Linda Loppa, fashion maestro
This Belgian fashion creator, often referred to as the First Lady of Antwerp fashion, has made a huge contribution to turning Antwerp into a fashion city. Linda Loppa has a career spanning over 45 years in fashion. Time Magazine listed her in 2002 as one of the 25 most influential people in the fashion world. She is today one of the most noted faces of international education in the industry.
Linda Loppa was born on June 26th 1948 in Antwerp, where she studied at the Antwerp Fashion Department, as this section of the city's Royal Academy of Fine Arts is commonly known and started afterwards as a designer by Bartsons, a Belgian raincoat manufacturer. In 1987 she opened her own store ‘Loppa’, an avant-garde fashion store, which soon became the fashion Mecca in the region. She sold collections by, among others, Gianni Versace, Helmut Lang, Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garçons.
At the instigation of Loppa, the Academy of Fashion underwent a process of internationalisation. The Academy acquired an international reputation. Loppa managed to convince the outside world of the exceptionally high standard of the Antwerp Fashion Department. She succeeded in doing this by, among others, inviting the international press, famous creators and design workshops to Antwerp to take part in the students' end-of-year shows. In 2007, the equally famous Walter Van Beirendonck replaced Linda Loppa as director of the Academy of Fashion.
The success of Belgian fashion designers required a more solid organisation. Loppa contributed to creating the Flanders Fashion Institute and the Fashion Museum. She broke new ground as a museum curator and manager. And she became the director of the Fashion Museum in 1998.
Loppa moved to Florence in 2007, where she became the dean of Polimoda, the International Institute of Fashion Design & Marketing. Since January 2016 she is the Strategy and Vision Advisor for Polimoda in Paris.
© Photo: Ruggero Lupo Mengoni