On Sunday, Belgian designer Tom Van Der Borght won the Première Vision Grand Prize at the 35th edition of the Hyères International Festival of Fashion and Photography, impressing a jury headed by designer Jonathan Anderson, founder of JW Anderson and creative director of Loewe. So who is fashion's newest name to know?
HIS BEGINNINGS A Bilzen-native, 42-year-old Tom Van Der Borght used to be a social worker, before launching his career in fashion in his 30s. As a child, Van Der Borght recalls that he was always fascinated by the colourful works of The Antwerp Six, and grew up in a house full of fabrics, needles and threads (his mother is a couture teacher). In 2012, he graduated from the Stedelijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Sint-Niklaas, a prestigious fashion school based between Antwerp and Ghent, and launched his menswear label TVDB a year later. Van Der Borght likes to say that he is a multi-disciplinary artist; this year, he got a Master’s degree in Performance Arts from Toneelacademie in Maastricht.
HIS STYLE DNA “TVDB creates menswear that’s not necessarily made for men; it’s street couture, it’s haute trash, it’s too artistic to be fashion, it’s too much fashion to be art. I think a signature TVDB look always questions wearability and normativity”, says Van Der Borght, who considers himself as an outsider in the fashion industry. His arty silhouettes are expressive, full of details and often resemble sculptures. He likes to play with texture and form, and often experiments with materials. His most recent collection, entitled “Seven Ways to Be TVDB,” is made out of recycled climbing cable ties, bright plastic colour cords and experimental knitwear (a mix of dead stock merino wool, transparent acrylic and Lurex).
HIS INSPIRATIONS Van Der Borght is a fan of Björk and would love to make stage costumes for her one day. “I think I’m like a ‘hunter’ that Björk sings about in her album Homogenic, a species that’s always on a quest, on a search for something new, fresh, exciting, unexpected," he says. Fashion visionaries Iris van Herpen, Craig Green, Viktor & Rolf and Walter von Beirendonck are also among his style icons.
HIS FASHION TRIUMPH At the 35th edition of Hyères International Festival for emerging designers, Tom Van Der Borght received not only the main prize, the Grand Prix Première Vision from the jury, but also the Public Prize (a democratic tradition where the locals vote). “What we really, really admired in the work of Tom Van Der Borght is that it was a totally new type of form, new type of shape, new type of commitment to a silhouette and it was uncompromisable,” said Jonathan Anderson. “In this moment we are in, we as a jury believe that it was about starting this new decade with newness, this idea of originality. It was not about looking at something for its automatic commercial sense. It was about the beauty within fashion, the handmade, the technique, and the risk in it”.
WHERE YOU'LL SEE HIM Van Der Borght's one-of-a-kind creations are already sold in some concept stores in Europe and Asia, and you can catch his show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. Meanwhile, you can discover his colourful universe on his Instagram page
Images | t.vdb_official_page