Faustine Steinmetz has been awarded with the 2017 Swarovski Collective Award, worth €25,000.
The collective was founded in 1999 by Nadja Swarovski in collaboration with Alexander McQueen. Winners of the award receive not only the prize money, but also a year’s access to the crystals, which can be used to design future collections.
Steinmetz said she planned to use the money in her production process, particularly to employ more weavers. She’s also looking into expanding her brand production beyond the current base in Africa.
She said: “At the moment, we are working on setting up production in different countries that have fair trade. We are looking for places where we can trust people and make sure that things are done the right way. For us, that’s the most important thing.”
One of the pieces that won the award was a pair of crystal-encrusted jeans with deconstructed seams, designed to look as if they were crystallized through time. The jeans were made with hand-woven denim and embroidered yarns and took three weeks to create. After being covered with indigo-coloured crystals, the jeans weighed about 11 pounds.
Nadja Swarovski said when presenting the award: “Her sustainable and ethical design approach, and the innovative and visually stunning use of crystal in her collections make her a unique talent and an emerging role model for the industry.”
Steinmetz said on receiving the award: “On a personal level as a designer you really have to believe in your product and your brand, it’s not always easy, so to have that validation from Swarovski is amazing – that the brand trusts and challenges designers to push the boundaries of crystal in fashion is inspiring.”