Belgian wins Grand Prix of Hyères

The Belgian fashion designer Tom Van der Borght (42) has won the Grand Prix at the 35th Hyères International Fashion Festival in France. He goes home with 200,000 euros and a project at Chanel.

In his own words, Van der Borght works with ‘stuff that nobody wants anymore’. For example, he had a multi-colored sweater made of plastic cords that in their previous life served as price tags, or a bag made of fish skin that he went to fish from the sushi waste. With his materials he does more than a classic designer: he uses them in macramé patchworks or simply nails them together. “The future of fashion does not lie in conformist box thinking, it is time to break out,” he said at the awards ceremony.

Typical of his way of working is what he enters in the spring an interview told this newspaper: ‘I’ve been collecting finds from flea markets and thrift shops for twenty years, my attic is full. The limitation therein keeps me from going into overdrive. My head is buzzing enough. To be honest: a second-hand shop sparks more creativity in me than a chic fabric fair à la Première Vision in Paris. ‘

The Hyères festival has been selecting the greatest emerging talent among young photographers and designers every year since 1985. Belgian designers Anthony Vaccarello and Christian Wijnants also won prizes at the start of their careers. This year’s jury chair was designer Jonathan Anderson.

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