Let's wind back the clock and re-discover some of the past winners of the prize, starting with Helen Kirkum who won in 2016. Helen’s footwear collection was a journey into research and handcraft. By searching and collecting old sneaker parts she engaged in bringing them back to life through a time-consuming process which rebuilds an entirely new sneaker from scraps. This recycling approach is paired with Helen's unique sense of aesthetics which turns her combinations into magnificent pieces of art: all of her sneakers are perfectly balanced, subtly off-track and carrying a signature style which allowed her to establish an eponymous line receiving considerable attention from the international press. She has recently developed the Alexander Wang x Adidas Originals BBall Soccer kicks as well as some pretty amazing re-engineered Nike AirMax.
Back to 2015 and we have a fashion finalist this time grabbing the award: Elina Maattanen, a Finnish designer who went on to work for Maison Margiela following her experience at ITS. The starting point for this collection were the rigid functionality of military flight suits as well as the soft beauty of Japanese aesthetics. Variety within a delimited framework is typical in traditional Japanese art and it inspired Elina to create rules and restrictions for herself, in order to explore the subject deeper. In her garments all patterns are based on a single Russian flight suit, but on top of it there is a mix of elaborated shibori-dye (an ancient Japanese dyeing technique), applied pleating, hand-woven fabrics and knotted tassels.
We have a soft spot for Katherine Roberts-Wood, perhaps because she has a scientific background and anything blending creativity and science excites us. Katherine - who won the award in 2014 - developed a linking technique through which she can engineer fabric and form through the repetition of a single unit, reflecting the collision of mathematical and natural phenomena that influence her work. Laser-cut pieces create fabric structures resembling moving biomorphic forms. An imagined, geometric animal skin that changes colour with movement at the will of the woman, enabling her to stand out or blend into her surroundings as she desires.
2014 saw two winners for the prize, the second one being Maiko Takeda and her unbelievable "Atmospheric Re-entry" collection which left the international press speechless with its beauty, winning over Bjork who famously wore many of Maiko's pieces afterwards. Her head/body pieces explored the conditions and forms of the ethereal. Starting from the simple question "what would it feel like to wear a cloud?" Maiko created a series of sculptural pieces blurring the boundaries of surrounding space for the wearer and seeking to transcend the traditional expectations of headwear. She now works as accessories designer for Issey Miyake.
There are so many 2018 finalists we can think of that could be potential candidates for this year... The bets are open on who will grab the Special Mention by Vogue Talents at ITS 2018!