International Talent Support 2012

...giving visibility, support and a voice to young talent from every corner of the earth.

by Mary Hoang
International Talent Support 2012 (ITS), an annual showcase and competition for young designers now in its eleventh edition, culminated in a spectacular weekend event in the most splendid yet serene surrounds of Trieste, Italy. Aside from the lavish landscapes, stunning sites and welcoming ITS hospitality, this event was focussed on bringing the spotlight to emerging design talent from across the globe in the categories of Fashion, Accessories and Jewellery, and with a theme of Good versus Evil.

To begin the weekend, setting the standard for this year’s finalists, was an inspiring visit to the ITS Archive – an ever-growing collection of previous finalists’ works, demonstrating just how imaginative these free-thinking and expressive young designers can be. From the lovingly created portfolios of promising then-graduates, to the 3D skull creations by ITS#FIVE winner and ITS 2012 juror, Aitor Throup, the archive serves as a permanent memento for all the hard work and effort invested into this creative cauldron every year.

Later in the evening was dinner on location at the Salone Degli Incante and the Accessories and Jewellery Vernissage gave the opportunity to review some truly innovative and avant-garde work. Highlights included Kasumi Ashizawa’s exquisite seafood-shaped jewellery, Xiao Zi (Octavia) Yang’s clean-structured Asian joinery-inspired jewellery and Ana Rajcevic’s animalistic facial adornments, which induce wonder and unease at the same time.

In high spirits, dinner discussions amongst ITS guests were lively and full of zest. One of the most insightful chats was with the Avery Dennison RBIS team who, as a new partner of ITS 2012, launched their Brand Innovation Award. Global Creative Director, Tim Voegele-Downing, who sat on the Fashion jury said: “It’s all about telling stories and not just through the collection”. Here he makes a very valid point: many designers are struggling to engage fully in designing their garment labels and packaging alongside the design of their collection, despite this all being part of the same integral story.

Talking about new techniques - such as a flexible heat transferred ink and labels woven in gold - reveals a whole world of branding solutions available to the apparel industry. These branding solutions could give designers the competitive edge required in today’s over-saturated market.

On the day of the ITS final show and awards ceremony, was a chance to interview some of the esteemed jurors including the inspirational woman behind it all, Barbara Franchin (ITS Founder and Director), the insightful Sara Maino (Vogue Italia and Vogue.it), business-minded Marco Grandi (YKK) and previous ITS winners Oliver Ruuger and Shaun Samson; all of whom seemed to have an enjoyable time judging the work of the finalists and some remarked on the difficulties of having such a varied assortment of talent to compare. All this kept the excitement bubbling for the final event which, when it came, was not a disappointment.

With videos, statistics, interactive displays and a two-sided catwalk designed to split good and evil, ITS 2012 came to a grand conclusion with a magnificent catwalk event, showcasing the collections of the Fashion finalists. Highlights included street knitwear by Cherie Newing, 3-D geometric structuring seamlessly integrated into menswear tailoring by Fashion Collection of the Year winner, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Goldenberg’s intricate and beautiful bird dresses, Diesel Award winner, Marius Janusauskas’ romantic fantasy story and Luke Brooks’ vibrantly colourful creations. By the time it came to awarding the winners, it almost felt unnecessary as clearly all finalists at ITS are winners.