EXCLUSIVE: Botter, Lukhanyo Mdingi and Peter Do Among Finalists for ANDAM Prize

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PARIS Botter, Lukhanyo Mdingi and Peter Do are among the seven finalists for the grand prize of the 2022 ANDAM Fashion Award, reflecting the international reach of the competition, which aims to draw worldwide talents to set up their business in the French capital.

All three are former finalists for the LVMH Prize for Young Designers, with South Africa-based Mdingi, who designs menswear and womenswear, one of the joint winners of the runner-up Karl Lagerfeld Special Jury Prize last year.

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Dutch menswear label Botter is designed by Rushemy Botter and Lisi Herrebrugh, who until recently moonlighted as artistic directors of Nina Ricci, while womenswear designer Peter Do, who previously worked at Celine under Phoebe Philo, is based in New York City.

Only one of the contenders for the 300,000 euro main ANDAM award is headquartered in Paris: Thomas Monet’s gender-fluid Cool TM brand. Candidates for ANDAM’s grand prize can be of any nationality, but must own a French company or set one up during the same year as the receipt of the fellowship.

Rounding out the list of finalists are Berlin-based womenswear label Ottolinger, established by Swiss-born designers Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient; Copenhagen’s Heliot Emil, which was founded by brothers Victor and Julius Juul in 2016 as a menswear brand and has since expanded to womenswear, and London-based womenswear brand Robert Wun, the subject of a recent exhibition at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s museum in Atlanta.

For the first time this year, ANDAM will also award a runner-up Special Prize, with a cash award of 100,000 euros, to one of the finalists — reflecting the generosity of new and established sponsors and recognizing the strength of the high-caliber talents the awards have been attracting recently.

The three nominees for the Pierre Bergé Prize, which focuses on young French companies and is worth 100,000 euros, are Benjamin Benmoyal, who makes clothes from deadstock fabrics and recycled materials like VHS cassette tapes; Bluemarble Paris, a Paris-based menswear label founded by multicultural designer Anthony Alvarez, and Boyarovskaya, created by designer Maria Boyarovskaya and fashion photographer Artem Kononenko.

Meanwhile, the three contenders for the Accessories Prize, valued at 50,000 euros, are 13 09 SR, the brand cofounded by former Carven designer Serge Ruffieux that launched last year with flat shoes and bejeweled eyewear; London-based Romanian designer Ancuta Sarca, whose creations meld sportswear and high fashion, and Paris-based jewelry designer Dolly Cohen, who has created grills for celebrities including Rihanna.

Nathalie Dufour, ANDAM’s founder and managing director, noted that the prize has always drawn a wealth of international applicants, pointing out that the first winner in 1989 was Belgian designer Martin Margiela.

“I think it also shows that Paris is a capital that continues to attract a lot of talent,” she told WWD in a joint interview with Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion and president of Chanel SAS, who is returning this year for his second stint as mentor of the prize. “Participating in the ANDAM prize opens a lot of doors.”

Dufour noted that the main award comes with several strings attached: In addition to setting up a French subsidiary, brands must commit to showing their collections in Paris, and a portion of the prize money is contingent on employing French manufacturers.

“It’s about promoting the ‘Made in France’ label and connecting companies with these brands, who dream of having access to the kind of high-level know-how that positions them as luxury brands,” she said, adding that the rarefied skills on offer in France also chime with brands’ efforts in favor of sustainable production.

Meanwhile, the finalists based in France will have privileged access to the Institut Français de la Mode fashion school’s accelerator program, and financial advice from the Institute for the Financing of Cinema and the Cultural Industries, which supports cultural industries in France.

Bruno Pavlovsky - Credit: Courtesy of Chanel
Bruno Pavlovsky - Credit: Courtesy of Chanel

Courtesy of Chanel

Pavlovsky said the ANDAM prize, to be awarded at a ceremony on June 30, was key to burnishing the reputation of Paris as the capital of fashion. “Our ambition is really to seek out the best in order to boost the prestige of both the ANDAM award and Paris and that necessarily leads us to be super international,” he said.

“It would be great to have seven French candidates. The reality today is that design is extremely broad, cosmopolitan and international. It’s inspired by all cultures, from all continents, so it’s important that the ANDAM prize reflects that too,” he added.

Both noted that this year’s finalists shared a tendency toward timeless designs, in tune with their generation’s growing demand for ethical and sustainable production.

“There’s a return to a certain classicism and to the idea of wardrobe building. We’re seeing less political commentary, fewer efforts to use clothing as vectors for slogans or ideas. Rather, the focus is on exploring more deeply the primary function of the garment and the quality of the materials. In that sense, I found this quite a mature selection,” Dufour said.

Pavlovsky, who previously mentored ANDAM’s 2015 winner, Stéphane Ashpool of streetwear brand Pigalle Paris, said he would put even more emphasis on environmental concerns this time around.

“These are brands that, if they adopt good habits from the start, can produce sustainably. It’s hard for established brands to change and evolve. As part of my mentorship, I will discuss with the winners how to begin doing this from where they stand currently. I think it’s key for tomorrow’s fashion,” he said.

The prize’s mentoring has also adapted to take into account today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, with the arrival of Instagram and Mytheresa.com as sponsors, offering this year’s winners the chance to tap into a digital-savvy braintrust to hone their communication and distribution strategies.

Pavlovsky said the mentoring process should allow brands to avoid some of the mistakes made by their more established peers.

“There’s so much happening today in the world of fashion and luxury, so many sectors are seeing disruption, from retail to manufacturing — there are really a lot of areas we can help with, even if it’s just by drawing their attention to potential pitfalls,” he said.

“Today more than ever, our job as mentors is to help them achieve what they want, but also to alert them and to save them time on issues that, unfortunately, we’ve already struggled with in the past,” Pavlovsky added.

Created in 1989 by Dufour with the support of the French Ministry of Culture and the DEFI, a body that promotes the development of the French fashion industry, and with the late Pierre Bergé as president, ANDAM has been a springboard for designers who would go on to achieve international recognition.

Past winners include Viktor & Rolf, Christophe Lemaire, Jeremy Scott and Marine Serre.

ANDAM — the French acronym for National Association of the Development of the Fashion Arts — is also supported by large corporate sponsors, which now include Balenciaga, Chanel, Chloé, Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent, Galeries Lafayette, Google, Hermès, Instagram, Kering, Lacoste, Longchamp, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, L’Oréal Paris, MyTheresa, OTB, Premiere Classe, Saint Laurent, Swarovski and Tomorrow.

Executives from most of those firms comprise permanent members of the jury.

Many of this year’s guest jury members are drawn from Chanel’s orbit. They include model and music producer Caroline de Maigret; twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz of musical duo Ibeyi; choreographer Blanca Li; rapper Abd al Malik; model, DJ and singer Soo Joo Park, and Miren Arzalluz, director of the Palais Galliera fashion museum.

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