Updates from the ITS Finalists. The evolution of careers shaping the fashion industry.

09 January 2019


The metaphor we often apply to the ITS finalists – seeds of creativity blossomed at ITS, which have continued to grow and evolve – can indeed be taken a step further: what used to be a garden of blossomed seeds is now a huge forest, stretching out to fill up the entire fashion continent with vigorous plants that are shaping this fragile and ever-changing ecosystem. Roughly every six months we trace the evolution of our finalists’ careers to keep track of what has changed and stay in touch with the evolution of the ITS Family. The exciting news we’re sharing with you below always represent a tiny piece of a much bigger puzzle, which you can explore extensively in a special section on our website to check out who is currently working for renowned brands or has launched their own line. This is a quick sum-up of the current situation & a pretty interesting read in our opinion! With a focus on the ITS 2018 winners, on some of the most recent position changes, ending with a few of the most spectacular careers we’ve witnessed.


Sini-Pilvi Kiilunen

After winning the €10,000 Swatch Award, Sini-Pilvi is now in Zurich, Switzerland, for the most exciting part of her prize: a 6-month internship at the Swatch headquarters working side by side with the creative team together with former ITS finalists who, following their own internship period, were then hired by the company: 2013 finalist Milko Boyarov, 2015 finalist Shay Tako and 2016 finalist Sheila Pazos.

Tolu Coker

Tolu – who grabbed several of the ITS 2018 awards (LINK AD ARTICOLO WINNERS) – received the ITS TIME FOR COFFEE Award, a surprise which was announced on the catwalk by Swatch Creative Director Carlo Giordanetti and illycaffé Art Director Carlo Bach. It gave her the incredible opportunity to fly to Shanghai and spend a period living at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel, an artist residency designed to bring together artists from around the world to experience a unique cultural environment, focusing on creative exchange. Right now she is developing a special project that brings together Swatch and illycaffé which will be presented at ITS 2019 for the first time!

Eleanor McDonald

Eleanor also flew back home from Trieste with more than one trophy, among which the ITS Award which didn’t just grant her €15,000: the most interesting part of the prize is the 12-month tutorship from PITTI Immagine, which will support her with consultancy to launch her own brand. The first step is the presentation of a capsule collection at PITTI Uomo 95 in January 2019… a designer’s dream!
By the way, follow us on facebook and instagram since we will be keeping a diary of the very special award experiences we mention above!

Emma Chopova & Laura Lowena

Following ITS Emma and Laura went on to develop their SS19. Supported by 247 Showroom they took it to Paris where it was very well received and was sold to 6 shops. They also developed a capsule collection for online fashion portal (which went sold out and has just been re-stocked…) and are now working on a project for Brown’s. They’ve gone back to Bulgaria to speak with factories about production and will be starting the development of the AW19 very soon. It will be accompanied by a printed lookbook they are very excited about, featuring their own photography and styling team.

Eliana Zurlo

Eliana’s fitness footwear with interchangeable soles depending on the kind of exercise one wants to focus on is an incredibly smart project fusing style, performance and wellness in a sneaker that represents a concept design which is very close to the actual production model it could be developed into. Contacts with Tomorrow Ltd in regards to the award she won at ITS 2018 are ongoing and they will include a chance to work with their designers and access their footwear ateliers both in Italy and China. In the meantime Eliana moved to Treviso in Italy, since she was offered a job from Geox and will remain there for sure up until June 2019.


Just a few job position changes from past editions’ finalists who have been working in the industry for several years now. A complete list of where finalists work now, who has their own line, where they sell and which contests, after taking part in ITS, they also won can be found here.

Oden Wilson

2007 finalist Oden Wilson has recently added another outstanding job position to his CV. After designing for brands like Marni, Jil Sander and Céline he has now been hired by Burberry as Director of Design for the womenswear pre-collection.

Virginia Burlina

Since her participation as a finalist in 2014 Virginia‘s career literally skyrocketed with a position at Dries Van Noten working very closely to Dries himself (she is also extensively featured in the celebrated documentary “Dries“), on the general theme of the collection while proposing and developing designs for the collection by hand sketching and drapage mainly. In June 2018 she has accepted a position as womenswear designer for Burberry’s runway collection (once again we’ve got more than one ITS finalist working for the same brand…).

Michael Kampe

It was clear right from the start for us that, after winning the Diesel Award in 2011, Michael was destined for an incredible career in the denim industry. Again, his CV speaks from him: following over a year working for Diesel as menswear designer, he was Creative Manager for denim at Scotch & Soda until 2013 when he became Head of Design at HUGO BOSS handling menswear casual & athleisure, as well as womenswear business & casual denim lines. Last July he joined Lee Jeans where he is Creative Director.


So many are the stories we could to tell about amazing careers following a participation at ITS (from Aitor Throup to Justin Smith and Katy Reiss for example), and it’s hard to pick and choose only a few. But, as we said above, you can always check the complete list.


Demna’s career since winning ITS in 2004 speaks for itself and there’s probably nothing else we need to add: if you are here reading this, you must have at least a vague idea of who’s who in the fashion industry today and must have heard of him or at least of his own line Vetements. After leading design teams for Louis Vuitton and Maison Margiela, he has been the acclaimed Creative Director of Balenciaga since 2015. At the 2018 Fashion Awards he also received the Accessories Designer of the Year Award.

Matthieu Blazy

This is a story that always deserves to be told. At ITS in 2006 Matthieu started to chat with one of our guests randomly about fashion and designers in general, when he was asked “who is your favourite designer?”. He answered straight away “I would so much love to work for Raf Simons”. The person in front of him was Raf himself, who at the time had intentionally kept himself away from the limelight so few knew what he looked like. That conversation was the beginning of a very long collaboration which brought Matthieu to work at Raf’s eponymous brand until 2011, when he accepted a position as head designer of the Margiela Artisanal line, which was kept a secret (embracing the value of anonymity at the core of the brand since its foundation), until it was revealed by fashion reporter Suzy Menkes herself. In 2014 he moved to Céline for two years and then answered Raf Simon’s call once again: they are back working together at Calvin Klein, where Matthieu holds a position as Design Director.

Richard Quinn

Among those who witnessed Richard‘s ITS 2015 catwalk show in person, there was probably nobody who would have imagined he was the designer capable of bringing the Queen of England back to the catwalk shows in London in 2016, to receive the first Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. It simply made fashion history. Such an achievement tripled Richard’s popularity (and stockists…) overnight. In little over a year he has turned into the most sought-after ticket at London Fashion Week. At the latest 2018 Fashion Awards he received the British Emerging Talent of the Year Award.

Striving to research the strongest young talents in the world makes sense if our work is rewarded with proof that we are indeed spotting designers who were destined for outstanding careers in the fashion industry. And supporting the growth of professional careers through internship and job opportunities is our way to develop the paths of young talents whose voice unquestionably deserves to be heard and work to be seen.

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