Fida, the global online prize for the promotion of fashion illustration and design, announced this weekend its 2021 winners selected from nearly 1,000 entries from 101 countries. A shortlist of 100 artists was communicated in mid-March, a quarter of whom became a finalist. The contest judges were led by Fida brand ambassadors, Nuno da Costa, fashion illustrator for Vogue Portugal, and Francesco Lo Iacono, London-based fashion illustrator who reports on fashion week for Official. They were joined on the panel by industry professionals, Marcos Batuecas from Lacoste, Lucy Lyon from Tom Ford, Antonio Colomboni from Toilet paper magazine and Fraser Clark from Wallpaper*, with renowned illustrators, Chris Gambrell, Tina Berning and Clement Louis.
Patrick Morgan, founder of Fida, updated the winners via Instagram instead of at a sparkling party at a luxury London hotel, which helped celebrate the winners in the pre-pandemic years. FashionUnited spoke with Morgan to get his thoughts on this year’s submissions and the return of fashion illustration to the industry dialogue despite the hardships the pandemic has inflicted.
The criteria are very simple. Is the job interesting and does the job have something new to say? Is there a good understanding of the design, composition, mark making, quality of the end result and technique? Is the work relevant to today’s world? And does it look fresh? Did it capture your gaze and your imagination, making you stop to watch?
Everything was very tight this year because the level of submission was very high, with a range of different techniques and approaches to portray the image of fashion. We have already had clear winners in some categories, but the selection of the winner may involve a bit of debate at the end.
Judge, Francesco Lo Iacono: I have had the honor of being an Fida Ambassador from the very beginning and I am more than happy and proud to see how fashion illustrators continue to create such powerful images. Fida is pushing fashion artists around the world to rethink the impact of illustration inside and outside the fashion industry. I can see the time, research, hard work and creativity behind every entry. Fida celebrates not only the winners, but all those who continue to challenge fashion illustration and its possibilities.
Morgan: I think this statement really captures the essence of the Fida Awards. Fida opens the discussion to a new dialogue with the creation of fashion images through drawing and painting. We want him to be re-understood in a new capacity, to have deeper critical thinking. Through the introduction of the Fidas Monthly Discussions, we hope to re-educate the industry and move it to a new space where the commercial / artistic market really looks at work through a deeper lens. Fashion illustration is not a supplement to the process but an integral part of the brand vibe or mood of a designer collection.
Fida has created a real honest community of fashion designers who are now part of a big family. We love to see the growth and some of the artists, since they came in or won, have really evolved into something much bigger, which is fantastic. La Fida is building new spaces and platforms to help fashion artists have more control over their vision through organized portfolios featured on our members’ website.
In January, Fida released The Fible, a luxury book showcasing 2021’s growing talent for brands, businesses and fashion enthusiasts to browse while looking for inspiration or for artists to commission.
Each year there are four category winners and one overall winner. The Cover Award which reinvents a magazine cover went to the poetic and pictorial imagination of a Official cover by Martina Cambrini; the Moment Award, which rewards an artist’s ability to create a work that resonates and captures our collective imagination, went to Manon Cardin. The Icon Award celebrating a figure who changed the industry was won by Seungwon Hong for his painting by Karl Lagerfeld displaying dynamic brushwork. The Muse Prize recognizes the special relationship between designers and those who inspire them, and the unanimous winner in this category was Carmen Vega Ruigmez for her painting of Adut Akeche. This year’s winner, who got the most votes by far, revealed Morgan, and whose piece really stood out for its interesting composition and line art was Manon Cardin.
Featured works by Fida: Header, Carmen Vega Ruigmez, followed in order by Manon Cardin, Seungwon Hong, Martina Cabrini
Fashion editor Jackie Mallon is also an educator and author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.
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