On a cold January day in Stockholm, over five hundred well-dressed people are digging their heels in the snow, patiently waiting to climb a flimsy flight of stairs and sit inside a large warehouse. Slowly, the procession progresses, like a chic long black snake and disappears inside the venue. Inside, the tension is palpable and nobody knows which one of the eight finalists will win this year's much coveted H&M Design Award. Last year's winner, the wonderful Minju Kim, saw her collection sell out in all H&M stores worldwide: a real triumph for any emerging designer. The goal of the Award is simple: "With the H&M Design Award we want to promote new talents and give them a start within the fashion industry." says Ann-Sofie Johansson, Creative Head of Design at H&M. The winner of the Award receives a €50.000 prize, they get to show their collection during MBFW Stockholm and they get to develop a selection of pieces which will be produced and sold in some H&M stores this Autumn. This year's jury, composed of Ann-Sofie Johansson, Michelle Dockery, Erdem, Michelle Violy Harper, Serena Hood, Sara Maino and Margareta Van Den Bosch chose French born, La Cambre educated designer Eddy Anemian as the recipient of the prize. We met with him after the show for a little insight into his world.
Outside the H&M Design Award Show venue.
EA: I come from a place called Saint Chamond, a small town near Lyon in France. I have been studying in Belgium for 4 years and in my 5th and final year I studied in La Cambre. Following on from the show at Stockholm Fashion Week I am working on my new collection that I will present in June, where I will try to propose a new silhouette, but I also want people to recognise my signature.
You just won the Design Award, how do you think it will effect your original career plan?
EA: Maybe because more people will see my work, on websites, blogs and other social media creating a spotlight on my collection. My capsule collection that will launch in H&M stores and online will help me a lot too and I hope that customers will want to see more after this!
There is a really intricate fabric work involved in your collection, could you tell me more about the concept behind it and how it came about?
EA: I wanted to work with flower patterns so I went to a lot of fabric stores to find the good ones. I visited upholstery fabric stores in Verviers, Belgium and knew that I wanted to use some of them. I wanted to create the idea of ikat weaving in my clothes so I began to cut all my floral fabrics and recompose the pattern with different stripe gaps. The result is a rough and colorful texture, and it’s exactly how I imagined the shapes. I considered the outfits as paintings.
EA: The movie “I Am Love” with Tilda Swinton was the inspiration, all aspects of it: The main character and the passion with her lover, the luxurious Italian house and the sunny, green landscapes. I was also inspired by the French paintings of Ingres which show mature and aristocratic elegance. I started off by compiling large mood boards and then once it made sense to me I started with drawings and prototypes.
What's your next step?
EA: To finish school and try to present a collection that people will like maybe even more! After that, just to think more about creating my own label or possibly work in a fashion house in Paris.
Ann-Sofie Johansson and Eddy Anemian