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The Belgian Fashion Awards name graduate of the year and emerging talent of the year

By Veerle Versteeg

Nov 29, 2022


Sebastian Van Canneyt, Most Promising Belgian Graduate of the Year with Chibi Ichigo, an artist from the Belgian Electro scene. Credits: J. Van Belle, via WBI

Last week, the Belgian Fashion Awards announced the winners of its 2022 edition, which included the Most Promising Belgian Graduate and Belgian Emerging Talent of the Year.

The young designer Sebastian van Canneyt, who received his master degree from art school KASK in Ghent earlier this year, was named Most Promising Graduate.

“We were all seduced by Sebastian's conceptual work, by the twist in his artistic installation of his graduation collection and by his ironic and intelligent design and use of language," jury president Venya Brykalin said in a statement.

Van Canneyt won the University of Antwerp x Flanders DC Award last June for his master project at the KASK School of Arts in Ghent. This award is given to master students at various art academies in Belgium who best translate their creative vision into a mature collection.

Florentina Leitner, an alumna of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and the Fashion Institute Vienna, took home the Emerging Talent of the Year award. She was praised by the jury for her vision of style, her willingness to work sustainably and the way she uses upcycling in her collections.

Florentina Leitner, campaign image. Image: Benjamin Mallek, via Flanders DC.

In addition to the title, Leitner will receive a cash prize of 5,000 euros and the Fashion and Lace Museum of Brussels will purchase a silhouette of hers for their collection.

Apart from the Emerging Talent of the Year and Most Promising Graduate, the awards for Designer of The Year, Professional of the Year, Changemaker of the Year, Brand of the Year and UPR Prize were also presented.

Other notable winners at the Belgian Fashion Awards 2022

Stefanie D'heygere who won the 2022 Jury Prize. The jewellery designer received the Jury Prize because, according to the jury, she has “succeeded in building an inclusive community around her and her brand".

"Time and again we prefer quality over quantity," one of the organisers of the awards, Flanders DC said in a press release. Stefanie D'heygere creates gender-inclusive designs described as surreal and "typically Belgian".

Glenn Martens went home with the title Designer of The Year. It is the second time he has won the title at the Belgian Fashion Awards - he also won Designer of the Year in 2018.

"Glenn Martens is impressive," said the jury. "His talent and sphere of influence are equally impressive. With Diesel, Y/Project and his haute-couture collection for Jean-Paul Gaultier, he does everything and he does it well.

Designers Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre received the title Changemaker of the Year at the award ceremony in Brussels. The duo are jointly responsible for the Ester Manas clothing brand.

"Ester Manas is the perfect example of how a young, independent label can be a real engine for change. Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre's voice is relevant, powerful, radical and uncompromising, the jury said in their official report.

“Their influence is undeniable, they have succeeded in pushing the boundaries in the fashion industry," they concluded.

Last but not least, the winners for Brand of the Year and the UPR Prize. Xandres won the audience award Brand of the Year. The UPR Prize went to the Rosie Antwerp brand.

Thanks to the prize, the label can count on the professional support of PR and communications agency UPR for a year.

All in all, many trends of inclusivity and sustainability can be found among the award winners. Since 2017, the Belgian Fashion Awards have been organised by Flanders DC, Mad Brussels, Wallonie Bruxelles Design Mode and Weekend Knack / Le Vif Weekend.

The awards aim to highlight the creativity and diversity of Belgian fashion, both on a national and international level.

Belgian Fashion Awards