I am a custom clothier and member of the Dutch Tailors organisation Bond van Kleermakers. I am a regional board member, as well as a national board member and one of my tasks is organising the annual tailoring skill competition. This year will be my last term as a board member.More about the BvK which is a non-profit organisation can be read on our website in Dutch of course. But for the English readers you can read it here , and for German readers some information is here
It is worthwhile to take a look at the link for fashion and textile exhibitions in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, UK, Canada and USA. Of course not all the museums are covered but the most important ones are here, so take a look if you want to know what exhibitions are on. The page starts with The Dutch museums and galleries and followed by the Belgium museums. The others can be seen if you scroll halfway down the page .
The BvK tailors organisation started 66 years ago and at that time the members were all men because tailors were men at that time, but time changed and now the majority of members are women and we only have a few men in our midst .
The diversity is not only focused on tailors anymore ,but also self-employed, men and women’s (tailored) clothing manufacturers , couturiers, tailors employed by couturiers, designers and manufacturers of costumes for the stage as well as those who own a clothing repair shop and various other fashion studios. Members also include a large number of sewing or fashion design schools.
The BvK has about 300 members and is divided into 5 regions spread over the country so members who live in the south belong to the south section.I live in the North so I belong to the northern section. But each member is free to join one of the meetings organised in a different region.
Each region has its own region board committee of minimal 3 voted members, the period of being a board member is for maximum 4 x 2 years. The Northern region is the smallest one ( 35 members) so we can manage with 3 board members. From each region one board member is an elected representative for the national board committee. Which exists from 5 regional board members a financial adviser, a secretary and a chairman.
Each region organises a gathering evening about 6 or 7 a year and 2 member meetings and this way we can meet the colleagues and talk about all kinds of tailoring stuff and learn from each other by sharing technical or practical information. Sometimes we invite a guest speaker to show and tell about his or her profession which has a link to our profession. For example last year we invited a lady who makes replicas of historical clothing.
One of our members is specialized in bridal wear and talked about her work, another member who teaches sewing and pattern making showed us the variety in lingerie fabrics and all the notions which are available this day to make the most gorgeous lingerie. We also had a round table meeting with the chairman of the BvK. Another evening was filled with pattern making/adjustments for a full bust.
In our region we try to organise an excursion per year so this year we went to a studio and learned about making felt .Other excursions we did were visits to museum exhibitions.
The national board members organise 3 national days were we can meet our other colleagues from other regions and can attend workshops, lectures of fashion designers etc. and of course shop at the different vendors for fabrics, notions, magazines, pressing supplies, lingerie material, sewing books etc. A great way to stash up. The annual days are situated in the centre of the Netherlands so everyone can attend . Comparative garment show 5 countries 2006 , and the Dutch contribution
Those 3 days are called the study day which takes place in April, and the focus on that day is learning new skills by lectures and each region makes an outfit for a woman and a men which will be showed on the catwalk. The comparative garment show. The fabrics which are used for those garments are handed over to the volunteer members who are willing to make the outfits and are the same for woman and the same for the man’s outfit for each region .The member is free to choose whatever garment he or she wants to design and sew.Last year we had a theme evening wear. It is always a surprise to see those outfits on the catwalk. In our region we also use the making of those outfits as a study object during our gatherings where we can learn a lot from. It starts from scratch a few meters of fabric towards the design sketch , muslin fitting and the last fitting sessions for the final garments. The annual congress in September is filled with a member meeting, and lectures about fashion + the annual tailoring competition where members can show off their skills and win prizes by showing an outfit or two and those outfits are being judged by a jury and showed to the audience on the catwalk.You can see which garments from members who participated in the last tailor skill competition were showed on the catwalk.
The technical information day in November is a day where members can choose 2 workshops out of 3 or 4 , I attended a workshop in the morning working with fur and in the afternoon a lecture about shoe covering .an impression here
This year 2007 a new initiative starts with a day called Mode van Top tot Teen (Fashion from Head to Toe) for which the BvK has selected members who will make an outfit which will be completed with shoes made by a shoe designer and hats made by a hat designers .The exchange of national and international contacts with other tailor organisation is very important that’s why the BvK is a member of the World Federation of Master Tailors and has participated at the international congresses and members were showing their outfits at the fashion shows when the congress was held in Europe. This year the 32 World congress takes place in Taipei International Convention Center in Taiwan from August 5-10 but we will skip the participation this time because it is too far away.We are also a participating member of the 5 Landen Treffen which is a 5 European Country meeting with tailor organisations from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tirol ( Northern Italy). BvK is the host for the next meeting in The Netherlands in 2008. Last year the congress was in Bad aussee in Austria you can see an impression of the fashion shows here
I do not know but The Professional Association of Custom Clothiers and The Tailors and Designers Association of America looks like the US equivalents of the Dutch tailor organisation.