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Destinations · Europe · france · Paris · Where to shop · Concept Stores

RA

Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS

RA

In 1969, Norwegian scientist and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl attempted to cross the Atlantic with an eight-member crew on the Ra, a boat made of papyrus reeds. Although he was not successful the first time, he did reach the coast of Barbados a year later on a similar craft, the Ra II, completing the 6400-km journey from Morocco in just 57-days. While inspired by ancient Egyptian boat designs and named after the sun-god of the pharaohs, the Ra II was not designed to prove that the ancient Egyptians or other travellers reached the Americas thousands of years ago from faraway lands, but simply to demonstrate that boats of this sort were seaworthy and capable of transporting people across great distances.

In 2009, two students at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts - Anna Kushnerova of Russia and Romain Brau of France, opened the RA concept store in Antwerp, the epicentre of Belgian fashion. Their bold and daring project was launched not into the ocean, but in the turbulent waters of the global fashion industry.

RA was created as a platform for energetic young designers, bringing together some of the world's brightest talents with the craziest of ideas. It is a place where almost anything is possible, where the most audacious concepts and the ability to realize them with conviction are the main criteria for being presented on this alternative stage. In a sense, RA was created as a counterpole to the European fashion industry's well-oiled establishment, which centres mainly on recognized values and well-known brands. With few exceptions, most aspiring young designers lack the might and the resources to break through the industry's barriers of snobbish arrogance; to create an impression and to make a lasting name for themselves. Hence, from its very first days, RA has sought to serve as both a stage and a trampoline, helping creative minds at the beginning of their careers (including financially), and bringing new talents out into the open waters.

At the beginning of 2012, RA also unveiled an experimental space in Paris. As one would expect in Europe's fashion mecca, RA's concept is decadently refined; the interior looks like a 1920s Surrealist salon with Russian film influences. A monumental front door sculpted with symbolic carvings in heavy bronze leads into a stage-like space, furnished with a theatre curtain at one end to add to the mystique. Here one will find clothing by designers who have already acquired a degree of recognition (such as Bernhard Willhelm and Rodarte), as well as new talents and young couturiers, including Meadham Kirchhoff and Serkan Cura - not to mention the original works of largely unknown young designers whom Kushnerova and Brau have met in various places across the world as roving scouts in search of new talents. Added to all this are art books and the odd vintage item by Alaia, Mugler and Chanel. As becomes a full-fledged salon, RA plans to hold outlandish events all year long, with the goal of presenting the latest in contemporary art and fashion design - and to be at the very epicentre of a thriving and vibrantly creative milieu.


RA Paris - 14 rue de la Corderie
www.ra13.be

Photos by Julien Da Costa

02/2012

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