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British Designer Ifeanyi Okwuadi Wins Biggest Prize At Hyères Fashion Festival

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Ifeanyi Okwuadi, a British menswear designer, earned the Grand Prix of the Jury Première Vision (Fashion) at the 36th edition of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography.

Okwuadi, a Ravensbourne University graduate, won over the Hyères jury chaired by Lacoste creative director Louise Trotter with his collection titled ‘Take the Toys From the Boys,’ which was inspired by the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp anti-nuclear-weapons rallies.

During a Première Vision Paris event, the North London-based designer, who studied on Savile Row and is currently studying for his MA Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins, wins 20,000 euros and “exposure.”

 

He will also be offered the option to work on a joint project worth up to 20,000 euros with Chanel Métiers d’art.

Ten fashion designers from the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Finland, Latvia, Thailand, Switzerland, and Colombia participated in this year’s Hyères fashion prizes, exhibiting their creations during the festival.

A jury comprised of Ruba Abu-Nimah, executive creative director at Tiffany and Co., upcycled sneaker designer Helen Kirkum, Suzanne Koller, fashion director M le Monde, artist William Farr, singer Steve Lacy, and Tom Van der Borght, who won the 2020 Grand Prize in Hyères, selected them from 250 entries from more than 60 nationalities.

The Chloé competition, which requires competitors to create one silhouette authentic to the Chloé style, was awarded to Latvian knitwear designer Elina Silina for her crocheted white outfit.

Silinia studied at the Latvian Art Academy and focuses in sustainable and upcycled clothes.
She wins 20,000 euros as the winner.

 

The Le19M Métiers d’Arts Prize, presented in collaboration with Chanel, was given to Thai menswear designer Rukpong Raimaturapong, who collaborated with Chanel-owned milliner Maison Michel on wide-brimmed, brilliantly colored interchangeable hats.

Raimaturapong will receive 20,000 euros to “create a new creative project” that will be unveiled at the festival’s 37th edition next year.

This year also saw the introduction of a new prize, the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Prize, which rewarded the finalist who used the knowledge gained via sustainability mentorship sessions established by Fashion Open Studio and held digitally prior to the festival.

These sessions, led by Fashion Revolution co-founder and creative director Orsola de Castro and Tamsin Blanchard, Fashion Revolution’s special projects curator, concentrated on technical innovation, ranging from developing a sustainable supply chain to novel approaches to fabric creation, recycling, and retail.

 

The fashion committee chose the winning designer, Finnish Sofia Ilmonen, an MA fashion graduate from Aalto University, for incorporating sustainable practices into her ‘Same Same But Different’ collection of colorful gowns constructed from the same sized square modules. Ilmonen will get 20,000 euros from Mercedes-Benz as the winner.

In a statement, the 36th Festival d’Hyéres fashion jury said of Ilmonen’s collection, “Sofia Ilmonen was a unanimous winner for the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability prize.”

Her work incorporates environmentally sourced materials, and she frequently used vegetable dyes to get rich, vibrant color.

“Her idea of using square forms lowers fabric waste, and her design approach reduces the need for sizing and allows clothing to morph.”

Her work is of the finest quality, and each piece is precisely polished.”

Furthermore, Adeline Rappaz, a Swiss womenswear designer, won the public poll for her ‘Le temps des rêves’ collection.

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