction,” the teacher said. // var TopMapping = googletag.sizeMapping(). // build(); Photo: KRISTOF VAN ACCOM/AFP/Getty Images. Not everyone deems the process negative. Inside the MoMu Fashion Museum at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp | Source: Getty Images, https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/, https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us, http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. But many students say that the process is far more personal than constructive. “It’s not a strike or a holiday,” said Johan Pas, head of the Royal Academy. PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS, ANTWERP (Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp - AP University College)BA entrance exams | Apply for the MASTER PROGRAM. According to the current and former students, while some fashion department instructors — many of whom studied at Antwerp and have been teaching at the school for several decades — are more empathetic towards students than others, the general consensus is that teachers believe the status quo should be maintained in order for the school to preserve its high standing in the fashion community. There is more than one way to make clothes.”, A key part of many top fashion programmes around the world is the “crit” or critique, and Antwerp is certainly not the only programme with a reputation for being tough on its young talent. But in the following weeks, BoF spoke via phone with 14 students — three current students and 11 former students whose tenures go back all the way to the mid-1990s — two fashion industry professionals and one professor who each work at the school. “We will investigate if this is the case and, if so, immediately take measurements against this kind of abuse,” he said. // Located in London. In the US, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the majority of those deaths occurring between the ages 20 and 24. “He’s the king and they just seem to obey,” one student said of Beirendonck’s influence over the other teachers. Following the suicide of a student on campus, some are questioning the notoriously rigorous curriculum of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. That way they are...able to maximise their abilities, ideas and imaginations. Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University. // Platform for the communication of the international art jewellery.. Mara Balode. “I decided to quit the fashion department after I left school one day so desperate that I went to the store, bought razor blades and planned to slit my wrists in the bathtub that night,” one former student said. Students also say public shaming is par for the course, with grades read aloud in front of the entire class. “Like any other school, we aim at providing equal opportunities to all students, regardless of origin, ideology, gender, ethnic background or appearance. Some are asked to leave, others leave on their own accord. “Walter is a well-known designer and radiates a certain charisma. Percentage of International Students: 83%. The recent death may have come as a shock to some — one close friend in particular said he did not “see this coming” — but student suicides are more commonplace than one might think. For their most recent fashion show last June we have supported ten Master and Bachelor students of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts’ fashion Department with Merino wool yarns. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp published a tweet on Monday explaining why they had decided to cancel classes on Thursday. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp is a renowned European institute for higher arts education, established in 1663. As for the school, Pas insists that he is committed to making the necessary changes, collecting testimonies from students, teachers and staff of the fashion department. Site Map “Towards the end I started self-harming again” — which she hadn’t done since 2009 — “and dissociating.”. But as head of the school I represented him and gave a short speech as a tribute to [the student] and as a comfort for his family, friends, fellow students and teachers,” Johan Pas, the newly appointed dean of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, wrote to BoF, with input from Van Beirendonck, who declined to respond to a direct request for comment. In multiple conversations in recent weeks, students and alumni spoke of the Academy’s notoriously rigorous programme. Pas went on to note that the school has never before received any formal complaint or accusation about racist remarks. As Covid-19 restrictions are causing cancellations of public events worldwide, the Fashion Department of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp - AP University College is decidedly moving forward with a new and innovative way to show off its students' end-of-year and graduate collections. “The school does and will do everything in its power to prevent suicide,” Pas said, noting that the university offers psychological services and coaching programmes for students — including stress management, drug and alcohol prevention and suicide prevention. This tragedy has given some of the slumbering criticism against the institution — which, like every other school has its qualities and its faults — a momentum.”, Pas added that the cult allegation is a “strange description, and yet I can see the point: high-end fashion in itself sometimes resembles a cult, and for some students the Antwerp school has a cult status. They say some students feel worthless while others are treated like stars. 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