Gwen van den Eijnde (born 22 January 1981, Netherlands) has an international presence in fashion, performance art, and costume and stage design. His expressive designs create enthralling characters that expand our imagination. He received special recognition during his studies at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués et du Textile/ESAAT Roubaix and at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs/ESAD Strasbourg. He has since worked with the artist Edith Dekyndt, the costume designer Olivier Bériot, the choreographer Robyn Orlin, the photographer Charles Fréger and has been engaged at the Hermès atelier Petit h. He was a guest at Robert Wilson’s International Summer Program for Performance Art at the Watermill Center in New York, an Artist in Residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart and at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, and has received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation research grant in the Costume and Textiles Department at the RISD Museum in Providence, RI (USA).
By working with emerging and established theater and dance artists he has continued to expand and deepen his experience. His personal practice aims to create, above all, “beings” whose spectrum of transformation generates an additional layer of meaning that he shares with the spectators. This act of slipping into metamorphosis generates plays, dance or film exhibitions, as well as extraordinary visits to ordinary places, whether gardens, houses, landscapes, or urban squares—wherever there is space to arrange and be present. His costumes and garments echo these spatial experiences. They provide a point of reference for inexhaustible research and exploration of the body and its textile extensions.
Van den Eijnde’s extensive knowledge of fashion history and theory informs the multi-layered approach he pursues as a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). His work is a commentary on the idiosyncrasies of life and he frequently uncovers subversive humor and fantastical moments in mundane reality.
Before joining the faculty at RISD, he was a visiting professor at the Fashion Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Head of Textile Design at the Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin in Mulhouse. The awards he has received include the 2016 Culture Prize awarded by the Alexander Clavel Foundation in Riehen/Basel and the 2010 Audience Award for Best Costume Design at the Lucerne Theatre. He has travelled widely to develop and expand his practice, studying traditional kimono design and embroidery in Kyoto and Fukuyama, baroque dance in Cambridge, and stage wigs and make-up in Paris and Strasbourg.