This year, impeccable tailoring was celebrated with the creations of Setchu, the Japanese brand founded by Satoshi Kuwata, awarded the 2023 LVMH Prize. A few of the most prominent fashion designers at LVMH were present in the jury: Jonathan Anderson, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Kim Jones, Stella McCartney, Nigo and Silvia Venturini Fendi, as well as Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie and Sidney Toledano.
As for the Karl Lagerfeld Award, this year the jury exceptionally awarded two winners. The first is 36 year-old Luca Magliano, an Italian designer and founder of the men's and unisex ready-to-wear brand Magliano. The other winner is 38 year-old Julie Pelipas, a Ukrainian designer and founder of the upcycling women's ready-to-wear brand Bettter. Both will receive a prize of 150,000 euros as well as a year of mentoring within the LVMH Group.
This is not the first time the French giant has rewarded brands focused on reusing unsold stock. After all, the maison's interest in upcycling has led to the very development of Nona Source in recent years for the sale of stock materials. In this article, in addition to Bettter, we will talk about two other emblematic cases that we particularly like: that of the Swedish brand Rave Review, and that of the better-known Swiss brand Germanier.
After all, the maison's interest in upcycling has led to the very development of Nona Source in recent years for the sale of stock materials.
Created in 2019, Bettter is an innovation label that places upcycling at the heart of creation. Its creator, Julie Pelipas, is a well-established fashion personality, particularly in Ukraine, where she is from: she notably took part in the creation of the Ukrainian editions of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Her label is revolutionary in many ways, starting with an important point: with Bettter, Julie Pelipas did not want to create her own brand, but rather to solve the problem of the fashion industry's inaction in the face of the climate emergency. As a result, no garment is created from scratch; each piece is made from existing garments. In an interview with Numéro, the designer describes her process: "everything is upcycled, and each piece has a passport that traces its manufacturing process, including where and how it was sourced, produced and sold. It's important to keep in mind that this approach is far from conventional". In addition to being a brand, Bettter defines itself as a true ecosystem that is also aimed at companies: it is a business-to-business body, which enables luxury brands to reuse their dormant stock to achieve circular, high-end co-brandings.
"Everything is upcycled, and each piece has a passport that traces its manufacturing process, including where and how it was sourced, produced and sold. It's important to keep in mind that this approach is far from conventional" - Julie Pelipas
Despite LVMH's positive welcome to the young Ukrainian label, Julie Pelipas says that the viability of the project was the subject of many doubts in its early days. For her, this is due to the fact that the objectives of Bettter cannot be imagined on the short term: priority is given to creating things that are truly different. According to Pelipas, "it's a project that requires you to invest a lot of yourself, your time, your brain and your energy".
In 2023, Julie Pelipas was awarded one of two Karl Lagerfeld prizes for her label Bettter. She will receive an endowment of 150,000 euros, as well as a full year of mentoring by dedicated LVMH teams.
This isn't the first time that the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers has honored creators using upcycling techniques. In 2020, the Swedish label Rave Review reached the semi-finals, with an upcycled collection made from home textiles. The brand was founded by Josephine Bergqvist and Livia Schück, whose friendship began on the benches of Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm. In much the same way as Bettter, their initiative stems from a desire to bring about tangible change in the industry, and from a shared excitement at having found a way to create that respects their common convictions. They thus set themselves apart by using only second-hand materials, such as garments and bed sheets. While browsing for their textile supply, Bergqvist and Schück break the codes of the classic Scandinavian wardrobe by inventing colorful, 90s-inspired pieces that honor their sustainable commitment. In the remake segment, Rave Review has succeeded in a difficult challenge: creating high-end collections from existing textiles. In their interview for Metal Magazine, the two designers declare "most people know that working sustainably is the future (…) now, partly thanks to us, it's proven that fashion can be both sustainable and high-end. However, it's not cheap. But it wouldn't hurt people to learn that they don't need to buy new clothes every week". The brand made it all the way to Stockholm and Paris Fashion Weeks, where it was very well received.
“Fashion can be both sustainable and high-end. However, it's not cheap” - Rave Review
Rave Review reached the semi-finals of the LVMH Prize in 2020.
Last but not least, we can mention the brand Germanier, whose artistic direction is managed by Swiss designer Kevin Germanier. As semi-finalist in the 2019 LVMH Prize, the brand is known for its glamorous, eccentric aesthetic, whimsical collections and, above all, its use of pearls and sequins destined to be discarded. In an interview given to Vanity Fair, he confides: "their quantity is so numerous on a garment, that their defects are not really noticeable". After completing his studies at London's famous Central Saint Martins, he moved on to Louis Vuitton, before launching his eponymous label in 2018. When describing his interest in sustainable fashion, the designer recalls his youth: "When I was a student, I didn't have much money. I used to create clothes from old sheets and beads destined for the garbage bin to cut costs. That's how I realized the potential of sustainable fashion". In just a few years, Kevin Germanier has established himself as a true master of upcycling, to the point where he has caught the eye of LVMH's top designers. What's more, his creations have been recognized worldwide: the designer received the Redress Award in 2015 (see our article about upcycling in Asia), was named one of the 30 Under 30 by Forbes in 2019, and joined Paris Fashion Week in 2022. All the more reason to showcase upcycling and responsible fashion.
"When I was a student, I didn't have much money. I used to create clothes from old sheets and beads destined for the garbage bin to cut costs. That's how I realized the potential of sustainable fashion" - Kevin Germanier
Germanier reached the semi-finals of the LVMH Prize in 2019.
For the past few years, LVMH has shown numerous efforts towards sustainability, notably with their LIFE360 program, which details viable solutions for a more sustainable future. While we will only see the result of this program progressively, the LVMH Prize remains a good platform to bring light on the designers shaping the future of fashion. It seems upcycling has a great role to play in this future, and we are excited to see how LVMH brands will support young sustainable brands.