london – Saul Nash is on a winning streak. The British Guiana designer was named as the recipient of this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Prize for British Design on Wednesday afternoon, ten days after taking home the 2022 International Woolmark Prize.
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge presented the award to Nash on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony showcasing all of the BFC Foundation’s talent support initiatives, held at the Design Museum in London.
A Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Art alumnus, Nash was recognized for his “innovative take on design” and “developing new materials, while actively pioneering a new frontier within the industry – legacy , imitating sportswear design with an exploration of performance, and technological innovation,” which was nicely demonstrated with their Woolmark Awards capsule collection.
The designer collaborated with Knitwear Lab from the Netherlands on high-tech compression pieces made of merino wool with high tenacity for the capsules. It was shown during London Fashion Week in February as part of the designer’s Fall 2022 collection.
“This week has felt like a dream!” Nash said. “Being recognized in this way is an incredible vote of confidence – it would be for any designer, but I feel especially proud because it is a moment of recognition for games. The focus of my work is always to pursue new possibilities. And the opening has been on, from tackling preconceived notions of sports to attempting to challenge notions of gender norms in men’s clothing.
“It’s important to weave your story into your work, keeping it personal and true to yourself… That’s the ambition – to focus on innovation, community and a conscious practice,” he said.
He is the fifth recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The previous winners were Richard Quinn, Bethany Williams, Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri and Priya Ahluwalia.
Each year since 2018, a designer is selected for the award by the BFC, in collaboration with Royal Household. The award trophy is inspired by The Queen Elizabeth Rose and hand-crafted by Lucy Price at Bauhinia Studio and the Jewelery Quarter in Birmingham.
The British Fashion Council revealed that Nash, who is also a professional choreographer, was selected for her role as “a cultural innovator whose work opens up dialogue around identity, masculinity and class”.
Carolyn Rush, Chief Executive Officer of the British Fashion Council, said: “Nash has a unique way of combining function, technique and tailoring in her design practice resulting in a new take on luxe sportswear. Her work has been in the business of performance and menswear. Explores the relationship between the two and is often showcased through beautiful and show-stopping choreography. We are extremely proud to recognize Saul and look forward to watching his brand grow.”
Her namesake label, launched in 2018, marked her London Fashion Week debut at Lulu Kennedy’s emerging talent support scheme Fashion Week 2020 for three seasons. Under the backing of BFC Newgen, Nash began showing singles last October.
The designs, which fall between luxury, activewear and streetwear, are rooted in their Caribbean heritage and Northeast London upbringing. He often exhibits his designs by himself or in co-choreographed performances, which best demonstrate how they are intended to be moved.
His Fall 2022 collection was presented with a video, set in London’s first West Indies barbershop in Kensall Rise, where Nash felt he really connected with his heritage.
“Making sportswear, it’s always been about getting to where I come from and where I’m going. For me, the most time with my culture was in the barbershop,” he told WWD at the time.
Elements that stood out included a motif of a mermaid, considered a benevolent deity in Caribbean culture; A print of the flag of Guyana waving over a projector, which Nash thinks depicts a lush country landscape and epitomizes a carnival-style festive mood, and sneakers from Nike specifically made from components from Deadstock Made for show with made soles.
Nash is also listed as a semifinalist for last year’s LVMH Award for Young Fashion Designers, and along with 21 other designers was provided funding from this year’s BFC NewGen scheme.
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