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GREEN SHOOTS: Livia Firth’s brand consultancy Eco-Age gathered industry figures, including Italian Chamber of Fashion president Carlo Capasa, entrepreneur Carmen Busquets and British Vogue editor in chief Edward Enninful, on the sidelines of Paris Couture Week to select the five finalists of its talent competition for emerging designers. 

The 13 jury members met in a makeshift conference room in a stuffy apartment on Tuesday to look at the work of 10 shortlisted designers. The finalists will attend the second edition of The Green Carpet Fashion Awards, to be held on Sept. 23 at La Scala at the end of Milan Fashion Week.

The winner of the Franca Sozzani GCC Emerging Designer Award will have the opportunity to present at Milan Fashion Week in February, supported by the Italian Chamber of Fashion.

In addition, they will benefit from a one-year mentorship program with outlet center operator Value Retail, which runs 11 outlets under the heading of Bicester Village Shopping Collection. Their collections will be featured in The Creative Spot, a platform dedicated to showcase new talents at Fidenza Village, just outside of Milan.

The finalists are Gilberto Calzolari, whose look was created using jute coffee bags from Brazil; Teatum Jones, who created a dress made from recycled polyester and Lenzing modal, a fabric derived from responsibly sourced wood; Behno, which presented a gown fashioned from unused garments and a yarn made by recycling discarded fishing nets and carpets; Davide Grillo, whose gown featured hand-painted designs using onion skin, logwood, and walnut shell, and Wrad, whose look featured dyes created with recycled graphite powder instead of chemical dyes.

In a press conference that clocked in at less than four minutes, Capasa revealed the winners. “It was quite difficult because we found a very high quality of work and all the judges were quite impressed,” he said, as fellow judges Petra Nemcova and Ellie Goulding looked on.

“This day must be for you the start of a journey going into the future to look at your job and fashion in a different way and trying to give a different perspective of fashion,” he added.

Jury member Christopher Bevans, the founder and creative director of Dyne men’s wear, also had some words of advice for the five who didn’t make it, recalling that he was a finalist of last year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund but did not go on to win.

“Continue to focus on your business and to stay with sustainability: it’s the future. You’re the future. You’re going to one day get picked up by a big house and it’s going to be your job to implement these systems in their supply chain, supporting other designers as they grow and as you grow in your business, and it’s going to be exciting to see what you continue to do,” he said.

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