Last weekend, i-D Fashion Assistant Ger Tierney flew to Trieste, a small seaport in Northern Italy and host to International Talent Support, an initiative to help new designers get where they deserve to be.
Click images to enlarge.
ITS is a platform for exciting young talent in fashion, jewellery and accessory design, where designers from all over the world show their collections to a jury of industry experts and press. Getting that far is prize enough considering its prestige, but designers are also competing for a number of different prizes over the weekend, some of which include huge grants and exposure in major publications.
On arriving in Trieste, my first taste of ITS was visiting the archive in an attic of an old building on the edge of the city. For me it was the perfect start as I got to glimpse ten years of talent before stepping into year eleven. Seeing the quality of craft and design from past winners and current industry contenders Shaun Samson, Mark Fast and Aitor Throup, I realised just how high the bar was set for the 2012 finalists.
On Saturday morning I had the chance to meet some members of the jury. The highlight was meeting ITS Founder and Director Barbara Franchin, a real lady with a genuine love of fashion and for the talents who surround it. Chatting with Barbara, I realised what ITS is all about: family. She contemplated the previous ten years and gushed over how many of the finalists are now working happily all over the world. Barbara’s emphasis is on “happiness”; that’s how she rates the success of her ‘extended family’. She pointed out that a show in Paris or Milan is just one way to enjoy a successful design career; that there are different dimensions to success, such as having a shop or working for another company.
LCF graduate Oliver Ruuger, ITS ten accessories winner, pointed out the importance of the initiative in exposing designers from small countries, who wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to show their work. The same was said by accessories finalist Tamar Areshidze from Georgia, who very humbly described her place at ITS as “a miracle”. ITS is a place where relationships begin, where designers from opposite ends of the world strike up collaborations. There have even been ITS marriages, and so the family continues.
After an afternoon in the Trieste sun Jury Members, Finalists, and Press all gathered together for dinner and drinks at the Marina before the show and awards ceremony started. The entire show was as outstanding as expected. The big winners of the night were…
Fashion Collection of the Year: Ichiro Suzuki from Royal College of Art, London, whose menswear tailoring was so intricate, it was exquisite.
Fashion Special Prize: Luke Brooks, whose “anti fashion” collection was hugely popular among ITS attendees, myself included. In going against the establishment he managed to create something incredibly refreshing and fun.
Accessories Collection of the Year: Ana Rajcevic, an incredibly talented and charismatic girl who created stunning, thought-provoking headpieces for inner goddesses and animal spirits.
Vogue Talents Award and Avery Dennison Brand Innovation Award: Mark Goldenberg, who showed a collection of woven sculptures and received a standing ovation from the audience. His dresses were nothing short of Art Work, that truly exposed his craft.
The theme of ITS 2012 was Good or Evil. Everyone present was challenged throughout the weekend to choose between the two and ponder the question “Is Fashion Good or Evil?” I certainly left Trieste seeing the good. I saw how the fashion industry nurtures amazing talents and gives a voice to people who wouldn’t normally be heard.
Text: Ger Tierney
Image (top) Luke Brooks
Image (bottom and second from bottom) Shawn Samson