Winner Brandon Wen with two of his designs

VIVA VISCOSE: Men’s wear designer Brandon Wen has clinched the inaugural Challenge the Fabric Award, and an accompanying 30,000 euros, an initiative spearheaded by Ekman & Co., the paper and packaging company, and the Swedish Fashion Council.

Held in London during fashion week, the new award encourages sustainable choices among emerging fashion talent and aims to generate awareness around informed fabric choices among fashion industry members and consumers.

The brief was to explore the versatility of viscose, with each finalist presenting selected pieces from their BA lineups along with new designs made out of the eco-friendly fabric.

Wen, a graduate of Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, said he used his grandmother as inspiration, saying his collection was an attempt at re-creating the atmosphere of Spanish tradition in California.

Using Spanish garments and ceramics as references, alongside research on traditional costume from Burkina Faso, the final lineup, Wen said, was “a celebration of summer, heritage and life, which I think is what my grandmother Carmen is all about.”

He cut, braided and “destroyed” the viscose and used all-natural dyes, including vinegar. “It was practically cooking! One of the other things I worked on was using all of the scraps left over from cutting to create shoulder pads and reinforcement.”

The Swedish Fashion Council plans to continue with the CTF awards each year and said it’s committed to encouraging talks around the topic of sustainability in the industry.

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