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British designer Ifeanyi Okwuadi wins top prize at Hyères Fashion Festival


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

Okwuadi, a graduate from Ravensbourne University, won over the Hyères jury headed up Lacoste creative director, Louise Trotter for his collection titled ‘Take the Toys From the Boys,’ inspired by the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp protests against nuclear weapons.

Image: courtesy of Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography/CatwalkPictures; Ifeanyi Okwuadi

The North London-based designer, who has trained on Savile Row and is currently studying for his

MA Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins takes home 20,000 euros and “visibility” during a Première Vision Paris event. He will also be given the opportunity to undertake a collaborative project with Chanel Métiers d’art worth up to 20,000 euros.

Image: courtesy of Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography/CatwalkPictures; Ifeanyi Okwuadi

Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography names 2021 winners

This year’s Hyères fashion prizes had ten fashion designers from the UK, Taiwan, Finland, Latvia, Thailand, Switzerland, and Colombia, showcasing their collections during the festival.

They were shortlisted from 250 entries from more than 60 nationalities by a jury, including 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 at Hyères.

Image: courtesy of Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography/CatwalkPictures; Elina Selina

The Chloé prize, which challenges the finalists to design one silhouette faithful to the Chloé style, named Latvian knitwear designer Elina Silina as the winner for her crocheted white dress. Silinia studied at the Art Academy of Latvia and specialises in sustainable and upcycled fashion. As the winner, she takes home 20,000 euros.

The Le19M Métiers d’Arts Prize in partnership with Chanel was awarded to menswear designer Rukpong Raimaturapong from Thailand who worked with Chanel-owned milliner Maison Michel on wide-brimmed, brightly coloured interchangeable hats. Raimaturapong will receive 20,000 euros to “make a new creative project” that will be unveiled next year at the 37th edition of the festival.

Image: courtesy of Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography/CatwalkPictures; Rukpong Raimaturapong

Inaugural Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Prize presented at Festival d’Hyères awarded to Sofia Ilmonen

This year also featured a new award, the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Prize, which rewarded the finalist who applied the learnings received during sustainability mentoring sessions designed by Fashion Open Studio that took place digitally in the run-up 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, focused on technical innovation, from building a sustainable supply chain to novel approaches to fabric creation, recycling and retail.

The winning designer, Finnish Sofia Ilmonen, an MA fashion graduate from Aalto University, was selected by the fashion jury for incorporating sustainable methods into her ‘Same Same But Different’ collection of colourful dresses created using the same sized square modules. As the winner, Ilmonen receives 20,000 euros from Mercedes-Benz.

Image: courtesy of Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography/CatwalkPictures; Sofia Ilmonen

On Ilmonen’s collection, the 36th Festival d’Hyéres fashion jury said in a statement: “Sofia Ilmonen was a unanimous winner for the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability prize. Her work utilises sustainably sourced fabrics, often using vegetable dyes to create rich intense colour.

“Her concept using square formations minimises fabric waste and her approach to design reduces the need for sizing and allows garments to transform. Her workmanship is to the highest standard, with each piece meticulously finished.”

In addition, Swiss womenswear designer Adeline Rappaz won the public’s vote for her ‘Le temps des rêves’ collection.

Image: courtesy of Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography/CatwalkPictures; Adeline Rappaz



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