Isko I-Skool's Best Overall Look Award's outfit by Lee Da Young.

MILAN — The pandemic has forced the fashion industry to rethink its usual round of physical events in compliance with social-distancing protocols and travel bans.

To this end, leading Turkish denim mill Isko celebrated the winners of the seventh edition of its Isko I-Skool fashion competition established in 2013 with a virtual gathering Wednesday night.

The competition — which saw applications submitted by fashion students hailing from countries including the U.S., China, Italy and South Korea, among others — was dedicated to upcoming fashion designers. The 20 finalists’ works were evaluated by the judging panel which included Simon Collins, former dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons and founder of WeDesign; Miles Johnson, founder of Johnson Design Consultancy; Anita Tillman, founder of Premium Trade Fairs, as well as Sara Sozzani Maino, Vogue Italy’s deputy editor in chief, among others.

The denim design contest challenged the talents to develop a three-piece collection (a pair of five-pocket jeans and two showpieces) around a theme dubbed “North, East, South, West — connected by one planet,” which aimed at pushing designers to dig into their roots and embrace their cultural background. In keeping with Isko’s penchant for sustainability, finalists were also tasked with keeping each outfit’s life cycle in mind.

Confined at home, participating fashion designers had to face the challenges coming from working remotely on their projects. During the virtual ceremony the usual anticipation and excitement from previous physical events was lost, but an engaging short movie made up of pictures and clips shared by each creative served as emotional content spotlighting the hard work behind the collections, which were also fully displayed slowly spinning on a dais.

The recipient of the top prize, the Best Overall Look Award, was Lee Da Young from Seoul-based ESMOD fashion school. The designer showcased a women’s wear outfit featuring exaggerated roomy denim pants layered with additional drapes of fabric and paired with a sharply cut top with the traditional Chinese side closure.

New to this year’s edition was the Isko Vital+ Best Face Cover Award bestowed on Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology’s Yao Ziyu, who presented a range of kids’ face masks embellished with naïf drawings. Isko Vital+ is a recently installed division within Isko that produces reusable and eco-friendly face covers crafted from organic cotton and washable up to 15 and 30 times, for the Premium and Supreme ranges, respectively.

Other award categories included Best Marketable Product, Best Showpiece and Best 5 Pocket Jeans Fit, among others.

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