Tom Van Der Borght wins the 35th International Festival Hyères

THOUGH circumstances are unusual, the 35th international Festival Hyéres took place last weekend. Known to be a platform that spotlights the next generation of talent, not just in fashion but also within the photography and luxury accessories industry.

The finalists of this competition were mentored by Mercedes-Benz and Fashion Open Studio on the practise of working but in a sustainable manner. This is an important part of the mentorship as designers must consider the impact of their creations on the environment now more than ever.

The finalists are offered a bespoke array of resources centred around eco-sustainability, where the individual who has taken this on board the most will be supported by Mercedes-Benz throughout next year; as well as being offered a chance to show during Berlin’s Fashion Week during the autumn-winter 2021 showcases.

Remote judging. Photograph: Emile Kirsch 

The jury of the 2020 International Festival Hyères were: Jonathan Anderson, Amanda Harlech, Tim Blanks, Arnaud Valois, Benjamin Bruno, Derek Blasberg, Olivier Lalanne, Kaia Gerber, Michael Gaubert, Olivier Gabet, Ronnie Newhouse, Tyler Mitchell and Christoph Rumpf (the 2019 Grand Prix winner).

The winner of the 2020 grand and public prize at Hyères Festival was Tom Van Der Borght of T.VDB – an artistic fashion studio. Looking at fashion with no gender label attached to thought, the non-binary nature of his clothing is forward-thinking and inclusive.

Not just looking at fashion, Van Der Borght also delves into textiles, graphics, video, installation and scenography to create a brand with more than one angle.

One of the seven looks by Tom Van Borght. Photograph by Daragh Soden

The collection he developed for the competition was a series of seven rituals based on seven parts of his life, blurring the lines between fashion and performance. Through really looking at himself and who he is intrinsically, the collection was a self-portrait that celebrated the non-normative.

Using materials he already had in his own stock as well as repurposing materials used for other things, the entire collection was made by hand by the designer over the course of seven weeks.

Winner Tom Van Der Borght. Photograph: Julien Boudet

Tom Van Der Borght said, “For me it is a dream to collaborate with an iconic symbol like Mercedes-Benz! The sustainability masterclass by Mercedes-Benz and Fashion Open Studio taught me to look deeper into the background of the materials I work with, to have a better understanding of their origin and the environmental aspects of their developments process. Next to that, it encouraged me to work, even more than before, with materials that are considered to be disposable, errors or samples or waste.”

by Imogen Clark