2021 Andam Fashion Awards: French-Moroccan label Aswad wins prestigious accessories prize

The brand, helmed by Sonia Ahmimou, has been awarded €50,000 and a year of mentorship

French-Moroccan label Aswad has scooped the prestigious Accessories Prize at the Andam Fashion Award, netting a one-year mentorship and €50,000 ($59,000).

The accessories brand, helmed by designer Sonia Ahmimou, is known for its luxurious leather pieces, such as expertly crafted satchels and butter-soft totes.

Aswad beat out finalists Published By, an Austrian label, and Samuel Francois, a French jewellery designer, for the prize, which was announced on Thursday.

The label, which was founded in Paris in 2015, will receive a year's worth of mentorship from Giovanna Engelbert, fashion editor and creative director at Swarovski, as well as the monetary prize.

"This year’s Accessories Prize winner, Aswad, has a unique voice, viewpoint and sense of wonder that we can’t wait to support and nurture over the next year of mentorship," said Engelbert.

As part of the award, Aswad will receive access to members of the Swarovski team in order to support the development of the brand.

The label, which was launched by Ahmimou after stints working with Louis Vuitton and Hermes, describes its aesthetic as "located at the crossroads of Moroccan and French craftsmanship".

"We aspire to make functional, aesthetic, handcrafted pieces with a contemporary take on artisanal practices," Aswad's website states.

The Andam Fashion Award was created in 1989 by Nathalie Dufour as a joint venture between the French Ministry of Culture and fashion organisation Deli Mode in an effort to help nurture young talent from Europe.

This year's 32-member-strong jury included author and actress Lou Doillon, Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean-Raymond, designer Phoebe Philo and Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter.

The 2021 grand prize – along with €300,000 and mentorship from Cedric Charbit, chief executive of Balenciaga – went to British designer Bianca Saunders.

The menswear label beat out finalists including Casablanca, by French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer, unisex brand Ludovic de Saint Sernin and British brand Wales Bonner for the night's big prize.

Egonlab, a French genderless label, won the third award for 2021, the Pierre Berge prize, which comes with €100,000 and mentorship from Sophie Delafontaine, artistic director of Longchamp.

Past winners of the awards' Grand Prize include Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf and Jeremy Scott.

Updated: July 4th 2021, 7:23 AM
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