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Wang Wins Swiss Textile Award

Godfrey Deeny
November 13th, 2009 @ 00:21 AM - Paris

Alexander Wang has won the 2009 Swiss Textiles Award, making his the second American design house to nab central Europe's most valuable fashion prize.

New York-based Wang beat out a field of six candidates to win the award, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this month at a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 12, in Zurich.

The winner receives a prize of 100,000 euros, or $147,000. It is not paid out in cash, but instead 10,000 euros, or $14,700, is allocated to buy Swiss fabric, with the remainder used to produce and market upcoming collections by Wang.

Wang's other five finalists - Alexis Mabille, Erdem, Ohne Titel, Peter Pilotto and Thakoon - did not go away empty handed, but instead were given a fabric voucher worth 4,000 euros, or $5,880.

Wang follows another fledgling U.S. house in winning the award. The Los-Angeles-based Rodarte team of Kate and Laura Mulleavy were the 2008 winners, the first women to take the top prize.

Besides boosting the Swiss textile industry by acquainting foreign designers with their fabrics, the evening is seen by locals as one night when Zurich becomes a fashion capital.

Previous winners have included Marios Schwab, Haider Ackermann, Raf Simons and Bruno Pieters, several of whom have subsequently achieved key positions in the industry. Raf Simons is now creative director at Jil Sander and Marios Schwab holds the same title at Halston, while Bruno Pieters designs the Hugo collection of Hugo Boss.

The 12-person jury included legendary designer Isabel Toledo; Louis Bompard, Paris-based fashion writer of L'Officiel; Tiziana Cardini, fashion director of Italy's key department store chain Rinascente; Lisa Feldmann, editor-in-chief of Switzerland's leading fashion magazine, and Markus Ebner, founder of Berlin independent fashion title Achtung.

Wang's most recent show, on Sept. 12 in New York, was a highly innovative combination of athletic actively sportswear with nighttime cool. From linebacker shoulders on gray, corset sweatshirt tops, or perforated rugby stripe looks morphed into tunics and hunting raincoats composed as capes it was all about reinventing athletic codes into cool, contemporary fashion.

"I dream more about sport than actually really do it. So this is my sport fantasy," said Wang after staging the critically acclaimed show.

The 33-year-old, San Francisco born Wang is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York. He launched his first full collection of women's wear in 2007. In a meteoric rise, Wang was nominated for the 2008 Council of Fashion Designers of America in Women's Wear and later won the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award.

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