London-based fashion label Paolina Russo, founded in 2021 by Paolina Russo and Lucile Guilmard, has been named the winner of the first Zalando Visionary Award in partnership with Copenhagen Fashion Week.
The award, which was announced in April, was created to recognise “the makers of the future” and to enable designers to showcase their dedication to creativity, innovation and positive social impact.
As the winner, Paolina Russo, known for its focus on knitwear that combine artisan techniques with industrialised manufacturing to bridge the gap between heritage craftsmanship and technology to push the boundaries of design, will present its collection during Copenhagen Fashion Week in August 2023. The label also wins 50,000 euros, and Zalando will provide monetary support for show production to bring its vision to the catwalk.
In a statement, Zalando said that the jury was particularly impressed by the brand’s approach to its collaborative manufacturing network, as the brand treats its supply chain as “creative partners”. Through visiting manufacturers and working face-to-face on the factory floor, the founders can learn from their supply chain’s processes and expertise to create garments that change the perception of what traditional knitwear can be.
They also added that the brand demonstrated “a strong focus on its environmental impact by ensuring ethical sourcing, the use of natural, singular fibres and partnering with certified manufacturers”.
Zalando crowns Paolina Russo as its first Zalando Visionary Award winner
Commenting on the win, Paolina Russo, said: “We are truly thrilled to receive the Zalando Visionary Award. Meeting the high standards of an award like this brings us closer to our goal: modernising craftsmanship and rethinking traditional techniques through innovation and responsible fashion products.
“Winning encourages us to keep building a sustainable brand and celebrates an alternative way of working that doesn't contribute to the flaws of the fashion industry. We can't wait to have our first catwalk show and share our work with a larger platform and audience.”
Lena Sophie Röper, director of designer and luxury at Zalando, added: “We are delighted to announce Paolina Russo as the first winner of the Zalando Visionary Award. The award attracted entries from truly innovative and forward-thinking talent, and Paolina Russo stood out with its striking craftsmanship and dedication to creating collections that merge traditional hand craft designs with a futuristic aesthetic to create a selection of vibrant patterns and shapes. I look forward to seeing the collection showcased on the runway in August at Copenhagen Fashion Week.”