On 25 November 2021, Flanders DC, in collaboration with Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode, MAD-Home of Creators and Knack / Le Vif Weekend, organised the fourth edition of the Belgian Fashion Awards (BFA 2021) as part of the Fashion Talks 2021 in Antwerp.
The Belgian Fashion Awards, now in their fourth year, were launched with the aim of highlighting the reputation, creativity and diversity of Belgian fashion, both in our country and internationally. Through these awards, we also want to give visibility to those who work behind the scenes and offer a platform to lesser-known names, as well as to emerging talents.
The prizes were awarded in seven categories during the Fashion Talks at the Handelsbeurs in Antwerp. Here are the winners:
This year’s Jury Prize goes to fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck. The international jury praised the Belgian designer for his influential and social contributions that he translates into his designs. His influence extends across generations. ‘Walter Van Beirendonck appeals to an international audience. In particular, his designs give his views on politics, gender, and equality a voice even in Covid times. He was present more than ever before on the international scene in the last two years,’ concluded the jury’s verdict.
The Designer of the Year award goes to the 38-year-old Nicolas di Felice, the new man at French fashion house Courrèges. After graduating from the La Cambre in Brussels, he gained experience under Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton. His first autumn-winter collection was met with international applause. The jury praised him for the ‘unlikely and brave work he has done over the last two years. It’s not easy to take over a fashion house that has a strong imprint and give it your own flair.
Belgian art director, stylist and photographer Benoît Bethume was awarded the Professional of the Year prize. ‘In addition to his creative contribution, he is one of the rare critical voices in the fashion industry,’ the jury said.
A Changemaker from the fashion industry will also be celebrated for the first time. This category was created to give a voice to someone who influences the industry in an innovative way. This honour was given to Resortecs. The young Brussels-based company looks to contribute to a world in need of innovative solutions. They do this by taking an industrial approach to the recycling process, which includes the development of a high-tech easy-to-recycle yarn.
And young fashion designer Meryll Rogge received the Emerging Talent of the Year award because of her aesthetic and challenging way of working. The jury’s decision was unanimous: ‘It’s been a long time since we’ve seen such a success story for someone so young. Not only does she already have a distinct style, she continues to challenge herself.’ In addition to a €5,000 prize, the Fashion & Lace Museum of Brussels is purchasing a silhouette of her for their permanent collection.
Lili Schreiber, who received her master’s degree from the Brussels institute La Cambre earlier this year, is awarded the prize for Promising Graduate.
The Liège fashion brand Imprévu, founded by Justine God in 2016, walked away with the Audience Award for Fashion Brand of the Year.
And finally, fashion label Bernadette wins the UPR award from the eponymous PR and communications agency. They can count on their professional assistance for one year.
This year, the international jury was made up of :
Chris Dercon (BE), President of the Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais in Paris
Giancarlo Angeletti (BE), founder and owner of VIER in Antwerp
Vena Brykalin (UA), Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Ukraine
Serge Carreira, Head of the Emerging Brands Initiative, Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FR)
Eve Demoen (BE), curator of the Modemuseum in Hasselt
Elisa De Wyngaert (BE), curator of the MOMU in Antwerp
Angelo Flaccavento (IT), freelance fashion journalist for Business of Fasion
Catherine Gauthier (BE), curator of the Fashion & Lace Museum in Brussels
Alex Keller (DE), former CEO of Jil Sander, commercial director at Balenciaga and Martin Margiela
Christopher Morency (CAN), editor-in-chief of HighSnobiety
Pascale Mussard (FR), President of the Hyères Festival
Guillaume Steinmetz (FR), founder of The Broken Arm, Paris
Marie-Hélène Vanderborght (BE), journalist at C’est du Belge, RTBF
Christian Wijnants (BE), fashion designer and winner of the BFA Designer of the Year in 2019