Starting your own brand is difficult and challenging, but winning a prestigious fashion award is one way to quickly gain funding, recognition and even global stardom. The competition is fierce, but it’s worth putting your best foot forward and trying to win. And even if you don’t, it’s a good way to gain exposure and expand your network.
Here are six fashion competitions that you should apply for. (Note: The prizes mentioned below are according to the most recent competitions and may change the following cycle).
ITS is meant to bring young, budding fashion, accessories and jewellery designers into the limelight. Launched in 2002, many of the over 580 finalists selected up to now occupy key positions in the most important fashion brands or have established themselves with their own lines. Past judges included Vetements’ and Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia (who was also a finalist), Lotta Volkova, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Iris van Herpen, Valerie Steele, and Colin McDowell.
[The Prize]: There are multiple awards to win through ITS.
[Award Winners in the Past]: Mayako Kano (2016 winner) and Paula Knorr (2015) have stockists all around at the world like Farfetch, MATCHES FASHION, Machine-A, H.LORENZO, Opening Ceremony and Galeries Lafayette.
[Qualifications]: Open for all talents that pursue fashion, fashion accessories and jewellery.
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The Woolmark Prize is definitely an award worth fighting for. The competition challenges designers to be creative with the use of fine Merino wools. Even if you don’t win, it’s worth participating because you’ll be exposed to industry leaders like Phillip Lim, Tim Blanks, Victoria Beckham, Bouchra Jarrar, and founder of Net-a-Porter Natalie Massenet, who have been judges in the past.
[The Prize]: Regional awards will be held in three regions Australasia; Europe and the UK; and the Americas, with one menswear and one womenswear regional winner receiving a financial reward of AU$70,000 and granted the opportunity to compete in the global final, traditionally held during key fashion weeks across the world. Both the global menswear and womenswear winners will receive a further financial contribution of AU$200,000 and also the chance to have their Merino wool capsule collection produced and sold in the world’s top boutiques and department stores through the International Woolmark Prize’s extensive retail partner network, such as David Jones and Mytheresa.com.
Equally crucial is the trade partner program that connects designers with the best wool suppliers, and the expert judging panels and insightful mentors who provide guidance along the way.
An additional Innovation Award with a prize of AU$100,000 will be awarded to a designer, who develops well….an innovative way of using wool. Any of the 12 global finalists could win the award
[Award Winners in the Past]: Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.
[Qualifications]: You can be nominated by your regional Woolmark Prize organisation. Or you can apply starting January 2019. But, usually fresh designers with at least several years of experience with an established brand will have a chance to compete for the prize.
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The LVMH Prize is probably one of the most, if not the most prestigious fashion awards. Even if you’re just shortlisted, your designs will be exposed to industry heavyweights like Karl Lagerfeld, Maria Grazia Chiuri, J.W. Anderson, Nicolas Ghesquiere, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, which in itself is already like a prize. Started in 2013 by LVMH, this prize is meant to take emerging brands to the next level of global stardom
[The Prize]: There are three prizes. The LVMH grand prize winner receives €300,000 and a personalized technical and financial support from LVMH for one year. The Special Prize winner receives €150,000 and a one-year mentoring programme from LVMH. The Graduate prize is open to students who are completing a degree course at a fashion school. Three winners will be chosen and will receive €10,000 and an opportunity to work as part of the design team at LVMH brand for one year.
[Award Winners in the Past]: Grace Wales Bonner (2016) winner and Special Prize winners Simon Porte Jacquemus of Jacquemus (2015) and Shayne Oliver of Hood By Air (2014) are probably the most famous designers to emerge from the competition. Hong Kong’s very own Anais Mak of Jourden was shortlisted for the prize in 2014.
[Qualifications]: Open call for the competition beings in Dec 2018. Brands with a several years of experience and graduate students are encouraged to apply.
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Created in 1989 the ANDAM Fashion Award is meant to budding fashion brands to the next level with financing, guidance and industry contacts in Paris and the rest of the word. This is an important award for young aspiring designers.
[The Prize]: There are four prizes to be won:
The grand prize winner will receive a whopping € 250,000 and a once and lifetime chance to have a mentorship for one season under Francesca Bellettini, CEO of Saint Laurent. In addition, Swarovski will provide € 10,000 worth of crystals for the winning desinger to use for their upcoming collection. But that’s not all, MAC Cosmetics will provide products and help promote the winner and Maison des Savoirs-Faire et de la Création will assist in providing invaluable connections to facilitate the production of the desigers collection.
The fashion accessories prize winner receives € 50,000 and will have an opportunity to be mentored for a year under ANDAM and have access to their contacts.
The fashion innovation prize goes to a desiger or innovator who provides solutions to the most pressing problems the fashion industry in an environmentally sound and social conscious way. The winner receives € 30,000, a mentorship under Clarisse Reille, general manager of DÉFI, access and support from the ANDAM Fashion Technology network and additional funding from French banks.
[Award Winners in the Past]: Wanda Nylon (2016), Stéphane Ashpool of Pigalle (2015), Iris Van Herpen (2014), Christine Phung (2013) and Ami Alexandre Mattuissi (2013).
[Qualifications]: Open call starts January 19. Applicants should have developed a brand for at least a few years and have a clear business proposal for the future of their company.
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This is your chance to get your name and brand out there. Give it a go, there’s nothing to lose except for your chance to shine.