H&M Design Award: Fashion for the future
Ahead of the ninth annual Design Award, H&M’s creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson lets us in on her favourite moments from the past, what wows her and how to make it in the industry.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES FROM PREVIOUS YEARS?
”There are so many. But seeing Richard Quinn being awarded by Queen Elizabeth II at London Fashion Week, so shortly after winning the H&M Design Award in 2017, was really special. It’s been such a trip to follow his career and see that he hasn’t compromised his aesthetic, vision and ambition along the way. The prize money he won helped him build his studio and launch his career, that’s really what this award is about.”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WINNER?
“Each collection and each designer is different and, in a way, they’re all my favourites. But the collection that felt the most personal and the most complete, was Minju Kim’s from 2013.”
HOW HAVE YOURS AND THE JURY’S PERSPECTIVES CHANGED SINCE LAUNCHING H&M DESIGN AWARD? ARE OTHER SUBJECTS MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN IN 2012?
“First and foremost we’re still looking for creativity, a unique voice, and something that really stands out. But sustainability is becoming more important, and we’ve noticed that most design students nowadays have a conscious mindset. To us, sustainability is definitely a big plus.”
I want to see something that makes me curious created by someone who loves fashion and the changeability of it.
H&M’s creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT ALL DESIGN AWARD WINNERS HAVE IN COMMON? WHAT MAKES A WINNER?
”They’ve all presented something unique and had a grand creative vision. On top of that, they’ve all been lovely people with lots of humour, energy and generosity. They’ve made me curious and unleashed a wow feeling in me and the other jurors.”
WHAT WOWS YOU?
”The unexpected! Fashion tends to become streamlined and look pretty much the same. I want to see something that makes me curious, created by someone who loves fashion and the changeability of it.”
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF?
“Great sustainable collections. Also, something that’s more lo-fi and cosy rather than expressive. I think Peter Do and Bode are really interesting upcoming labels that represent something new.”
COMPETITION IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS TOUGH. WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TIPS TO YOUNG DESIGNERS WANTING TO MAKE IT IN THE BUSINESS?
“If you have a strong vision and a clear goal — stick to it. Take advice, listen to peers and find mentors, but always benchmark the opinions of others against your own creative vision and gut feeling. If you’re just getting started in the industry, know that you don’t have to rush and that it’s okay to be patient. In the end, all experiences are good experiences. Remember to be friendly along the way.”
H&M Design Award 2020 takes place in Berlin on 28 November.
WINNERS THROUGH THE YEARS
2012: STINE RIIS KIM
2013: MINJU KIM
2014: EDDY ANEMIAN
2015: XIMON LEE
2016: HANNAH JINKINS
2017: RICHARD QUINN
2018: STEFAN COOKE
2019: PRIYA AHLUWALIA
H&M DESIGN AWARD
· The winner of H&M Design Award receives €25,000 and a paid internship at H&M’s head office. The winner has the option to exchange the internship for a grant of €25,000 making the total prize sum €50,000.
· This year’s jury consists of Ann-Sofie Johansson and Margareta van den Bosch from H&M, last year’s winner Priya Ahluwalia, Véronique Tristram, Fashion Director Glamour Germany, photographer Felix dol Maillot and director at HTOWN Harry Fisher.