German designer Nils Hauser is the winner of the Redress Design Award 2023, the world's largest competition for sustainable fashion design. NGO Redress and partner VF Corporation announced the winner in a press release today.
The award recognises the best talent in sustainable design each year - since about 80 percent of a product's environmental impact is determined at the design stage, designers have a significant impact on advancing the circular economy in the fashion industry.
“The fashion industry needs to reinvent itself, from the drawing board to the board room. This transformation requires talent and strong leadership. Our collaboration with VF and Timberland, through providing circular-practicing designers, spotlights the role of the designer and collaboration to bring about change. Armed with circular design techniques, decisions at the design stage can change fashion - and the world,” commented Redress founder Christina Dean in the press release.
Winner Nils Hauser impresses with upcycled creations
As part of the competition, the up-and-coming designers therefore addressed the challenge of how to create value from waste and shape a more sustainable, circular future for the fashion industry. Hauser was the only German designer to make it into the 30 semi-finalists from hundreds of entries and then the ten finalists, which were announced in May.
“We are always amazed at the calibre of designs and breadth of talent demonstrated by all finalists of the Redress Design Award. Their passion for sustainable fashion and circular design is an inspiration and continues to motivate us as we work toward our vision of a greener future,” said Puneet Khosla, vice president and managing director at Timberland Asia Pacific, in the statement.
Hauser developed his “Ex Voto” collection for a fictional lost city that was destroyed and rebuilt under mysterious circumstances. His designs include a range of multifunctional garments, including a vest that can be worn in four different ways and a collar that folds into a mask.
For all of his creations, Hauser used upcycled materials such as sofa upholstery fabric and nylon from an old family tent. By using water-based inks, he relies on environmentally friendly materials and processes.
Nils Hauser to collaborate with Timberland on circular fashion project
As the winner, Hauser will work for VF's Timberland brand on a circular fashion project that will be unveiled as part of the spring 2025 collection. Hauser will be the first Redress Design Award winner to have the opportunity to work at VF's Tokyo Design Collective, which is considered an incubator for talent and inspiration for VF's various global brands.
“Collaborating with a world-leading brand like Timberland and bringing my sustainable fashion ideas into the mainstream and large-scale fashion market whilst working with Timberland’s expert team is a designer’s dream. Designers have solutions, and we know that by working together we can make change,” commented Hauser.
“This experience will allow Nils to deepen his understanding of sustainability across the apparel and textile value chain - from production up to marketing. We are excited to work with Nils at our design hub in Tokyo, where he will gain valuable insights while connecting with a dedicated community of designers,” added Khosla.
Hauser holds a degree in international fashion design from the Fashion Design Institute in Düsseldorf, Germany and is currently completing an internship at Berlin-based label Ottolinger. He also gained experience as a model and in retail at vintage store Not a Shop in Düsseldorf.
“Sustainability to me means finding ways to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Creating beautiful clothes should not have to come with the downside of polluting the planet,” concludes Hauser.