I’ve written before about the lack of support for young fashion designers especially here in Asia. That however is quickly changing thanks to opportunities such as the Izzue x Tsinghua Fashion Design Award which aims to support young designers around the world while unleashing their creative talents.
Founded in 2013 as a collaboration between Hong Kong brand izzue and Tsinghua University in Beijing, the competition has grown bigger and better for its second year and is really paving the way for more collaborations between designers in the East and West. This year several more institutions took part including local schools, the Hong Kong Design Institite and Hong Kong Polytechnic. Up for grabs were two prizes, the Best Design Award and The People’s Award. Both winners are awarded cash prizes while the Best Design winner has the opportunity to develop a capsule collection with izzue’s design team, which will go on sale later this year.
The Best Design Award went to Johanne Dindler (left) while the People’s Award went to Yilong Wang (right)
A total of 12 finalists were selected by a panel of expert judges – three from Hong Kong/China, three from the US, three from France and three from Great Britain – and were sent to Beijing on the July 24 . Here they were tasked with choosing a selection of garments from izzue’s archives, which they then had to transform into an entirely new look, Project Runway style, within 14 hours.
The finals were held in Beijing last week and it was inspiring to see how much potential these young students have, Asians included. The looks were varied and ranged from more conceptual to wearable with a fashion twist.
Creations by Jiaen Cai (left) and Nica Rabinowitz (right)
Highlights included a voluminous white shirt made up of three different pieces by Tsinghua’s Yilong Wang, while Hong Kong Design Institute student Li Pui Shan went topsy turvy and used a top to create bottoms, and trousers to create a top. A patchwork jacket by Parsons student Grace Lee could be taken apart to create four different looks. A personal favourite was Jiaen Cai who was inspired by bags carried by a Afghan nomads called the Kuchi. The result was a sculptural jacket featuring patterns sewn together to create multiple pockets.
More wearable but no less covetable was a plaid wraparound dress featuring geometric panels by Parsons student Nica Rabinowitz (who used a zero waste patterning for her design) and Leanne Hardacre’s sporty summer gillet.
Leanne Hardacre’s sporty gillet (above)
The Best Design Award eventually went to Danish London College of Fashion student Johanne Dindler, who designed and sporty men’s wear piece featuring a cool interplay of textures and embellishments.
Here’s hoping that this is the start of many more awards to come.