Quint Verhaart & The Gucci x i-D Global Design Award

Inspired by the camouflage of marine animals, the fashion collection “Victims of Absence” by fashion designer Quint Verhaart is based on the thought of sound. A metaphorical translation of camouflage in motion, which becomes the sound of camouflage itself and the escapism of being unseen.

“Since the existence of animals and humans, camouflage has been a major source of evolution to protect and deceive. Striving for the survival of any breed and camouflage has always been critical to everyday survival – for animals as well as humans.
It proves that appearance can be essential to our existence and is a contemporary need for engagement, connectivity, and identification with our environment. Especially now because of the COVID situation every person is a victim of camouflage due to the stay-at-home situation and the essence of fashion to be seen has been damaged by this.” – States the 25-year-old BA graduate in Fashion Design from Willem De Kooning Academy in Rotterdam.

He has used this train of thought to create a response, to aim, and to find an answer about how camouflage can be used to free people from absence and to be exposed and reconnected with their surroundings through fashion.
An interesting contradiction he encountered in camouflage is called motion camouflage, which is about being seen as the invisible. “We can call it noise because it extracts the meaning of disappearance through its movement and becomes visible. To become a source of noise with its environment but for fashion a new translation of the connectivity of man and nature.” – he says.

With this collection, Quint responds to the current state and needs of the fashion industry affected by the Covid-19 situation, which made him win the Gucci x i-D x ARTSTHREAD Global Design Graduate Award.
It is an international award among all graduated fashion students around the world and therefore a huge achievement for the young designer.
The Gucci xi-D x ARTSTHREAD Global Design Graduate Award is the first-ever online showcase of the world’s leading emerging creatives.

The competition, open to all art and design students graduating the year 2019-20 (undergraduate and postgraduate) in any related creative discipline, allowed 4,482 students from over 300 creative worldwide institutions to upload their end of year projects onto the ARTS THREAD platform. A team of independent judges narrowed this competition down to the shortlisted creatives who are now on display on a new section of the ARTS THREAD platform www.artsthread.com

For the collection of Victims of Absence, Quint specially designed shoes and jewelry that are inspired by the deception camouflage of the Lionfish. What inspired him were the aesthetics in shape, color, and movement of the animal. The Lionfish caused him fascination because of its back and forth movements through the water, similar to hypnosis, that moves like an illusion of coral before the eye of the fish.
“It also has a poetic meaning that such an aesthetic fish can cause so many deadly and harmful consequences. You could almost call it Femme Fatale.” – Quint says.

“By using real Lionfish fins and incorporating this into the stiletto shoes, it has a metaphorical charge in which both we and the Lionfish symbolize the trampling of the coral reef. We are both destructive in the effects of the faded coral.
Second, the stiletto shoe is an object of power, aesthetics, and seduction that resembles the power the Lionfish has over the reef. And by incorporating the poisonous spines in the shape of the heel, the design became one whole.”

What will happen to my collection now is still quite open. Since the shoes are completely seen as a unique work of art, the designer expects museums or private art collectors to be interested in including this pair in their latest collections.

Instagram: @destinshiro

Photographer: Olga Simonenko
Muah: Sandra Lupker
Models: Tinotenda Mushore, Sophie van Rij, Charlotte Beijer, Anna Asero, Janneke Scherpenhuyzen and Naomi Sauer.
Shoes made in collaboration with René van den Berg.