Twitter LinkedIn Youtube E-mail


City marketing is popular. Cities are seeing themselves more and more as brands that need to be promoted. With this in mind, city dressing is a perfect tool to use when implementing city marketing policy. The possibilities offered by city dressing are endless. However, they are rarely utilised to the full. What a shame: the more unique city dressing is, the greater the effect achieved. 

Exactly what does city dressing entail? Often, any form of display in a city is regarded as city dressing. This includes information panels or a billboard on the side of a building. This is a misconception, because city dressing can do far more than just guide tourists or advertise a particular brand of clothing.


Real city 'dressing' starts with a concept. A city will be dressed in line with just one theme, which will be the same throughout the city. City dressing is a form of advertising and also involves the creation of atmosphere. The first may involve the promotion of events and festivals that are organised in the city. A well-dressed city is attractive and attracts the public to it, because people can see that something is happening there. You can also use city dressing to mark out routes, alongside roads leading to event venues. Where the second aspect is concerned - the creation of atmosphere and ambiance - underlying motives may be broader. For example, making a city centre more attractive for tourists or giving the cityscape a certain look and feel. In these cases, city dressing activities often last longer than events would.

A beautifully-dressed streetscape will attract the attention of visitors from outside the city. However, it should not be forgotten that residents and the business sector are becoming more and more involved in activities taking place in their cities too. Last but not least, city dressing makes a city more recognisable in the media too. So, city dressing improves exposure as well.


When developing a city dressing project, a number of different parties will work together. It will start with a municipality, which will ask a designer to come up with a plan for the thematic dressing of the city. He will then approach Van Straaten with his ideas. We, in turn, will consider the best way to put these ideas into practice. So, Van Straaten plays the role of advisor and executive producer in this process.

A wide range of different materials are used for city dressing. Often, the first to come to mind are building wraps, flags, banners and XL stickers. However, much much more is possible too. The sky is the limit. Any type of material and shape can be produced. Clients often ask what the standard sizes are. There aren't any! The great thing to do is to achieve something different. I believe this magnifies the impact achieved. This is where the challenge lies for Van Straaten: to move away from the standard and do things differently. We advise clients on all of the above and contribute our thoughts to the creative process to ensure that everyone's wishes are met. Together, we arrive at a solution that culminates in the implementation of a particular concept.


Rotterdam now believes firmly in the strength of unique, customised city dressing. In 2013, Van Straaten dressed the city in true Jean Paul Gaultier style. In honour of an exhibition to be held in the Rotterdam Kunsthal - The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk - a number of objects in the city centre were embellished with the Breton stripe so characteristic of Gaultier. Recently, Van Straaten was also involved in the opening of the new Central Station. The designers from Studio Vollaerszwart came up with the idea for Goldstream: a route through the city marked by a number of golden arrows. Van Straaten produced the materials for this innovative form of city dressing, which lead visitors through the city. These Rotterdam examples show that possibilities for city dressing go far beyond the use of several banners or flags. Creative ideas turn cities into real attention-grabber.

Kings Day is just around the corner. What better opportunity to give the city an atmospheric orange feel! Van Straaten will be pleased to show you how your fantasy can become reality.

Van Straaten