Bianca Saunders takes home top Andam prize for 2021
Britain's Bianca Saunders has won the 2021 Andam Fashion Awards set up to reward fashion creativity. The rising star designer picked up her prize in Paris on Thursday and in doing so joined a long list of winners that includes Martin Margiela, Christophe Lemaire, Viktor & Rolf and Jeremy Scott.
Specialising in menswear that “challenges the modern perception of masculinity through her employment of innovative tailoring and fabric techniques”, the London-based designer has become known for ready-to-wear and accessories that draw on her British-Jamaican heritage.
She took home a €300,000 prize and will also receive a year of mentoring from Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit, who was chairman of this year’s jury. But fellow finalist Grace Wales-Bonner will also benefit from Andam’s addition of a second mentorship for the first time in its history.
“I can’t put into words how thrilled I am to receive such a prestigious award and I am truly honoured”, Saunders said.
“Mentorship from such a key player in the industry, plus financial support like this will help me really focus on growing my business and realising my lifelong dream — establishing Bianca Saunders as a global fashion brand.”
Saunders also told FashionNetwork.com that she was in shock about winning the prize with the Royal College of Art graduate saying she though the fact that her label is “a little different” to the other, “more Parisian” finalists might work against her.
She also said that she’s spent much of the last year thinking about where her brand goes next and and sees the development of online sales as key as well as further developing her accessories offer.
Saunders, who was also an LVMH Prize finalist this year, is hoping to present her collection in Paris in September.
Meanwhile, other winners on Thursday included two-year-old gender-neutral brand EgonLab that took home the Pierre Bergé prize dedicated to emerging French fashion companies. The cash prize here was €100,000.
The Accessories prize went to French leathergoods brand Aswad. Worth €50,000, the prize was presented by Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, creative director of Swarovski. Aswad is a brand that blends French and Moroccan influences. It was founded in 2015 by Sonia Ahmimou who had previously worked at Louis Vuitton, Moynat and Hermès.
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