FIRST PLACE: Designer Haizhen Wang has been named the winner of this year’s Fashion Fringe competition, following a showcase of Wang and his fellow finalists’ collections at London’s Somerset House Tuesday night. The U.K.-based competition aims to discover and support emerging design talent.
Wang, who showed a dark, edgy collection inspired by Japanese armor and historical costumes, has won business support worth more than 100,000 pounds, or around $162,000 at current exchange, which includes financial backing, business planning advice and a studio at Somerset House for two years.
Burberry's chief creative officer Christopher Bailey was responsible for picking Wang as the winner in his role as Fashion Fringe chair.
“I am so excited about charting the progress of Haizhen; this is only the start of his journey,” said Bailey. “His collection showed an incredible level of originality and craftsmanship. The support and nurturing that Fashion Fringe will provide will give Haizhen a strong framework to continue to really grow as a designer.”
Wang described winning the contest as his “career turning point.” The designer graduated from Central Saint Martins’ women’s wear masters program in 2005, and he’s since worked for labels including MaxMara, All Saints and Boudicca, before he set up his own label in 2010.
Designers Teija Eilola and Vita Gottlieb also showed their collections Tuesday as finalists in the competition.