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On Thursday November 30th, the Belgian Fashion Awards 2023 were held at the Handelsbeurs in Antwerp. This sixth edition was once again organised by Knack Weekend, Le Vif Weekend, Flanders DC, Wallonie Bruxelles Mode Design and MAD Brussels.
The award ceremony took place as an offshoot of the Fashion Talks organised by Flanders DC. The charming Aster Nzeyimana and the ravishing Hannelore Knuts took charge of the presentation. Each winner received a unique creation by Paul Boudens, the graphic artist who earlier this year received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Henry van de Velde Awards.
Anthony Vaccarello, creative director of the Saint Laurent's women's and men's lines since 2016, was voted Designer of the Year. The jury praised him for his impressive career and the interesting evolution of his work. "What he does with shape and cut is particularly interesting, for women and certainly for men too," the jury said.
The Jury Prize went to Jan-Jan Van Essche, who was guest designer at the Pitti Uomo fashion fair in Florence in January. It was the first time he hosted a show. Van Essche introduced slow fashion even before the phenomenon had a name. The jury praised Van Essche for his unique vision and fidelity to himself and his design philosophy.
Photographer Laetitia Bica may call herself Changemaker of the Year. Her artistic work blurs the boundaries between fashion, music, video art, theatre and dance, making her photography close to performance art. According to the jury, she has created her own world, with a unique, authentic focus on diversity.
Young designer Igor Dieryck got to take home the Emerging Talent of the Year award. Dieryck, who graduated from the Fashion Academy of Antwerp last year, was also the big winner of this year's Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography. He currently works as a menswear designer for Hermès in Paris.
Sarah Levy was awarded the title Accessory Designer of the Year for her artistic and promising work. After ten years in architecture, Levy obtained a master's degree in Accessories at La Cambre and started her eponymous label. Meanwhile, Levy also works as a freelance designer for brands such as Marine Serre, Patou, Hermès and Givenchy.
Frederik Heyman was named Professional of the Year. The former fashion photographer moulted about a decade ago into a multimedia image maker who creates hyper-realistic 3D worlds populated by avatars of people and objects. The likes of Y/Project, Burberry, Nike and Diesel have already called on him, alongside artists such as Arca and Lady Gaga. For Beyoncé's Renaissance tour, in addition to visuals, he provided props such as a moon chariot and a Venus shell.
Leslie Nonvignon from Haute Ecole Francisco Ferrer in Brussels was honoured as a young talent. The jury awarded her the title Most Promising Graduate of the Year because of her interesting graduation collection Rite of Passage, which consists of totem silhouettes. Novignon aims to bridge the gap between her search for her identity as a designer and the representation of the African past and present.
The public awarded the Fashion Brand of the Year prize to Orta. In 2022, the brand developed the first 100 % European eco-friendly viscose. This year, it became the first Belgian ready-to-wear brand to achieve a B Corp sustainability label.
Designer of the Year: Anthony Vaccarello
Jury Prize: Jan-Jan Van Essche
Emerging Talent of the Year: Igor Dieryck
Professional of the Year: Frederik Heyman
Accessory Designer of the Year: Sarah Levy
Changemaker of the Year: Laetitia Bica
Most Promising Graduate of the Year: Leslie Nonvignon
Brand of the Year: Orta
This year's international jury included designer Meryll Rogge, make-up artist Inge Grognard, curators Elisa De Wyngaert (MoMu Antwerp) and Eve Demoen (Modemuseum Hasselt), Timotej Letonja (editor-in-chief Numéro and Numéro Homme Netherlands), Natalia Andrea Perez Hernandez (online fashion editor of Spanish Metal Magazine), Henry Schöning (manager and buyer at Louis Antwerp), Caroline Esgain (director of the Brussels Museum of Costume and Lace), Thomas Tistounet (CEO of UNTITLED Showroom), Marie-Hélène Vanderborght (C'est du Belge, RTBF). The chairman of the jury was Serge Carreira, Head of Emerging Brands Initiative at the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la mode in Paris.
The Belgian Fashion Awards have been organised since 2017 by several partners active in the Belgian fashion field, including Flanders DC, MAD Brussels and Wallonie Bruxelles Design Mode, and the editorial boards of Knack Weekend and Le Vif Weekend magazines. The event aims to celebrate the uniqueness of Belgian fashion and highlights both established names and emerging talent from the Belgian fashion industry. For more information: www.belgianfashionawards.be.