Monday 19th October

| BY Jennifer Raymont

10 Hyères Festival Finalists Predict The Future of Fashion

Since 1986 the Hyères Festival has been promoting and celebrating young design talent, and this year is no exception. With a jury consisting of several fashion big names, including Jonathan Anderson, Derek Blasberg and Kaia Gerber, the pressure was definitely on. Contestants from five nationalities came together as their collections were presented in a series of fashion shows. The winner of the Grand Prix of the Jury and the €20,000 grant was – drum roll please! – Tom Van der Borght. The prize includes the opportunity to present at Mercedes-Benz fashion Week AW20/21 in Berlin, which we will be not so patiently waiting for. The car manufacturer has also collaborated with Fashion open studio “to support the next generation of extraordinary design talent” and together have acknowledged Emma Bruschi.

Carry on reading to find out more about all of this years contestants and to see where the future of fashion is heading!

Tom Van der Borght

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

We all have moments in life where we feel defeated, vulnerable, mistreated, sad, lonely or excluded.

In our modern times society we have the tendency to deal with these emotions in a super-individualised way. Our technology-based society is built on likes, and sharing “a constructed vision” on our own lives, but often we deal with negative things and “real life” in loneliness.

In such moments we look for ways to find ourselves again, we crave for a survival guide to our own life, we have a hunger for connection and community as an antidote for loneliness and exclusion.

To find more collectivity in this, TVDB develops a series of 7 rituals, based on 7 stages in his own life, on the intersection of fashion and performance, that introduce the audience into the TVDB universe. Through the method of extreme self-portrait, awareness and sensibility for the ‘strange’, the ‘special’, the non-normative, the queer in all of us are created. His ongoing artistic research explores the representation and celebration of non-normative bodies in a myriad of fashion, performance and visual art.

In ‘Act 01: Create a Safe Cocoon’ high-tech bricolage fashion is placed in a framework of a low-tech procession. The catwalk performance explores the exciting tension between wearing and being worn, between carrying and being carried. 7 outfits created out of 7 limited non-normative fashion materials are at the core of this performance and are an exploration of the concept of restriction as a base for experiment and materialisation. 7 is and will always be a magic number.

Where do you see the future of fashion heading?

I’m a hopeful person. Maybe because I saw already quite some black snow in my life, but I always found a way to focus on the light rather than the darkness and the troubles surrounding me. Living myself with a progressive muscle disease, taught me to be adaptable. And there is great comfort, but also opportunity in that.

I think standing still is the biggest threat to anything, to mankind, to the fashion system. I hope and believe the current situation will make us adapt rapidly, and it’s already happening. I think we all experienced now, in a very short amount of time, how valuable and precious slowing down can be.

I also see the digital experience gaining in power, and in many ways this might be even a great evolution.

Going more digital, means there is also more opportunity to approach fashion and clothes in a much more multi-facetted way. Where before all the attention went to the catwalk show that lasted 15 minutes, now we can offer our customers and viewers more opportunities to look at the collection. I saw so many great Instagram Stories and Instagram TV, artists, designers showing their artistic process, creating time to look behind the scenes and clothes, the opportunity to let fashion become performative, through video, apps and more. There is a unique opportunity to go much more in depth and I love that.

I also believe our lack of closeness and contact will evolve into an urge for more tactility. So I don’t fear to wake up in a cold and digitalised world. I believe handwork, crazy tactile experiences and immersive ways to experience fashion are the ways to move towards.


Emma Bruschi

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

The collection is inspired by the Savoyard Almanach which is a calendar and a symbol of rural lifestyle. I’m inspired by all the domestic know-how that has been lost in the last decades. In my research I was able to discover the art of straw weaving which I found very interesting and I like that I will be able to grow my own materials.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your practice?
The mentorship by Mercedes-Benz and Fashion Open Studio helped me develop the agriculture side of my job and think about how to improve my materials. I do not see ecology as a constraint but rather as a driving force for creation and an infinite source of inspiration. I try my best to have control over the materials and the manufacturing: I started planting rye in order to be able to produce my own straw and I collaborate with many artisans whose work I love.

@ emma.bruschi

Maximillian Ritter

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

I worked on a glam rock collection. Music is very dear to me – as a language it is understood by everyone, it captures memories, energy and emotion, and I love rock music. I combined it with the semiotics of the 18th century as rock and the baroque, since they share similarities like being loud, romantic, violent in display, flamboyant and a political definition of the men’s body in fashion. It’s a menswear collection and the rock’n’roll era pointed out a very special mark in men´s fashion. Rockstars wear feminine clothes on stage, which was seen as very masculine in a time when the suit became the ultimate dress code. I used this limitation in “the suit” for menswear and created my own absolutistic version of sexy, energetic and flamboyant men´s fashion.

Where do you see the future of fashion heading?

The meaning of life is flux not stability. Therefore I cannot answer this question, can anyone predict anything anymore? The pandemic affected the masterplan so we need to react to the circumstances. I believe that most people are scared to lose their comfort they are living in, but we need to stop being comfortable and act bravely. The only thing I can foresee is that I will work in fashion because it is what I love and what I want to do in my life.


Xavier Brisoux

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

The collection entitled “Maille Haute-Sculpture” (High Sculpture Knitwear) presents a pantheon of seven goddesses dressed in architectural knits. As I was passionate about Greek Mythology and American comic books in my childhood, I created my own universe enriching it continuously with other references like primitive art, sea depths, Japanese ancient armours, Madame Grès’ pleating work, and H.R Giger’s aesthetics.

Craftsmanship is at the centre of the collection. Each silhouette is a challenge in its realisation. I pushed the technical boundaries as many of the pieces I designed are knitted in one single panel. Each knitted sculpture fleshes out through a yarn, a colour, and a volume of its own. It becomes a poetic entity like a mythological character, a spirit animal, a futuristic fantasy, or an outer space hero. The yarns I used in the collection are mainly made of cotton – a fibre that is both soft to wear but strong enough to support its own weight. Many of the silhouettes are incarnated in their own single colours defining their identity, ranging from neutral colours to autumnal hues to metallic lurex blue.

Where do you see the future of fashion heading?

The world has been forced to rethink its paradigm, and so does fashion. Lockdown has highlighted the lack of resources we have within our own territories. We have realised that being dependant of world traveling supplies is a problem, and it certainly made me understand that it does not make sense not to be able to make a facemask because we cannot get elastic.

So I believe and hope that more local businesses will emerge and that know-hows will grow in all territories in a clever way. That implies that clothes will be more expensive if they are locally made. It means the final customer needs to re-evaluate the value of the clothes they buy. Fashion should aim at making sense once more.


Andrea Grossi

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

The collection I am presenting is a journey through my vision of the future and the present. Inspired by Yuval Noah Arari’s trilogy of books, I try to understand where our society is going and what current solutions I can propose to tackle the problems that all of us have in common today, such as climate change , political instability and how to relate to the new digital civilization.

With a strong aesthetic reference to the videogame world and Japanese manga of the 2000s, welcome to DeusLand is my representation of reality. welcome to DeusLand is my way to let you be part of my world. Through the use of innovative fabrics, traditional processes made by historic leather goods companies and a futuristic design but desirable by the consumer, I try to recreate my version of the future, so as to propose real solutions applicable in the fashion industry. welcome to DeusLand is my way to let you be part of my world.

Where do you see the future of fashion heading?

I believe that the future of fashion is visibly shifting towards a more responsible and aware world. As for the consumer, I believe that the luxury of the next decade will be knowing the product you are going to buy, knowing where it comes from, who made it and how it was made. Big brands will have to satisfy the consumer’s needs also in terms of transparency.

Regarding design, I believe that techniques such as recycling, upcycling and the use of alternative and innovative materials are really the future of fashion. I think we need designers who explore the possibilities of these techniques, such as upcycling, and understand how to offer them to a mainstream audience.

I myself am working on a project in which we propose an innovation on upcycling garments but also on the world in which they are sold and communicated to the consumer. The stores want garments that are all the same obviously, so thanks to digitization, I believe that channels can be developed that directly relate the brand and the consumer so that each brand can propose customized solutions without having to go through the rules of the stores.


Katarzyna Cichy

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

The first elements I think of when imagining clothing are our notions of home. I intend to make clothing which serves as a tool for the body, within our forever changing surroundings. Clothing to accompany us along our adventures, serving as a material artefact, a capsule for immaterial thoughts we hold dear. These articles, be it a talisman, a scarf wrapped tight around the neck or a jacket that protects us from the exterior world, transcend their materials properties.

I was inspired by the adventures and life of Jeanne Baret, the first woman who sailed around the globe with Bougainville. She was a botanist and in order to take part in the expedition, to keep her freedom and pursue her work, she disguised herself as a man for the journey. In oversized jackets and men’s trousers tied around her waist, she sailed the seas and explored the lands, collecting thousands of specimens.

I was inspired by her story for her approach to the masculine and the feminine, for things which she might have seen at sea and organic forms which she may have encountered on land. I imagined clothing which she could have worn, a jacket with large shoulders and deep pockets in which to keep found treasures, small pockets to conceal her most intimate objects. High gloves for her hands, a large hat to keep her out of the sun’s rays, boots to protect her from the tides. This collection is a meeting point of the many contradictory aspects within her life, perhaps of my own and that of other woman as well.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your practice?

Awareness and respect for the environment, for people and for animals is extremely important and an essential value for me. We are living in a time where all around us are changing, where the environment is changing and our approach to design must actively adapt along with this change. Where I source my material, the way I produce them and the artisans whom I have collaborated with are equally important for me.

Most of the fabrics are deadstock fabrics that are sometimes damaged, sometimes cut in particular ways yet recycling them and giving them another life permits them to continue their cycle. I have recuperated discarded threads which were made into knit straps and adorn ceramic vessel bags as well as embroidered on certain garments.

Over the last few months I have been volunteering and developing a working partnership with the Clinamen association on the outskirts of Paris. They are the only urban and sustainable farmers in the area. I assisted them during their sheep shearing in March and participated in sorting and cleaning the wool which I then used in my collection for felted fabric as well as knit. It is the beginning of a long partnership together that I am very excited about.

I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many local artisans and defend craftsmanship in my collection through hats, shoes, gloves and well as for my branding and labels which are made out of recycled seaweed from the Venetian canals.


Timour Desdemoustier

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?


Title of the collection: I SAW MY MOM WATCHING THE NEWS

What I have tried to express with this collection is the concept of vulnerability through migration.

It all started when I saw my mom’s reactions to the evening news broadcast. She was watching a documentary about the migrants’ crisis that Europe has faced for the past few years. More than what was on the television that day, it was her who challenged me, who shocked me the most. It was violent, I did not understand it at first, I was lost, surprised and puzzled.

I am from a multicultural background. My father is Belgian, and my mother is from Morocco. She and her family moved to Belgium when she was seven. Even if I have always known her story, it was not until that moment, that I understood what it means to her, how it has affected her during her entire life. That is what led me to build my project. However, I did not want it to be political, I do not reject the idea, but I think that I just do not have what it takes, I do not have enough in my hands, enough knowledge, maybe also enough experience, now, to bring it that way. It touches me, is has awakened something inside me. What interests me the most, for this project is the journey in itself.

All the stages, the states, the process that we can meet through the idea of migration. From leaving behind, giving up, giving away, bringing with you, carrying, dropping, losing to accumulating, grabbing, taking back or gaining. […]

All those “key words”, those elements became the main structure, the system, the frame on which I built the collection. It is an analysis, a study on how a construction, a structure – a garment (in this case) – can behave. How it can/ will drop, how it can/ will fall, how it can/ will lose or become lose. […].

What happens to a structure when an outside element is added to it or taken out of it. How it influences it. How much it is going to disturb it or calm it down. Also, maybe, more like a wink, a small reference, but which, for me is essential, is that I decided to complete each silhouette with a cap embroidered with a symbol.

Even if the caps were not obvious at the beginning, the badge, the figure that culminates them was undisputable. Worn as a logo – a banner- it represents the tattoo my grandmother had made on her forehead when she was a teenager and was still living in Morocco.

She was born and raised in a small nomad tribe. This tattoo is highly symbolic to her. It does not have a signification on which we can rely on. It only represents her name. It was made as poke dot with a cactus sting and ashes.

So yes, the caps were not obvious at the beginning, but the symbol had to be placed on the forehead.

Where do you see the future of fashion heading?

We have, I have, for a long time been fascinating by the fashion “world”, the fashion industry. In the past few decades, it has become much more global and accessible. It has, also, for a long time been a dream maker, a kind of ideal vision, we all approach and appropriate in our own way. I do not think it has to change, because I find beautiful, interesting and legitimate.

However, it is true, as well as the society we all live in, a lot of challenges have come up. I do not think the fashion” world” dream must change but it must find new means and include more people. We all want to be part of societies, we all want to be included and that is what our generation must do, include everybody and not create a system in which people will not be able to develop their true personality. Fashion must help you to reveal yourself, it must make you feel strong, it must empower you. Fashion is at your service. It must not be thought otherwise.

In term of production, we must think wise. We must not stop to create new designs, new products. It is particularly important to keep on generate new ideas and concepts. However, the way we produce them in term of resources and production (the persons who make them) is not right. It has no sense to overproduce bad quality items that won’t last. We must create items that will stay, that we will keep for a long time. Designing is not about making something that will end up in the trash.


Céline Shen

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

This collection is a mix of various disciplines, clothing design, choreography, 3D, video, made possible thanks to a manual know-how. All the innovation of this item/clothing lies in the design of five innovative lacing systems.

A Celine Shen garment is based on a detachable lacing system, so that each piece can be taken apart and put back together in numerous ways. Each look is composed of fragments allowing to create several silhouettes. A potential for superimposed layers, the better to undo, to liberate oneself. A construction in superposition.

About the fragments:

The fragments are removable pieces that attach to the basic garment thanks to 5 innovative lacing systems deposited and made with artisanal rigor:






Modular, the clothes display a great wealth of silhouette shapes thanks to the artisanal lacing work and a system of independent panels which, when put in association by the performer, can give birth to a multitude of variations to sometimes create a skirt, a coat, a jacket, etc. We go around it, turn around it, turn it around in order to better capture this object and live there according to a gesture that will sign as the performance of the compositions unfolds specific to the will of each being.

As we look at it from various angles, turn it inside out and upside down, we capture the essence of the object; each of us places our own stamp on it according to our own will and movement.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your practice?

My initial collection was made almost entirely of waste fabrics from luxury fashion houses, and they offered very good quality fabrics. With the Mercedes-Benz x Fashion Open Studio Sustainability mentorship, I was able to learn and discover new sustainable fabrics with high quality standards which could be used for my collection while still wisely respecting nature.

Gradually, I used only ecological and upcycled fabrics, trying to find an alchemy between the shape, the cut, and imagining how the person could wear their clothes intimately. I worked step by step by testing different types of fabrics. At the final stage, the collection is made from the following materials: organic cotton, cork, recycled polyester, tencel, papier mâché, viscose, sisal, sustainable leather, vintage second-hand fabric and local fabrics.

Indeed, I try to incorporate sustainability as much as I can into my collections. It begins from the process of creation with the removable system which allows the creation of different silhouettes, made to reduce our personal wardrobe. I also collect items from flea market and I am privileging mostly fabrics coming from France and Europe.

I recycle fabrics or vintage objects that cannot be used anymore to give them a second birth. Sometimes you can be really surprised by what companies are throwing away.

Another point which is really important for me, I try my best to produce my collection with short circuit. It helps small craftsmen to survive the economic situation and of course it reduces the ecological impact of production of my garments. I take into consideration the ethical and environmental aspects.

Marvin M’Toumo

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

I named this collection “Chien Fleur” (Dog Flower). Each of the 8 looks is a “character” responding mainly to insults made to women. In French, animal names are often used to denigrate or insult someone. In this collection, I decided to turn these hurtful words into pride and give women back their dignity and pride by using fashion as a tool for empowerment. I hybridate this vocabulary with the technical vocabulary of the wardrobe and sewing, and incorporated humour to the looks.

Where do you see the future of fashion heading?

I see the future of fashion in a new approach of imagining a business, a brand and a way of producing clothing. For example, recycling can be a way of producing and creating an idea and political tools. It can also be a way to integrate social change in fashion fields. Recycling can became a process that can include customers in other moment than only the selling/purchase of a product (exchange of fabrics, clothes against non virgin fabrics).


Aline Boubert

Can you explain a bit about the collection you are presenting?

The collection talks about the environment in which I live in West-Africa, in Burkina-faso. I was inspired by the animist West African tradition and in particular by the chief of the tradition, who is different according to the tribe. All tribes have different objects and costumes but with some similar characteristics. After some research, I chose some characteristics of each and created my singular chief, like the superheroes that they are – they have power and are very popular in West Africa.

My collection is essentially composed with felt and leather. Made like a kit, it offers different possibilities. Thanks to a nesting system and modular shapes, you can change the colours and the shapes of the outfit like you want and create different styles. Each module is composed by one coloured side and the other side with level of grey. With these different modules you can create different outfit styles and have a wide range of possibilities – like the west traditional chief, you can have the full power.

How do you incorporate sustainability into your practice?

I mostly use recycled fabric and continuously try to find more sustainable fabrics for my work, for example pineapple leather! It’s such a sustainable material and it perfectly fits with the work I do.

Photography by Daragh Soden and Julien Boudet.