The 28-year-old men’s designer just snagged one of the most prestigious prizes in fashion. WGSN’s Jian DeLeon explains why he absolutely deserves it.
Wataru Tominaga is a relatively unknown menswear designer who won one of fashion’s most prestigious prizes this week—the Première Vision Grand Prize at the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography.
In addition to the €15,000 prize, Tominaga’s winning collection will be shown at the Première Vision shows in New York and Paris, and serve on the jury of the PV awards in September. Winners are also given access to all the Paris shows and the PV’s Trend Tasting seminars for two years after their victory.
Tominaga will also produce a women’s collection with Chanel’s Métiers d’Art to be presented at next year’s festival.
The 28-year-old, who graduated from Central Saint Martins just last year, is already being called “a young Issey Miyake” by Julien Dossena, this year’s jury leader and the creative director of Paco Rabanne, reports WWD. And according to Vogue, Dossena likens Tominaga’s collection to Miyake’s Pleats Please. Other members of the jury included Nicole Phelps of Vogue, shoe designer Pierre Hardy, esteemed art director Marc Ascoli, Barneys New York fashion director Tomoko Ogura, and Candy magazine publisher Luis Venegas.
“My collection is based on my interests in borderline between male and female fashion. I was aiming to achieve mixture style of a neutral, genderless person,” says the designer of his Spring/Summer 2017 line. He primarily studied print design at Saint Martins, and expresses an interest in colour and materials as they relate to gender.
Standout pieces from the collection include bell-bottomed orange-and-white striped pants, oversized seafoam button-downs with white taping, and colorful sleeveless tops that have been creatively heat-seamed and pleated for a crinkled effect. Jumbo corduroy fabric gives track pants a fresh new look, especially when rendered in a bold, vermillion shade.
“I absolutely loved Tominaga’s use of the jumbo corduroy fabric… And the pink cropped trousers with the oversized external binding details were amazing,” says Robbie Sinclair, WGSN’s Womenswear Editor, who attended the festival.
“His approach to design, graphics and colour feel really fresh and modern for menswear.”
“I am not surprised that Tominaga won the Premier Vision Grand prize—his collection embodies all of the creative energy and qualities that makes Hyères Festival so unique and exciting,” adds fellow WGSN Womenswear Editor Laura Yiannakou.
“His experimental use of volume and printed pleats feel playful and fun, enhanced by an eclectic multi-colour palette that uplifts the whole collection. I’d love to see him design some womenswear!”
Tominaga beat nine other candidates for the prize: French womenswear designers Laura Boned and Claura Daguin; Finnish menswear designers Rolf Ekroth and duo Hanne Jurmu and Anton Vartiainen; Japanese womenswear designers Akino Kurosawa and Shohei Kinoshita; and Swedish womenswear designer Amanda Svart. Vogue reports that in addition to a special mention for their ‘70s-inspired menswear collection “pieced together from other people’s cast-offs,” Vartiainen and Jurmu were awarded the festival’s €15,000 Chloé Prize.