Make it last took a trip to London to see what went down as this year’s winner was announced.

Last Wednesday saw the grand finale of H&M Design Award, a competition celebrating young design talent from some of the most prominent fashion schools in the world. Now in its fifth year running, the award collects a jury of fashion heavyweights including STYLE.COM Fashion Director Yasmin Sewell and Imran Amed of B0F to select the winner, this year shortlisted from over 500 applicants. The prize? H&M mentoring, a hefty cash cheque and the opportunity to design a capsule collection for the retailer to be sold in selected stores. Make it last took a trip to Oxford Circus on the award night to browse the finalists collections and have a chat to the lucky winner.

“I think this competition holds a very high standard, design wise”, H&M’s renowned creative advisor, Margareta van den Bosch, enthused whist snapping pictures with her iPhone. Exciting and sometimes unexpected pairings of materials, textures and prints were a recurring theme in the eight finalists’ designs – and their deep creativity showed throughout the clothing, accessories and imagery, as well as the many conscious efforts that went beyond the choice of fabrics.

Highlights were Israel-based Amir Marc‘s navy-inspired garments and shoes: cleverly inflatable to adjust to different body shapes; British Constance Blackaller’s quilt-heavy constructions referencing traditional dress from Africa and Asia, partly derived from vintage pieces; and the jumpsuits and trousers by Institut Francais de la Mode-schooled YuTyng Chiu, designed to be worn in different ways with the modern woman in mind.

H&M Design Award Jury

hmda17-finalists-72dpiH&M Design Award finalists

Taking home the award was South Londoner Richard Quinn, who entered the competition with his MA graduate collection from Central Saint Martins (which has already been featured in Dazed, iD and Wonderland; and shot by Juergen Teller). Of Quinn’s work H&M’s Creative Advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson said: “We all fell in love with Richard. He has a clear vision for his brand, and a real wow factor in his collections. Richard is deeply creative, with a very holistic view of the environment, and he’s a worthy winner of the H&M Design Award 2017.”

Previously referred to as the “print master that fashion needs”, Quinn and his maximal, 60s inspired couture pieces entice by giving bold floral prints and hyper-feminine shapes a dark and slightly obscure twist. When asked about his approach to sustainability, he exclaimed “I don’t know how anyone can not work sustainably these days!” – all his designs are ethically produced in London from environmentally sound materials (including the home-blended patent shine solution used for his statement heels) and completely free from animal derivatives. On winning the competition, Quinn told American Vogue he was ecstatic, and that he wants to use his prize money towards setting up a creative hub to support other young British designers, alongside developing his own collections.

Quinn’s striking garments and easy-going attitude makes him appear invincible – and we can’t wait to see the collection he will put together with the team from H&M for this time next year!

Find more images from H&M Design Award 2017 and Richard Quinn’s work here.

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