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Eye on the Prize: ANDAM Marks 25th Anniversary

Enlarging its mission, the French fashion prize is out to arm future winners with an arsenal of business skills, in addition to funding.

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PARIS — Enlarging its mission alongside some powerful new partners, French fashion prize ANDAM is out to arm future winners with an arsenal of business skills, in addition to funding.

Marking its 25th anniversary this year, ANDAM is leveraging all its corporate partners to provide winners and finalists with precious know-how about everything from strategic planning and digital marketing to image building.

Kering — the parent of Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron and other brands —is among new sponsors to the prize, with chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault committing himself to “help the winner develop his or her brand with guidance both from a creative and from a business point of view.”

“Besides personal exchanges, opening the doors of some of our brands and having him or her meet with our best experts in the key fields of the fashion industry are the best ways to help a young designer to strengthen his or her project,” he added.

Pinault succeeds Diesel chief Renzo Rosso as mentor for the 2014 winner and is to provide guidance for two years on matters including financial, legal, marketing, communications and production.

MAC Cosmetics is also on board, and has pledged to provide all nominees with makeup artistry support for runway shows and fashion shoots, along with assistance on image building.

John Demsey, group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., said MAC would also offer “networking opportunities to help each designer reach their full potential to succeed in the global fashion industry.”

Tomorrow, which operates showrooms in Milan, Paris and London, is a third new sponsor, joining longtime partners including Swarovski, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Hudson’s Bay Co., Longchamp, Galeries Lafayette and Fashion GPS.

Founded in 1989 by Nathalie Dufour, with the support of the French culture and industry ministries and with former YSL couture boss Pierre Bergé as president, ANDAM has been a springboard for an array of designers that would go on to achieve international recognition, including Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Lemaire, Jeremy Scott, Gareth Pugh and, most recently, Alexandre Mattiussi.

Dufour said the prize must reflect a changed and more professionalized industry, more reliant on marketing, production and distribution expertise — and not only exalt creative gusto.

“We want to help winners gain a competitive advantage on the international market,” she said in an interview. “We have to be on the offensive.”

The ultimate goal is to attract talented designers of any nationality to set up shop in Paris, a hub of specialty ateliers and a beacon for international press and buyers, she added.

Bergé said the industry at large bears responsibility to rise to the “double challenge” of fostering a new generation of designers in Paris “and of the sustainability of the French fashion industry and its inherent know-how.”

The grand ANDAM prize offers an endowment of 250,000 euros, or $338,500 at current exchange, while its First Collections prize, valued at 75,000 euros, or $101,500, is for young companies already established in France.

Nominees for the 2014 edition are to be disclosed in March, with the winner revealed in July.

Dufour noted ANDAM, the French acronym for the National Association for the Development of the Fashion Arts, would mark its silver anniversary with a retrospective exhibition at Galeries Lafayette’s art space, Galerie des Galeries, a party during Paris Fashion Week this fall, plus other collaborations with sponsors and previous winners.

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