Festival d’Hyères | Finalists of the Mercedes Benz Sustainability Award



The 36th international festival of fashion, photography and fashion accessories took place between the 14 – 17 October at the Villa Noailles in Hyère, south of France. The festival recognized and emphasized for the first-time sustainable efforts, through the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Award. Luxiders introduces you to the 3 most remarkable finalists and the award-winning designer, Sofia Ilmonen.

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Between the 14 – 17 October happened the 36th international festival of fashion, photography, and fashion accessories in Hyères, located in the idyllic south of France. The festival was held at the Villa Noailles: an architectural masterpiece, which has been built in the 1920s for art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles. For 3 days it has been the venue of numerous fashion shows, exhibitions, talks, creative workshops, artistic performances, and prizes, which have been awarded on the last day of the festival to young and promising designers from all over the world. Sustainable efforts were recognized for the first time through the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Award. Luxiders introduces you to the 3 most remarkable finalists and the award-winning designer, Sofia Ilmonen.




Mengche Chiang is graduate of the institut Francais de la Mode. He is an emerging designer, who is originally from Taiwan, but currently based in Paris. The designer depicts in his collection his take on Paris and the question “Poubelle ou belle” (trash or beautiful). For his designs, Mengche Chiang caught the essence of Paris streets and merged it into a collection. His collection consists of artistic, yet trashy upcycled looks made from a versatile range of found and second-hand materials. He is certainly a newcomer to look out for.



The finish designer Venla Elonsalo impressed the jury with her unconventional collection at the festival. Her collection integrates soft toys in high fashion clothing. Her collection was inspired by her childhood soft toy collection, which played a great role in her life. That way, models flounced over the catwalk, while being partially dressed as bears or tigers. Self-evidently, her collection was animal-free and explored the topic of emotional comfort in fashion. Who would have thought that worn soft toys can make one look so gracious?




Elina Silina founded in 2014 the small-scale Latvian clothing label, Kolu. Her label is truly caring for the environment, human and animal rights, which is reflected in her eco-and animal-friendly collection. Her designs are colourful, mixed and matched and confident.  Elina Silina pays special attention to her workforce. She assures that the production process utilizes little energy. Besides, all garments are made out of high-quality vegan materials, thereby demonstrating that the fashion industry does not require mass-production to flourish.



Last but definitely not least on our list is the finnish designer Sofia Ilmonen. Her breathtaking designs consist of in detail constructed geometric shapes, such as square modules, which convinced the jury and made her the winner of the Mercedes-Benz Sustainability Award. For Sofia Ilmonen, craftsmanship and handcrafting is a crucial part of her design ethos, while incorporating ethical and sustainable values.  We love it and are looking forward to seeing the designs with which Sofia will enchant us in the future.




+  Words:
Lissy Reichenbach,
Luxiders Magazine