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Jul 16, 2013
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Han Chul Lee wins the ITS young design talent competition

Jul 16, 2013

This 12th edition of ITS (International Talent Support), the competition for young talents in fashion, accessories and jewelry, took place in Trieste on July 12 and 13. The event confirmed the rising star of Asia in the world of design, as well as the supremacy of British fashion schools the Royal College of Art, London College of Fashion and Central St. Martin’s College of Fashion.

Among the 30 finalists (10 for fashion, 10 for accessories and 10 for jewelry), Asia strongly dominated with many candidates hailing from Japan, China and Korea, but also a first this year with a designer from India. Other first-time ITS finalists included representatives from Ireland, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

A design by Han Chul Lee, winner of ITS' Fashion Collection of the Year

The competition for the fashion category was won by Han Chul Lee (age 35), who presented a strong menswear collection that demonstrated an impressive technical know-how. The South Korean was inspired by the character of Hannibal in the film "Silence of the Lambs" and the Japanese Yakuza gangsters who hide their tattoos underneath impeccable suits.

He offered eight styles combining both elegance and man’s dark, almost animal side, using leather (python, crocodile, etc..) to reproduce the idea of tattoos and abrasions on the skin through ingenious weaves and fabric treatments. After studying design in his home country and working with a Korean brand, Han Chul Lee moved to London, "the global center of design," to resume his studies in menswear at the Royal College of Art. For the designer, “ITS is an incredible opportunity. It's a dream.”

Han Chul Lee

The finalists for the fashion section made a strong impression on the jury, which this year included the new Diesel artistic director, Nicola Formichetti. The debate was very intense on picking a designer, so much so that an additional prize, The Business of Fashion Award, was also created. The prize went to young British designer Chabluk Felix Smith (age 24) of the Royal College of Art for his sumptuous work on the men’s suit reinterpreted through the prism of ancient history. "This year the collections were very accomplished and most of them can be marketed. There is a very high level of creative expertise, but also technical," said Floriane de Saint-Pierre, a member of the jury.

The Chinese Xiao Li also dazzled the judges with a very innovative and original collection for women, winning the coveted Diesel Award. The 25-year-old designer from the city of Qing Dao in northern China dreams of working at Balenciaga. Her collection combined traditional sweater and technical innovation by using silicone to reproduce braided mesh patterns, made into dresses and sweaters in extra-large, rounded volumes.

A design by Xiao Li, who took home the Diesel prize

The accessories prize went to Kahlcke Leonard of Germany for his collection of men's shoes, while competition in the jewelry category was won by the English Lili Colley for her impressive jewelry in geometric shapes and in bright colors. Both winners studied at the London College of Fashion. Also noteworthy were the contributions of two French finalists: Nelly Hoffmann, recent graduate of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, whose collection of streetwear inspired by religious icons was awarded yoox.com award; and Marie Cabirou, graduate of the Institute Français de la Mode, who won in the jewelry category.

ITS is a not-to-be-missed rendezvous of creativity from around the world and a wonderful springboard for new talent. The event was founded twelve years ago by Barbara Franchin and is solely financed through the support of various sponsors such as Diesel, YKK, Swarovski, Swatch, ModAmont and Yoox.

The winners of ITS 2013

Fashion Collection of the Year (€ 15,000): Han Chul Lee (South Korea)
The Business of Fashion award: Felix Chabluk Smith (Great Britain)
Diesel Award (€ 25,000 + six-month internship): Xiao Li (China)
Fashion Special Prize (€ 5,000) Tomohiro Sato (Japan)
Yoox.com Award: Nelly Hoffmann (France)

ITS Award (€ 5,000 ): Leonard Kahlcke (Germany)
YKK Award (€ 10,000): Percy Lau (China)

Swarovski Elements Award (€ 10,000 + six-month internship): Lili Colley (Great Britain)
Swatch Award: (€ 5,000 + collaboration with the brand): Milko Boyarov (Bulgaria)

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