- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
British-made luxury swimwear brand Naeco, which makes swim shorts out of recycled ocean plastic, has won the DHL Fashion Potential Award 2019.
Announced during London Fashion Week, Naeco, founded by Zak Johnson, out of a passion for the ocean and the sports around it including surfing, kite surfing and swimming, came out on top ahead of more than 350 applicants, after impressing judges with his sustainable brand.
“This year, we were again thrilled by the creative and entrepreneurial achievements showcased by the applicants,” said Abi Brodie, vice president of sales – e-commerce at DHL and expert jury representative in a statement. “It wasn’t easy selecting our four finalists from such an impressive field of candidates and then picking a winner. But we are convinced that in Naeco we have yet another award winner who more than does justice to this award.”
The DHL Fashion Potential Award has been presented annually by DHL in partnership with the British Fashion Council as part of London Fashion Week since 2017, with the aim of helping talented young designers expand their businesses.
DHL Fashion Potential Award names winner during London Fashion Week
As winner, Naeco, not only scoops the 20,000 pound prize but will also receive assistance from DHL with transport and logistics services.
“I’m absolutely shell shocked that we won, we were up against some incredible businesses,” expressed Naeco founder Zak Johnson in over e-mail to FashionUnited. "I have found the entire DHL Fashion Potential Award process incredible. Not only did I have some fantastic mentors help me over the past few months, but I also made great friends with the brands and mentors.”
Johnson added: “I can’t thank DHL and the BFC enough for their support - I’m looking forward to working with them all over the next year.”
Men’s swimwear label Naeco was up against tough competition from fellow finalists Trakke, a Scottish accessories brand that began on a market stall in Glasgow, premium womenswear brand Emile Vidal Carr, and contemporary womenswear label Olivia Rubin, which debut her colourful spring/summer 2020 collection during London Fashion Week.
Each of the finalists had to present their brands and business plans to the judging panel that included industry leaders from across the fashion industry, including representatives of the BFC and DHL.
Naeco follows in the footsteps of previous winners, Rixo, founded by vintage lovers Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey and Hades, a classic British Knitwear brand handcrafted in Scotland and designed by Cassie Holland.
Image: courtesy of Naeco