March 1, 2014

Tracksuit king Roy Donders quits his house parties

Filed under: Fashion by Branko Collin @ 3:03 pm

tracksuit-kouchiThere is a Dutch media phenomenon called Roy Donders who feels so manufactured that when a website reported it was all an act, I said to myself “see, I told you so!” Unfortunately the source turned out to be a parody site.

It appears fashion advisor Roy Donders, whose main claim to fame is pushing fancy velours track suits as everyday wear (the Dutch neologism ‘huispak’, ‘home suit’, was coined) is going through a rough patch. A year ago broadcaster RTL gave him a TV show in which he could advertise himself, but RTL is now among the first media to make fun of the 23-year-old. RTL reports eagerly that complaints have started to come in about the track suits Donders sells. Donders also quit giving sales parties at private homes after he was kicked out of one his own parties in Rotterdam last December.

Tracksuits in the meantime are predicted to play a role in this weeks carnival celebrations with some stores selling a wig resembling Donders’ curls.

(Photo by Flickr user Kouchi, some rights reserved)

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January 4, 2014

Dutch military unions complain about quality of combat uniforms

Filed under: Fashion,General by Branko Collin @ 4:59 pm

captain-mali-ministry-of-defence-maliTwo Dutch army unions are complaining about what they claim are flame-resistant combat uniforms of inferior quality and made in China. These uniforms will be worn by Dutch soldiers stationed in Mali, Telegraaf reports.

The paper quotes Jean Debbie of the VBM (union for both civil and military defence personnel) who claims that superior uniforms are available closer to home: “Even the Pentagon buys uniforms from Dutch company TenCate in Almelo”. Debbie also said the Americans almost exclusively buy American gear. (How true is that considering the USA are a nett arms importer?)

Jan Kleian of Christian military union ACOM added: “Money should be no object when it comes to protecting soldiers stationed in Mali.” Next Monday 14 quartermasters will leave for Mali to prepare for the 350 soldiers who will arrive in March to help the Malinese government as part of the UN mission Minusma. As the Ministry of Defense explains, the interests of a nation of traders like the Netherlands depend on “international safety, stability and a functioning legal order”.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence told the paper that the “current uniform is up to specifications”.

(Photo of a Dutch captain in Mali by Ministry of Defence, no rights reserved)

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October 25, 2013

Your life on a jumper by Olga van Zeijl

Filed under: Design,Fashion by Branko Collin @ 2:15 pm

One of this year’s graduates from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Olga van Zeijl, created personalised knitted jumpers for her graduation project called KnittID.

She takes aspects of a person’s life then incorporates them into the pattern of the sweater. Shown here for instance is Debby, age 26, from Dordrecht: “The parachute symbol stands for my biggest life experience. During one of my jumps the parachute didn’t open and I was falling down to earth, luckily I could use my spare parachute.”

Van Zeijl suggests on her website that she was inspired by fishermen’s jumpers which apparently incorporated personal details. You can get your own KnittID jumper by Van Zeijl or order one of the existing ones if you don’t mind walking around with somebody else’s life covering your torso. Bright reports that an existing pattern will set you back 150 euro.


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August 30, 2013

Bad haircut shaming: funny or cyberbullying?

Filed under: Fashion,Online by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

I was on my way to the hairdresser’s once when a Dutch friend warned me as a joke not to get one of those easy to manage short haircuts that tired women over 30 get after they’ve given up on their looks. Today I am pretty sure he meant the ‘daring’ haircuts featured on the Facebook page of Henk’s Fashion.

Henk’s Fashion has chosen to make fun of Dutch women with certain types of short haircuts that are deemed unflattering at least by the 13,500 people who have liked their Facebook page so far. And then there’s those cockatoo mullets and matching white capri leggings that also fit the bill, style-wise.

While the Facebook page is meant to be funny, it does point fingers at people and has been deemed akin to cyberbullying, even though it is legal to use Facebook photos of others on Facebook according to the social network site’ own terms and conditions. Whether or not the photos used are from Facebook is difficult to check. I would very much like to understand why some women (we could use a page for the men as well) get a haircut that is arguably unflattering, but also a stereotype in gender, age, background and social status.

(Link:, Photo of Hair salon by Travel Salem, some rights reserved)

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July 6, 2013

Police officer sews Twitter handle onto uniform, forced to remove it

Filed under: Fashion,Technology by Branko Collin @ 3:33 pm

Sergeant Fred Stork is a beat cop in Eindhoven and is also on Twitter. He thought it would be fun to sew his Twitter handle, @brigadierSTRYPi onto his uniform, but after a reporter tweeted about needle work, his superiors told him to remove it.

A spokesperson told Algemeen Dagblad: “There are national regulations for a police uniform that an officer may not deviate from.” The spokesperson liked the initiative though and added, “who knows, one day this may be possible. But ‘The Hague’ must first give permission.”

The word ‘brigadier’ in the handle @brigadierSTRYPi means ‘sergeant’ and ‘STRYPi’ is likely a reference to the Strijp neighbourhood which is part of Fred Stork’s beat.

Interestingly, sergeant is the lowest police rank in the Netherlands where the insignia does not consist of stripes, but of a sword over a crown surrounded by laurel.

See also: Neighbourhood cops that twitter.


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April 11, 2013

Cooking with weed becomes fashionable and mainstream

Filed under: Fashion,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 3:16 pm

Well-known snack bar Manneken Pis on the Damrak, the first main street any tourist sees when they exit Amsterdam Central Station to walk towards the Palace, has started offering fries with a marijuana sauce as of today. Weed is usually quite pungent in food, which is why people put it in creamy or buttery substances, as it is not the easiest thing to cook with or digest for that matter. Yes, it can provide a very decent, slow buzz, thanks for asking.

Also in weed-related cooking, Dutch clothing company FreshCotton got the Arnold Amsterdam agency to produce a drug-based cookbook to promote the new range of Stüssy Amsterdam tees. “The cookbook, which references Amsterdam’s tolerance towards narcotics, demonstrates how to create dishes (very short video) using high-end ingredients and drugs – like marijuana and magic mushrooms – that can be legally obtained in the Netherlands.” It also contains some men’s fashion.


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March 28, 2013

Amsterdam also gets trendy barber shop

Filed under: Fashion by Orangemaster @ 10:19 am

With very manly advertising about taming the beast, Amsterdam now has its own equivalent of Schorem, a man’s hairdresser that Rotterdam has.

Barber shaves & trims lets guys have a nice, old fashioned razor shave or a beard trim as well as a coffee, beer or even whisky while they get pampered.

(Link:, Photo of Barber pole by *Sally M*, some rights reserved)

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January 4, 2013

Power company covers up butt cleavage

Filed under: Fashion,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:26 pm

In Dutch they call it ‘bouwvakkersdecolleté’ (‘construction worker’s décolletage’), which pertains exclusively to men, in English it is better known as ‘butt cleavage’, which actually includes both men and women. And in 2013, the male version should be a thing of the past if we can believe Dutch power company Eneco.

About 500 technicians — assumingly all male, but we don’t know for sure — are getting new uniforms that don’t show their unsightly butt cracks when they bend down. The trousers will have a higher waistline and jackets will be longer. I personally can understand the trousers, but most of the year they will not be wearing the jacket because it’s too warm. As well, the clothing will be more ‘sweat resistant’, which will surely enhance any experience with having burly men work in your house on your power supply.

What I do not like about the Dutch expression is that it automatically assumes that only men are technicians in the Netherlands, which is often the case, but surely not always. It also gives me the idea that female butt crack is acceptable, which leads to more inequality. Whale tails went out a few years ago (someone please pass this memo around, a lot of girls didn’t get it) and a technician with butt crack comes off to me as being less competent and desperately in need of attention.

(Link:, Photo of Female shipyard workers by BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives, some rights reserved)

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September 28, 2012

Bill Cosby sweater designer on stage in Amsterdam

Filed under: Fashion by Orangemaster @ 6:20 pm

Last March, the world famous, colourful Bill Cosby sweaters got their own blog, which was an opportunity to remind everyone that they were all designed by Dutchman Koos van den Akker.

This week until October 7 at Theater Bellevue in Amsterdam, Van den Akker, 73, will be on stage being interviewed — all very spontaneously — by friend and acteur Marcel Musters. In a performance entitled ‘Rietje meets Koos’, Musters plays a middle aged woman who is a big Cosby fan and is excited to discover that Van den Akker designed those sweaters.

Van den Akker’s jackets, sweaters and shirts have a carefully crafted collage style, works of art that are now a source of inspiration to designers such as America’s Marc Jacobs.

(Link:, Photo of Cosby sweater by Felix Jackson, Jr., some rights reserved)

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September 25, 2012

Dutch multinational HEMA starts selling headscarves

Filed under: Dutch first,Fashion,Religion by Orangemaster @ 9:02 pm

HEMA, one of the country’s favourite stores, has started selling headscarves — the only major Dutch chain ever to do so. They are selling an ‘easy to wear’ version and a ‘traditional’ version, both at difference prices and in a range of colours.

Ironically, last year in Genk, Belgium a HEMA employee was threatened with the non-extension of her work contract for wearing a headscarf and refusing to take it off. In their defense, the Belgian shop said they didn’t want employees with any kind of religious symbols, not even heavy tattoos or piercings.

The Netherlands has no problems with employees wearing headscarves, and in many other stores they have colour coordinated ones that match the corporate image, making it a non-issue.

I recently bought some stuff at HEMA and the male employee had a visible ‘Live fast die soon’ tattoo that attracted my attention, but didn’t diminish the good service.

(Link: www.z24, Photo of Women wearing head scarves by, some rights reserved)


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