While preparing for his last grant assignment at the AMFI academy Martijn Nekoui brought life in to MOAM (Mode Amsterdam). This graduation project found place on a sunny day in Galerie Fontana Fortuna with a dashing view on the Keizersgracht with Amsterdam’s most fashionable crowd. What started as a graduation project continues to an ongoing moving exhibition travelling around Amsterdam after getting praised for its innovation by the local fashion scene. I sat with Martijn Nekoui, the creative mind behind MOAM and we talked, for thirty minutes.
00:11 - For the ones who aren’t familiar with MOAM, what is it about?
MOAM is a platform for young talents while putting established names in a positive daylight and connection both groups, what results in surprisingly innovative collaborations. I choose Dutch talents to expose for MOAM. The exhibition is not just about fashion or just about art, it is about combining both worlds and creating a new one.
02:47 - MOAM started as your graduation project, what was your motive for starting?
At one moment I discovered that my interest lay in production and out of frustration of seeing all this talent that didn’t got any recognition I also found it odd that there isn’t a fashion museum in The Netherlands. While letting my mind crack, the idea of starting this museum sounded great. After a procedure of scientific and theoretical research, if a fashion museum would be possible to open, I came to the conclusion it wasn’t possible yet. From this research on I started the journey with putting up small exhibitions, which started as my graduation project and because of the great amount of positive press attention and great comments I went along with developing MOAM.
04:52 - For the second exhibition the renowned FOAM, photography museum, collaborated with you. How did this occurred?
Well the funny thing is, I’ve contacted them for the first exhibition but they couldn’t take my exhibition in at that time, due to the fact my graduation was in June and FOAM had already planned another exhibition. In January they arranged to have space open for MOAM and that’s how the second exhibit found place at FOAM.
05:42 - From the beginning you’ve had some interesting names exhibited. Could you tell me more about this?
A few people I’ve already known, like Sonny Groo and Petrovsky & Ramone yet a bigger part I didn’t knew before I started this project. It was quite easy to find out and get in touch with the renowned names as you know, the world of fashion and art is quite small here.
06:08 - Do you have a consistency if talking artists wise?
I’ve decided for myself to work with just 20% of the previous artists and 80% must be new names, in this way I discover new talents and it stays exciting for me to work with new names along the way, sometimes names will be crossing my path once while some of the names I’ll be seeing frequently. I challenge myself for each new project to approach names that I didn’t succeeded working with before.
07:42 - What is MOAM contributing to the Dutch fashion scene?
I don’t know if it is my opinion to ask if MOAM is contributing something to the Dutch fashion scene, what I most certainly know what is missing within the Dutch fashion are the collaborations between upcoming talents and established names and honour each other for what we do. The Dutch community is not about showing off and quite introverted in a way, you can see this reflecting back in what I do for MOAM as well.
09:01 - How innovating is MOAM actually?
I brought another kind of exhibitions in Amsterdam due to the fact I did connect different generations and it’s innovating because MOAM is evolving and not repeating itself. The first exhibition was about Fashion icons x Fashion talents, second was Fashion x Photography and the third was FASHION x FILM. The exhibition is evolving in this way while the foundation stays the same.
10:47 - What is your vision about launching MOAM international?
I’ve decided for myself I would stay in The Netherlands until the age of twenty-five because I just got graduated six months ago, MOAM must grow first and reaching the top here before launching international. Our country is much more open compared to other countries due to the fact we are more warm and friendly, I could just pass by Viktor & Rolf or Jan Taminiau for instance. If I would go international I would choose London, as I really like Saatchi and Tate Modern. The exhibitions being held there are quite interesting for me and this wouldn’t be a huge step as launching MOAM in New York City.
12:56 - Could you tell me more about your adoration within the industry? It could be a person or a fact...
I actually don’t adore a person but I have much respect for people who don’t take No for an answer and continue fighting. It’s just that lot’s of people in our community these days forget how many work it takes to get recognition in fashion. For instance, Iris van Herpen is showing in Paris while years of hard work took place before that and the ones behind the screens are less known within the public eye and getting maybe less recognition. My respect isn’t just for the ones that are well known but also for the creative brains behind the spotlights that work their butts off to keep Dutch fashion alive which is quite difficult to obtain and helping other creative people get in the spotlight, while they stay out of sight.
15:03 - The adoration described before, could be you?
Uhhm, well… Yes! But at the start of my career obviously. If I would believe in something and I have the feeling that this thing could be it with a certainty of course, I will push to the point of having the next big name in my exhibition, like Viktor&Rolf for instance.
15:48 - For the third exhibition you’ve worked with celebrities, why?
I didn’t approach them as celebrities, for me they are actors instead of celebrities. EYE approached me for that collaboration and I thought it was appropriate to work with actors instead of producers. At the same time actors are quite a bit living window dolls for most of the fashion brands. In the end I have been collaborating with the best film actors in my opinion, not just with any random actor because the ones I’ve chosen have certain content I appreciate.
18:51 - What will be your newest collaboration?
MOAM Collective is a new project were eight newly graduated designers get the opportunity to design one full collection together in a team, eight looks for men and sixteen for women, at the end of this journey they will be showing the collection in the main hall at Amsterdam Fashion Week on the 16th of July 2013. During this project the eight designers will have a coach for each week, we have selected the best twenty five professionals and it’s not just designer coaches or pattern makers but also coaches like, fashion journalist Georgette Koning, Vogue Nl’s Martien Mellema and Gert Jonkers from Fantastic Man. Because the designers need to know what the magazines think, is the collection innovating enough? While retailers will look at the collection and judge if it is commercial, could they sell the collection and all of this knowledge will eventually push the designers to get the best results out of their self. I am hoping this will give us an exquisitely strong collection.
24:55 - Is there a secret team behind MOAM?
No. I am the only team member working for MOAM but my boyfriend is helping me out with the graphic design part, which I cannot do. Also I enjoy the way of doing everything myself as I am a bit of a control freak. At a certain point I’ve tried to take a personal assistant on board but in the end this will just take more time to make everything as I want it to be as I actually do not work with a daily planner or whatsoever.
27:04 - At a certain point you will be expanding...
Lately I’ve noticed that, especially with MOAM Collective. It comes handy to have people around who are willing to help me like Mariette Hoitink and Frans Ankoné. Because MOAM Collective is a whole other dimension when it comes to organizing and I am aware of the fact that soon I will be expanding but for now I am able to manage everything myself and I just love meeting new people or having a meeting at the Vogue office. Adding to that my social life is suffering in a way while this part of my life is extremely important to me. I will be in need of an extra hand soon enough.
29:11 - Where would MOAM be within five years?
MOAM will be Amsterdam’s Fashion museum within five years.