Ronald van der Kemp’s “Army of Love”

Performance Art for a Sustainable New World

Fashion designer and founder of demi-couture fashion house RVDK, Ronald van der Kemp has created a performance art piece focused on sustainability entitled “Army of Love”. The performance included 30 Dutch models wearing couture masks and waving white flags at the Hotel de l’Europe, signaling a surrender to a more sustainable future, captured in a short film by Kitty Kooring with photography by Marijke Aerden. The film and photography were released with sketches of the masks by van der Kemp, as well as conceptual drawings leading up to the performance. The masks will be auctioned off to benefit the Refugee Company, which is slated to open the first factory in the Netherlands to produce surgical masks made by refugees.

Van der Kemp specializes in designing limited-edition items that are seasonless and crafted by hand in small ateliers in Amsterdam, as a way of eschewing the fashion industry’s typically un-sustainable processes of mass-manufacturing. His passion for sustainability was the impetus for the performance piece, and the preliminary sketches were accompanied by verses written by van der Kemp himself challenging humanity to institute positive change after the global pandemic has ended. The verses implore people and companies to seize the opportunity to hit the reset button and create a sustainable new existence; a full transcript of the verses, as well as the film and photography, are included below.


For weeks now we are confined in our homes
We are told to wear masks when we go outside
An outside threat
An eerie new reality
The only thing we can do is surrender


We put globalization on hold
Bringing back a deep appreciation for our local heroes, front line workers, neighbors
A chance for societal change
The world on halt
We see that the skies are clearer, nature blooms and even wild animals come out


The constraints of these times fuel our imagination, forcing us to reimagine the future
Making us all aware of our destructive relationship with the planet
A time to reconsider our industry and how it is participating to a world that is facing a tremendous crisis


It’s up to us how we move forward, how we preserve this state of mindfulness
and appreciativeness of the things we need to miss out now
It’s up to all of us to what extent we are willing to listen to all the signals we are given
Moving away from quantity back to quality
Appreciating local craftsmanship, substance and soul
This is our chance to reset


It’s up to us to reveal ourselves
To stop hiding behind filters
Stop hiding an inconvenient truth
Who are we as humans and as companies and what do we stand for?

Let’s make the world beautiful and healthy
Let’s make history and start a true sustainable era!
“New ethics in luxury fashion’

Ronald van der Kemp, April 23 2020

RVDK Creative Director | Ronald van der Kemp
Production | Amsterdam Fashion Week / Danie Bles
Photography | Marijke Aerden
Cinematography | Kitty Kooring
Choreography | Nathalie Haelermans
Music | Fragments Of ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ By Richard Strauss
Location | Hotel De L’europe, Amsterdam