The Belgian Fashion Awards are an annual occasion to celebrate Belgian fashion and honour the creatives in the fashion industry. This glamorous evening took place for the fifth time on Thursday 24 November, this time at MAD Brussels. Numerous Belgian designers and people from the fashion industry were honoured, with the big winner being Stephanie D'heygere, who received the jury's award.
The evening kicked off with a master lecture by Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, the duo behind fashion brand Botter, which itself already won awards at the 2017 Belgian Fashion Awards and won the grand prize at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography the following year. After the lecture, the awards ceremony started, presented by the dynamic duo Élodie Ouédraogo and Jeroom Snelders.
The international jury, presided by Venya Brykalin of Vogue Ukraine, chose the winners of six of the eight awards. In addition, PR and communications agency UPR presented a prize and the eighth and final category, Fashion Brand of the Year, was in the hands of the public. The awards themselves this year were again a creation of Antwerp-based designer and ceramist Wouter Hoste. Each winner received a unique piece of art.
This year's Jury Prize goes to jewellery designer Stephanie D'heygere. In 2018, D'heygere founded her own eponymous jewellery and accessories label. She is praised by the international jury for her Belgian and surreal designs that are gender-inclusive and accessible. "Stephanie D'heygere deserves the Jury Prize because she has managed to build an inclusive community around her and her brand. Time and again, she prefers quality over quantity." said the jury.
Glenn Martens, creative director at Diesel and Y/Project, may now call himself Designer of the Year 2022. The jury's verdict is unanimous: "Glenn Martens is impressive. His talent and sphere of influence are equally impressive. With Diesel, Y/Project and his haute-couture collection for Jean-Paul Gaultier, he is doing everything and doing it well. His career is exemplary, with continuity and a willingness to break the rules with the aim of greater sustainability, inclusivity, democratisation and kindness."
Belgian-Moroccan fashion photographer Mous Lamrabat has been awarded this year's Professional of the Year. The jury admires him for the way he mixes his Moroccan roots with the Western world he grew up in, and from which emerges a unique vision of fashion photography.
Young fashion designer Florentina Leitner takes home the Emerging Talent of the Year award. In 2020, Florentina Leitner launched her eponymous label, aimed at the 'girly and fun' woman who loves floral prints with a twist - in other words, a woman who, like her, 'loves art and fashion'. She is praised by the jury for her vision of style, her willingness to work sustainably and the way she uses upcycling in her collections. In addition to an award, Florentina Leitner will also receive a cash prize of 5,000 euros. In addition, the Fashion and Lace Museum of Brussels is purchasing a silhouette of her for their permanent collection.
The Changemaker of the Year award goes to Ester Manas & Balthazar Delepierre, the duo behind clothing brand Ester Manas. Founded in 2019, the label stands for bold collections for powerful and high-spirited women. The jury has nothing but praise for the duo: "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. Their influence is undeniable; they have succeeded in pushing the boundaries in the fashion industry."
Sebastian Van Canneyt, who received his master's degree from Ghent's KASK earlier this year, is named Most Promising Graduate of the Year. "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," said jury president Venya Brykalin.
In addition, the public's Brand of the Year prize goes to Belgian clothing brand Xandres.
Finally, fashion label Rosie Antwerp wins the UPR Prize from the PR and communications agency of the same name. Thanks to this prize, the Antwerp-based label can count on their professional back-up for a year.
Jury Prize: Stephanie D'Heygere
Designer of the Year: Glenn Martens - Diesel / Gauthier
Emerging Talent of the Year: Florentina Leitner
Professional of the Year: Mous Lamrabat
Changemaker of the Year: Ester Manas & Balthazar Delepierre
Most Promising Graduate of the Year: Sebastian Van Canneyt - KASK, Gent
Brand of the Year: Xandres
Belgian Fashion Awards x UPR prize: Rosie Antwerp
The international jury of the award ceremony this year consisted of Venya Brykalin, Aya Noël, Élodie Ouédraogo, Branko Popovic, Caroline Esgain, Jesse Brouns, Nicolas Di Felice, Serge Carreira, Orsola de Castro, Elisa De Wyngaert, Eve Demoen, Pascale Mussard, Thibaud Guyonnet and Milou van Rossum.
The Belgian Fashion Awards are an annual occasion to celebrate Belgian fashion and honour the creatives in the fashion industry. This event has been organised since 2017 by several partners active in the Belgian fashion field, including the official bodies Flanders DC, MAD Brussels and Wallonie Bruxelles Design Mode, and the editorial boards of the magazines Weekend Knack and Le Vif Weekend.
The awards aim to highlight the creativity and diversity of Belgian fashion, both on a national and international level. In the fashion world, Belgium is known as surreal, avant-garde and modest. During the award ceremony, this modesty is put aside to show that Belgian fashion is so much more. Belgian fashion also stands for creative innovation, personality and sustainability. For more information: www.belgianfashionawards.be.