Unveiling the four nominees

The Wessel & Vett Foundation is delighted to announce the finalists for this year’s Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize: Birrot by Kyeongmin Kim and Seyoung Hong, Iso.Poetism by Tobias Birk Nielsen, Nicklas Skovgaard and Sophia Khaled.

The four designers are:

- Birrot by Kyeongmin Kim and Seyoung Hong
- Iso.Poetism by Tobias Birk Nielsen,
- Nicklas Skovgaard
- Sophia Khaled

Each finalist will present a collection and their business plan to the jury of Danish and international fashion industry leaders in Copenhagen on November 9th.

The winner takes home an honorary grant of 500.000 DKK ($73,000).

The four finalists have been selected by a panel of experts, assessing entries based on design talent, business entrepreneurship and sustainability credentials.

The Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize is a Danish competition open to emerging designers and brands based in the country, but its scope is international, conceived to promote prize winners both at home and globally. Previous winners include Cecilie Bahnsen, Anne Sofie Madsen and Mark Kenly Domino Tan.

“The past few years have shown us how upstart young brands can energise and transform the Danish fashion industry. With the Prize our goal is to discover and promote the brightest and best new Danish designers. Our mission has a global outlook – we want to help put these brands on the map internationally. We also want to support them them to build businesses that can withstand the shocks and tremors of the changing fashion industry. This year’s line-up is exceedingly strong. It’s a tough competition. I wish every success to all the incredible 2022 finalists and the eventual winner.”

– Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg, founder, Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize

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  • Publish date
    05. October 2022
    Category
    Interview

    Q&A with Sophia Khaled

    Having been creative for as long as she remembers, Sophia Khaled now designs quirky hand-made knitwear with imagery and storytelling that leaves the wearer with memories of childhood.

    Sophia Khaled

    What convinced you to start your own brand?

    I can’t see myself doing anything else. I love the learning that comes with being my own boss and being responsible for everything myself. It's a wildly exciting journey that I hope to be able to continue.

    What qualities are found in your designs, and what characterises your style?

    I believe one of my forces lies in my storytelling through my choice of colors and motives. I wish to capture the melancholy and naiveté of childhood so as to make people dream and feel welcome in my universe. At the same time, I wish to make room for a certain darkness because my designs are also for those who do not necessarily feel that they fit in.

    What makes you stand out from the crowd in 2022?

    To me the process of developing my own visual universe and language is hugely important. And I really love fashion as a medium, and also the history of fashion, which means that I am in control of my references and have a good understanding of the shoulders I stand on. What I am trying to create in my clothes is a balance between art and storytelling that is easy to understand and use.

    What is the most important knowledge you have gained so far in 2022?

    That I can’t manage it all on my own and how beautiful it is to develop ideas with like-minded people. And that everything you do, even when you make mistakes, contains learning. I now understand this in the core of my being, which makes me increasingly confident as a designer.

    How do you think your mentor can help you to develop as a brand – and potentially win the Prize?

    I hope a mentor will pose the critical questions that will help me become wiser when it comes to myself and my work. It is always great when people take an outside view at your work with a fresh set of eyes.

  • Publish date
    29. August 2022
    Category
    Interview

    Q&A with Nicklas Skovgaard

    Nicklas Skovgaard grew up on the island of Thurø and developed an early love for fashion and design. Working on an old-fashioned loom, he creates two made-to-order collections per year.

    Nicklas Skovgaard

    What convinced you to start your own brand?

    After being confronted with unhealthy levels of stress from my previous job, I had an urge to use my hands and create something myself. I bought a rigid heddle loom from a sweet old lady and slowly began weaving. Quickly developing my skills on the loom and shaping my vision, I started considering how these textiles could be made into clothes.

    What qualities are found in your designs, and what characterises your style?

    Each and every garment is made by me in my studio, it has been touched and evaluated by hand. It’s very personal in a way. I find that the pieces I am most satisfied with contain a duality of traditional beauty and a sense of distortion, almost like there is a question hidden in the design.

    What makes you stand out from the crowd in 2022?

    The potential and the limitations of working with hand-woven textiles is a big part of what makes my designs stand out. The material and its possibilities plays a big part in how my ideas take shape. The fact that I am able to offer my customers designs all made-to-order locally in Copenhagen is another big point to me. It’s all out of love for the historical perspective on what we wear, design and traditional craft, but also a dream to create while staying true to my own aesthetics.

    What is the most important knowledge you have gained so far in 2022?

    This year I thought a lot about being more open to working with my intuition as a designer. Whether it’s about sticking to an initial idea, or going an other direction, in terms of design as well as the business, it’s important to me to not be afraid of my own intuition. Everything I have accomplished so far as a brand has relied on being open to the opportunities that present themselves as I go along with what I believe in and what I am driven by.

  • Publish date
    22. August 2022
    Category
    Interview

    Q&A with Tobias Birk Nielsen

    Based in Copenhagen, Tobias Birk Nielsen utilizes his creativity in a deeply personal manner to churn out rugged menswear designs looking like guerrilla uniforms for sci-fi warfare.

    Tobias Birk Nielsen

    What convinced you to start your own brand?

    I worked an internship where I gave it my all every day. What I learned is that the way I use creativity is deeply rooted in my emotions and life experiences. This was the foundation for creating my own platform where artifacts and multidisciplinary design can be used to communicate emotional topics people can relate to through their own life stories.

    What qualities are found in your designs, and what characterises your style?

    Honesty and dialogue are some of the key qualities, and what characterises the style is a well-defined DNA and a very conceptual uncompromisingness.

    What makes you stand out from the crowd in 2022?

    We believe that garments should carry more than just aesthetics and function, but also a plan, a purpose, as well as a justification for being in a market that already has billions of products. We aim to stand out by being a brand with a clear holistic purpose of connecting people through emotional design.

    How do you think your mentor can help you to develop as a brand – and potentially win the Prize?

    I don’t have a natural desire and knowledge of sales and business strategies, marketing and so on. Therefore it’s crucial to taking the next step in growing international and ambitious projects, and to get qualified feedback and input.

    How do you consider sustainability in your collections?

    We work with 60-100% recycled textiles and have our manufacturing in Italy where our man on the ground oversees our CSR matters, our dyeing techniques and high demands of quality control. Not only are the bags, hangtags, labels and such sustainable, but all the communication around the product has to be as well. This means that our lookbooks, showroom and show sets are made from materials already on hand.

  • Publish date
    15. August 2022
    Category
    Interview

    Q&A with Birrot

    Sey and Min are both from Seoul, Korea, and first met in London in 2011. Their Birrot womenswear brand reflects their mutual passion for simple, cool silhouettes and quality materials.

    Birrot

    What convinced you to start your own brand?

    We both felt a strong urge to act on our dream of starting our own brand and bring our designs to life. Based in Copenhagen, we started off with two sewing machines and a strong mutual bond over the design style that has since defined Birrot.

    What qualities are found in your designs, and what characterises your style?

    Interpretations of Scandinavian minimalism combined with traditional Korean silhouettes and carefully sourced and crafted materials. We aspire to create garments that will grow to be someone’s daily favorite go-to item, whether they are getting dressed for a dog walk or a night out with the ladies.

    What is the most important knowledge you have gained so far in 2022?

    We learned that to stay true to our design philosophy is the way forward for us. We love what we do because every garment is a reflection of what we love about womenswear, and staying true to our brand’s soul is a key factor in our continued progress.

    How do you think your mentor can help you to develop as a brand – and potentially win the Prize?

    We hope to gain knowledge from a mentor on the business of fashion. We’re caught up in our passion of designing items, but running a growing business is an area where we have room to improve.

    How do you consider sustainability in your collections?

    We believe that sustainability in fashion is a matter of creating garments that someone will wear forever and won’t tear or fade and will keep its shape. Our production takes place in Seoul, where we are on a first name basis with the tailors and seamstresses, and where we apply zero waste production methods to ensure that no fabric goes to waste.

  • Publish date
    08. August 2022
    Category
    Press release

    Empowering fashion talent since 2012

    For 2022, the Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize becomes the new name for the award formerly known as the Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize.

    The Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize is also delighted to announce a significant expansion with the launch of a strategic partnership with Copenhagen Fashion Week. The collaboration is a testament to both the Prize and CFW’s dedication to nurturing Danish design talent for success at home and internationally.

    The Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize is the Nordic region’s most prestigious and influential fashion prize – supported by Crown Princess Mary and top international fashion brands and creatives. Over the past decade we have awarded prizes and mentorships to young upstarts who have gone on to become some of the region’s brightest stars, from Anne Sofie Madsen to Cecilie Bahnsen.

    This year we mark the Prize’s tenth anniversary with a new top prize of 500,000 DKK ($73,000). Awarded by Crown Princess Mary in Copenhagen in November 2022, this is the biggest talent prize in the region.

    For 2022, we are reformatting and expanding our mentorship programme for finalists. A mentorship advisory board of top industry figures has been formed, including GANNI co-founder Nicolaj Reffstrup, Anne-Sofie Møller & Sophie Bille Brahe, CEO and creative director of Sophie Bille Brahe, creative director Silas Adler from Soulland and Rebekka Bay, the visionary COS creator and Marimekko creative director.

    Additionally, the Wessel & Vett Foundation doubles down on its mission to grow young brands into viable businesses with a commitment to making direct investments in finalist brands which are judged to benefit from investment. The advisory board will meet after judging in November to consider whether any of the finalist brands would be a fit for investment from the Foundation.

    “Ten years ago, we founded the prize to support homegrown Danish fashion design.We are unbelievably proud of our past winners and finalists. This year we are taking the opportunity of the ten-year anniversary to reformat and recalibrate the prize, recognising that the future of fashion is changing. More and more is demanded of young designers today as they enter a challenging industry in the midst of reinvention.”

    – Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg, founder, Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize

    “I am incredibly happy that at Copenhagen Fashion Week we are formalising our collaboration with the Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize. Young talent is the lifeblood of the Danish fashion industry and at CPHFW we are dedicated to grow our support of up-and- coming designers. I hope that the prize will be an opportunity for designers to build their brands and get exposure to a global audience.”

    – Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week

Meet our nominees

Our carefully selected list of designers for this year's prize represents what we believe to be the pinnacle of emerging fashion talents – the names that can carry on the proud tradition of successful design beyond our borders and into the future.

The Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize is Scandinavia’s most prestigious award for fashion design. The Prize was established by the Wessel & Vett Foundation in 2012 as an expression of its core values: entrepreneurship and creativity. The Prize reflects the Foundation’s commitment to nurturing Danish design talent and building on the heritage of Magasin as a historical fashion institution.

This year, the 10th anniversary, the finalists will be unveiled on August 9th at the opening event of Copenhagen Fashion Week. Final judging by the jury takes place on November 9th 2022.

The recipient of the main prize of 500,000 DKK ($73,000) will be chosen by members of the jury, who will be looking at participants’ portfolios for sustainability and ethical responsibility, business ideas, innovation and originality of design. All finalists each receive a scholarship of 10,000 DKK.

The support is not limited to financial: finalists will also receive mentoring from a network of industry experts, advising on sales, production, PR, and business development.

The Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize is organised by the Wessel & Vett Foundation as the next step in its commitment to nurturing Danish design talent. The Wessel & Vett Foundation was created by the descendants of department store Magasin’s founders, Emil Vett and Theodor Wessel. The foundation is incorporated and independent of Magasin, but primarily supports activities related to the department store, it's history, and descendants.

Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg is the initiator of Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize. She also holds the role as CEO for the international auction house Sotheby's Danish division, as well as chair at Niels Wessel Bagges Foundation and board member at Wessel & Vett Foundation.

Meet our mentors

As a passionate creative, it's easy to forget about the nitty gritty of actually running a viable business and dealing with budgets, marketing and production processes. This is where our 4-strong panel of mentors come in – to guide the selected designers as they embark on the next steps of their fashion journeys.

Meet our jury members

  • Andreas Murkudis

    Andreas Murkudis opened the Berlin concept store that bears his name in 2003. Hailed by i-D magazine as “Berlin’s coolest concept store” he is world-renowned for his trailblazing and eye-opening take on fashion and culture.

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    andreasmurkudis.com
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    @andreasmurkudis
    Andreas Murkudis
  • Bengt Thornefors

    Spotting an open niche in the market, Bengt Thornefors of Magniberg has revamped the idea of bedlinen. To the jury table he brings many years of fashion business know-how and start-up savvy.

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    magniberg.com
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    @magnibergofficial
    Bengt Thornefors
  • Carla Christine Bruus Aagaard-Strube

    A long-time fashion journalist, Carla Christine is the editorial head of the Fashion Forum website. Previously, she has worked with fashion magazines IN and Costume and adds her extensive knowledge to the jury team.

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    fashionforum.dk
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    @carlachristines
    Carla Christine Bruus Aagaard-Strube
  • Cecilie Thorsmark

    Cecilie Thorsmark is the CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week. In January 2020, Thorsmark launched the ambitious three-year action plan “Reinventing Copenhagen Fashion Week” presenting an innovative system of minimum sustainability requirements for brands on the official schedule.

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    copenhagenfashionweek.com
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    @ceciliethorsmark
    Cecilie Thorsmark
  • Christopher Morency

    Coming from an editor position with Highsnobriety, fashion journalist Christopher Morency was appointed to his current job with Hungary-based Vanguards earlier this year, in order to help the firm expand the brand beyond clothes.

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    @aardrijkskunde
    Christopher Morency
  • Eszter Áron

    Hailing from a fashion family, Eszter Áron grew up in the business. Her grandfather was a tailor, her mother a textile trader. Her aim to dress like-minded women came to fruition with the launch of AERON in 2012.

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    aeron.com
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    @aeronstudio
    Eszter Áron
  • Jonathan Hirschfeld

    As one half of the Swedish fashion brand Eytys, Jonathan Hirschfeld started out by breaking boundaries in unisex footwear design. The brand has since progressed to include jeans and ready-to-wear.

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    eytys.com
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    @hrschfld
    Jonathan Hirschfeld
  • Kristoffer Dahy Ernst

    An experienced journalist and editor, Kristoffer Dahy Ernst knows his way around media, business communication and how to get a message across. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the leading Danish magazine Euroman.

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    euroman.dk
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    @dahyernst
    Kristoffer Dahy Ernst
  • Malene Malling

    malene-malling

    A powerhouse of Danish fashion, Malene Malling has been the publisher of lifestyle magazines like Cover and Horse Rider's Journal. Now she directs her own brand of casual luxury womenswear.

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    labagatelle.dk
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    @malenemalling
    Malene Malling
  • Moussa Mchangama

    Moussa Mchangama is a seasoned editor, concept developer and strategic communicator. His consultancy In Futurum works with media and international brands in the fields of lifestyle, culture and sustainability.

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    infuturum.dk
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    @moussamchangama
    Moussa Mchangama
  • Natalie Theodosi

    natalie-theodosi

    With years of working in lifestyle journalism for some of the hottest fashion publications like WWD, Suitcase and Vogue Arabia, Natalie Theodosi comes to the jury table with a clear vision of what it takes to get a brand name out there and get noticed.

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    natalietheodosi.com
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    @natalietheodosi
    Natalie Theodosi
  • Nicolaj Reffstrup

    Nicolaj Reffstrup is one half of the husband-and-wife team behind the wildly popular Copenhagen cool-girl brand Ganni. Nicolaj’s background in IT comes to play in his daily work with Ganni's tech and responsibility matters, while his wife Ditte designs the collections.

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    ganni.com
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    @ganni
    Nicolaj Reffstrup
  • Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg

    One of Denmark's most influential behind the scenes players in art and fashion, Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg is head of Sotheby’s Denmark, a board member of the Wessel & Vett Foundation, and the initiator of the Wessel & Vett Fashion Prize.

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    @ninawedell
    Nina Wedell-Wedellsborg
  • Rebekka Bay

    Known for her ability to combine creative and commercial thinking, Rebekka Bay is the Creative Director of the Finnish brand Marimekko and brings her considerable industry experience and insight to the jury table.

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    marimekko.com
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    @marimekko
    Rebekka Bay
  • Saam Emme

    247 isn't your typical fashion company. Based in Milan and Paris, it's a showroom, a brand collaborator and investor. As Fashion Director, Saam Emme is a the forefront of breakout fashion with a clear view of what it takes to make it in the market.

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    247.it
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    @infinitealterity
    Saam Emme
  • Silas Oda Adler

    Silas Adler is the creative director, designer and founder of the Danish lifestyle brand Soulland. He is passionate about skateboarding as well. Adler founded Soulland as a small T-shirt brand in 2002. Today, the brand is distributed globally.

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    soulland.com
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    @silasadler
    Silas Oda Adler
  • Tommy Ahlers

    Businessman Tommy Ahlers comes to the jury with deep experience in world of investing and entrepreneurship, along with everything he learned about politics and compromise at his former government position.

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    @tommyahlers
    Tommy Ahlers