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ITS names winners of its 2021 edition

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: courtesy of Adam-Elyassé

The International Talent Support competition celebrating young designers, founded by Barbara Franchin, has unveiled the winners of its 19th edition, after receiving more than 530 entries from all over the world.

The 2021 edition has been conducted entirely online and received entries from 60 nationalities representing more than 80 schools based in 30 countries across fashion, accessories and jewellery.

This year there were seven awards including the ITS Responsible Creativity Award sponsored by Allianz, which was awarded to two “outstanding designers” - British designer Adam Elyassé, a menswear designer from Central Saint Martins, and Spanish designer Aitor Goicoechea Aburuza, who graduated from IED Istituto Europeo Di Design Barcelona.

Both designers were awarded 6,500 euros each for their winning collections. Elyassé presented an outerwear collection examining his Morrocan heritage and British upbringing, while Aburuza’s collection is a celebration of his relationship with his father and how it shaped him as a person.

Singer and Songwriter Mika, who was part of the jury, said of Elyassé’s collection: “Adam is someone who is re-evaluating his ethnic heritage, the challenges of a landscape imposed on people of a certain area, removing any limitations of sex or gender and confronting the environment without ever losing his artistic fingerprint, his style and his own journey, which can all be seen throughout the concept.

“At the end his work is extremely technical with an evident do-ability that is also part of it, with this kind of patchwork of shapes, and I found an amazing balance between exploration, origin, problem solving, personal conflict and resolution. And it is all really intriguing and really strong.”

International Talent Support competition names 2021 winners

The inaugural ITS Digital Fashion Award was won by Chinese-born, London-based designer Hua Hui aka Keiga, a menswear graduate from the Royal College of Art. He was selected by the international jury for his “depth and quality of research as well as its relevance to the concept and rich narrative”.

Hui’s fashion is described as futuristic and surreal looking at the exploited lives of subaltern workers in assembly-line factories. The utopian virtual world revolves around three symbolic characters: the villain, exploiting and enslaving the worker, and the revolter, meant to free and awaken the workers.

The ITS jury said that Hui was the “well deserved winner” as the “aesthetics, the choices, the perspectives, down to the branding was exciting”. Hui wins a cash prize of 3,000 euros.

While Korean designer Tae Choi, also from the Royal College of Art, was awarded 20,000 euros for winning the OTB Award for his ‘Newtown Kids’ collection based around the cultural legacy of Seoul, where he grew up.

OTB chairman Renzo Rosso, chose Choi as the winner, because: “Of its clarity, sophisticated yet very simple and balanced aesthetic. It is a menswear project with a modern, up-to-date design. Simple, without useless embellishment and executed with extreme care on shapes, details, and expressing a deep study on volumes, unexpected cuts, accurate colour mix. I believe that this project represents an example of a modern and wearable product.”

The Swatch Art Peace Hotel Award, assigned by Swatch chief executive Carlo Giordanetti, awarded 10,000 euros to Belgian designer Mohammed El Marnissi from the Royal Academy of Antwerpen, for “using colour and materials to create a positive, happy mix”.

Three designers were selected by Lotto Sport to develop a sneaker project. Designer Hadar Slassi came in third and received 1,000 euros, while Tomer Stolbov came in second and received 2,000 euros, and Chinese designer Qingzi Gao was named the winner for her “creativity and originality” and takes home 3,000 euros.

Gao impressed the jury with her futuristic aesthetics inspired by vintage Lotto magazines and posters, that were incorporated in prints, hardware and embellishment design for the footwear prototype.

The ITS Fondazione Ferragamo Award was won by Hadar Slassi, a recent footwear and jewellery graduate from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Israel. Slassi wins 5,000 euros and an internship in Salvatore Ferragamo’s creative department.

Salvatore Ferragamo museum director Stefania Ricci chose Slassi for her “ability to combine the most advanced technologies and attention to sustainability with traditional craftsmanship and an ergonomic shape of the shoe, elements which can be found in Salvatore Ferragamo’s creativity”. The final accolade, the Vogue Talents Special Mention, was awarded to Tianan Ding by Sara Sozzani Maino, deputy editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, head of Vogue Talents and international brand ambassador for Camera Nazionale dell Moda Italiana.

Maino said Ding was chosen for her: “vision and boldness of going beyond the concept of a fashion brand. Responsibility, creativity, awareness, craftsmanship and passion were all combined together for an unique artistic project”.

International Talent Support
ITS Competition