Who is Grace Wales Bonner, the British LVMH-prize nominee?
Until recently, the name Grace Wales Bonner wasn't globally known. That all changed when the London-based, British-Jamaican designer was named one of the eight finalists for the LVMH Young Fashion Designers Prize 2016.
So, who is Wales Bonner? She graduated from prestigious British fashion school Central Saint Martins just two years ago, in 2014, winning the L'Oreal Professionnel Talent Award for her graduation collection Africque. Wales Bonner is a part of the Fashion East initiative, and after her first season, she was asked to present her AW15 collection Ebonics at the V&A's at the Fashion in Motion programme.
At last year's British Fashion Awards, Wales Bonner was awarded the Emerging Menswear Designer Prize, perhaps preparing her for the tough competition for the LVMH prize. Her collections use jewellery, embroidery and a hybrid of African craft and couture techniques to look at black male representation.
And the designer is not solely focusing on her fashion craft: in 2015, she performed in the Serpentine Marathon curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and realised the first two volumes of her bi-annual publication, Everythings for Real, with independent publisher Ditto Press.
Recently, Wales Bonner also created stage outfits for artist FKA twigs, which were inspired by black spirituality and which the singer wore on "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon".
For the LVMH Young Fashion Designers Prize 2016, Wales Bonner is up against Finnish designer Tuomas Merikoski; New York-based Matthew Williams; Japanese creative Hiromichi Ochiai, New York designer Brandon Maxwell, French designer Christelle Kocher, Canadian Vejas Kruszewski and Belgian designer Glenn Martens. Regardless of how it goes, we expect to see much more of Wales Bonner very soon.
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