As y'all know from our FABulous Fash Factor, here at Grazia Towers, nothing makes us happier than discovering designers-in-the-making. But with a world bursting with so much creativity, the question is how to get your Kirkwood-clad foot on the first rung of that fashion ladder? Step forward Diesel who are lending a supporting hand for exactly that via International Talent Support or, as those in-the-know call it, ITS where this year's judging panel includes be-speculated design duo Viktor & Rolf, dress genius Antonio Berardi and Diesel's owner and founder, Renzo Rosso.
For those not-so-in-the-know, ITS is a platform which gives visibility to young talent from every corner of the globe, providing an opportunity to have their work shown to industry experts. Previous finalists from renowned fashion schools – Central Saint Martins in London, Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris, The Royal Academy of Art in Antwerp – have gone on to work for renowned fashion houses – Lanvin, Dior, Armani, to name but a few. Which is why, last weekend, a usually-quiet town in Italy was descended upon by top designers, fashion insiders, past contestants and, of course, Grazia Daily for ITS#TEN in Trieste.
‘#TEN’ because this is the tenth anniversary of the talent search (see what they've done there?) so no wonder both celebrations and standards were higher than ever, making it a tough choice for the judges. And get this: the lucky winner not only bags a €25,000 cash prize but also secures an internship with the Diesel Creative Team at their HQ in Italy to discover all the secrets of working with an international fashion company. Wowee, that's quite the helping hand.
‘After ten years, it’s very nice to see how many people we have given visibility to,' Renzo tells me before the show. ‘All the previous finalists are working for the best brands in the world and six of those are now working in my company so this is a really fantastic project.’ And what is he looking for in this year’s winner? ‘I need to discover someone to maintain our creativity, our freshness, our innovation.’
Meanwhile, the brilliant Viktor & Rolf are on judging duty for a second year. ‘We look for someone who clearly shows an original talent ideally combined with good skills,’ says Rolf (or at least we think it’s Rolf). ‘If you’re able to express an idea in a good way, it’s great to see.’ So any final words of advice from Viktor? ‘Be as original and authentic as possible. In an over-saturated market, people are looking for things they haven’t seen before.’
Happily for V&R, and the rest of the audience at the evening’s awards show, the creations screamed originality. From a hooded coat consisting of what looked like layers of sleeping bags, ghoul-like head gear and wedges covered in sheaths of wheat (we kid you not), quirky creations from eleven selected designers hit the catwalk.
Then fingers were crossed and breath was held as the next generation of fashion heroes nervously awaited the verdict. Until, Italian-Dermot-stylee, Mr Rosso announced that the winner of the Diesel Award is – drum roll please – Niran Avisar. Woop! Hoot! Hooray! Remember where you heard the name.
The Israelian student of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design created a collection using deer leather and knits combined with woven wool for a modern interpretation of the traditional dandy, making it perfect for Diesel’s uber-cool, and often androgenous, customer.
As Renzo says, ‘The person who comes to work for us is given all our knowledge and with this education, many more companies will open their doors to them.’ We say, watch this space.
- Jessica Vince