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Ester Manas, GmbH and Duran Lantink Among Finalists for ANDAM Prize
The jury selected 12 contenders for three top prizes.
PARIS — Ester Manas, GmbH and Duran Lantink are among the six finalists for the grand prize of the 2023 ANDAM Fashion Award, reflecting a European cohort of designers that have incorporated social and environmental considerations into their brand philosophy.
Brussels-based Ester Manas, founded by Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre, is a size-inclusive brand that works mainly with deadstock fabrics, as do GmbH's Benjamin Huseby and Serhat Isik, established in Berlin. The duo pull inspiration from politics and their multicultural heritage for their designs. (Isik is Turkish German and Huseby is Pakistani Norwegian.)
Lantink, who is based in Amsterdam, has made a name for himself by upcycling designer clothing from older seasons, cutting pieces from different brands up and putting them back together.
Marie-Christine Statz of Paris-based label Gauchere is hoping it will be third time lucky, after previously reaching the finals of the competition's Pierre
Bergé Prize, which focuses on young French companies, in 2014 and 2015. The brand's commitment to the environment is applied to the production chain, with suppliers ensuring full product traceability beginning with the origin of raw materials.
Meanwhile, LGN Louis-Gabriel Nouchi proposes gender-fluid collections with a literary inspiration, prioritizing the use of fabrics with low environmental impact, natural dyes, and buttons and labels made of recycled plastic. Rounding out the list of finalists is Italian designer Andrea Adamo's Andreādamo label, known for its sensual, body-hugging knitwear with an inclusive ideology.
Candidates for ANDAM's grand prize of 300,000 euros can be of any nationality, but must own a French company or set one up during the same year they receive the fellowship. ANDAM will also award a runner-up Special Prize, with a cash award of 100,000 euros, to one of the finalists in the ceremony, which is scheduled for June 29.
The three nominees for the Pierre Bergé Prize, which is worth 100,000 euros, are Avellano by Arthur Avellano, which specializes in latex creations; Ouest Paris, a Paris-based menswear label founded by former Ami designer Arthur Robert, and Vaillant, designed by Alice Vaillant, known for lingerie-inspired camisole tops and slip dresses worn by the likes of Kylie Jenner and Rita Ora.
The contenders for the Accessories
Prize, which has been raised to 100,000 euros this year from 50,000 euros previously, are Alighieri, the London-based jewelry label founded by Rosh Mahtani; Paris-based jewelry brand Panconesi, by Italian designer Marco Panconesi, who moonlights as design director at Swarovski, and Ukrainian milliner Ruslan Baginskiy, whose hats are featured in Beyoncé's “Renaissance” tour.
Chloé chief executive officer Riccardo Bellini, who is the mentor of the prize this year, said the jury was on the lookout for designers with a strong sense of social responsibility.
Among the guests members of the jury that Chloé selected are Quannah Chasinghorse-Potts, American model and
land protector for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Mexican climate activist Xiye Bastida, and Trisha Shetty, human rights campaigner and founder of SheSays, an Indian NGO working to promote gender equality.
“The selection of this year's jury wanted to reflect our ambition to really show how environmental and social considerations are as important as aesthetic and creativity in today's world,” Bellini told WWD.
“We fundamentally believe that now more than ever, we need young creatives and designers of tomorrow to be the drivers of positive change and innovation for our industry to thrive in the future,” he added.
Together with creative director Gabriela Hearst, Bellini is helping to transform Chloé into a purpose-driven, socially engaged enterprise. But he said the whole ANDAM jury, which includes permanent members from companies including Balenciaga, Hermès and Saint Laurent, was committed to promoting sustainable design.
“Beyond the selection and the incredible number of applications that we received, what we've been noticing, and what I've been noticing, especially working with all the schools and young creatives, is that those aspects are embedded almost organically in the thinking of many young creatives now, so it's not something that you need to request,” he said.
“In many ways, social responsibility and sustainability is becoming the mindset of any young creative, and that's a very different thing for our generation of creatives,” Bellini noted.
While many of them already put their principles into action, the prize should help them to scale what is often a costly strategy, he added.
“They will always look at upcycling and recycling as core elements, and often there will be narratives around those values. Because they're still young talents and they still have very small businesses, which is the nature also of ANDAM, they will all need mentoring of what it takes to turn this into a successful business in today's world,” Bellini said.
“That's where I think ANDAM, with this ecosystem, with this mentoring system, can truly help to harness the vision of those talents now and turn it into a successful business model and therefore influence even more the change in the industry,” he added.
The 12 finalists will have access to deadstock materials provided by Balenciaga and Longchamp, while OTB will run a workshop on best practices in sustainable design, and WSN and Première Classe will showcase the winners at its trade shows.
The finalists based in France will have privileged access to the Institut Français de la Mode fashion school's accelerator program, and financial advice from the Institute for the Financing of Cinema and the Cultural Industries, which supports cultural industries in France.
Created in 1989 by Nathalie Dufour, with the support of the French Ministry of Culture and the DEFI, a body that promotes the development of the French fashion industry, and with the late Pierre Bergé as president, ANDAM has been a springboard for designers who would go on to achieve international recognition.
Past winners have included Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Lemaire, Jeremy Scott and Marine Serre.
ANDAM — the French acronym for National Association of the Development of the Fashion Arts — is also supported by large corporate sponsors, which now include Balenciaga, Bureau Betak, Chanel, Chloé, Fondation Pierre BergéYves Saint Laurent, Galeries Lafayette, Google France, Hermès, Kering, Lacoste, Longchamp, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, L'Oréal Paris, Meta, Mytheresa, OTB, Premiere Classe, Saint Laurent, Swarovski and Tomorrow.
“It's an extremely powerful platform where everybody is engaged authentically and with a lot of commitment,” Bellini said. “Honestly, we are creating here something that is a jewel.”
He said the jury was impressed by the level of creativity of the finalists, which reflects the continued drawing power of the French capital. “It sets the stage for a very high quality competition at the end of June,” Bellini said.