Darwin Winklaar wins Lichting Class 2020

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On Tuesday July 6, Lichting 2020, the debutante ball for up-and-coming fashion talent, took place in the Hermitage in Amsterdam as part of the previous edition of Amsterdam Fashion Week. The fourteen best graduates from the seven Dutch fashion academies presented themselves to an (inter)national professional audience. Lichting 2020 took place for the first time in a renewed form, in which there was room for different forms of final work. This resulted in a diverse overview of (the future of) fashion.

Darwin Winklaar, a graduate of Gerrit Rietveld Academy, was voted the most promising talent in the Netherlands by a panel of fashion professionals. This won the Lichting 2020 award worth 10,000.-, made available by the Meester Koetsier Foundation and his own show during Amsterdam Fashion Week 2022. The panel has unanimously decided to accept the second part of the prize, consisting of legal assistance from Van Kaam. IP, Media & Privacy worth €5,000, to be given to Irene Ha, aka Baby Reni, because of her potential to grow as a brand.

Darwin Winklaar

Darwin Winklaar presented the result of an in-depth investigation into Caribbean folk religious practices. Through a series of six altars and a performance, Darwin shared his decolonizing rituals with the aim of increasing awareness and knowledge of marginalized cultures in the Netherlands. The work transcends fashion and is multidisciplinary.

Irene Ha

Irene Ha, aka Baby Reni, created a collection based on systematic collaboration and the aesthetics of a generation “raised” by the internet. She addresses prejudices about her own Asianness by creating and connecting. For example, through her work she brings together an online international community of like-minded souls.

Jury Report

This year’s international panel was formed by Gijsje Ribbens (creative director & fashion editor), Edson Sabajo (founder Patta), Amber Jae Slooten (co-founder & creative director The Fabricant) and Borre Akkersdijk (co-founder and chief creative officer BYBORRE ). They met all participants during intensive panel pitches and discussed the participants’ work and vision in detail. The panel unanimously agreed on the talent of Darwin Winklaar and Irene Ha. The jury report read:

The participants showed their own vision and a wide range of work. The statements they made through their work and presentations showed a zeitgeist that is clearly colored by a pandemic, a socially turbulent time, and the need for change. Community building and building bridges between people were topics that were discussed in various forms. Darwin touched all four of us with his personal work. Darwin’s multidisciplinary expressions took us into his story, experience and mission to connect through emotion and education. It is an important story and research that contributes to a community in need of representation. Darwin shows that fashion is an expression that knows no boundaries and must be shared. Fashion cannot and should not be pigeonholed. We also want to send a clear signal to academia and industry that the old system needs to be renewed through open communication and dialogue, instead of dictating what fashion should look like. Darwin makes fashion as fashion is meant to be: an expression.


Lichting was created to bridge the gap between the academies and the fashion industry, with the fourteen best graduates from the seven Dutch fashion academies presenting themselves and their work to a select group of professionals and the press. The aim of Lichting is to offer promising talent a springboard towards a viable career. Lichting is an initiative of Amsterdam Fashion Week and HTNK International and is supported by Meester Koetsier Foundation and Van Kaam IP, Media & Privacy.

Source: Amsterdam Fashion Week