A 27-year old Fil-Am emerging international designer is the winner of the first edition of the Global Denim Awards held in Amsterdam, Europe’s denim capital.
Jonathan Christopher Hofwegen, born of a Filipina mother and an American father and now living in the Netherlands after being adopted by a Dutch stepfather, reveals his winning collection is inspired by his multicultural background and his travels.
The designer won the Global Denim Awards cash grand prize of €10,000 for his collection titled Nomadum, which he refers to as “a look in the different worlds of nomads.” The winning urban nomad collection will be exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, Hongkong and other cities. Hofwegen has announced he is using the prize money to launch a fresh collection for his own men’s couture label, Jonathan Christopher Homme.
The Global Denim Awards is a pioneering competition that presented six design projects from the pairing of six promising designers with six international denim manufacturers in a runway show held in Amsterdam’s new innovation campus, Denim City.
Jonathan Christopher was paired with a 42-year-old vertical denim mill ITV Denim in Italy, where he spent part of the competition period studying the fabric, and ITV’s new technologies and techniques in weaving, spinning, weaving, dyeing and finishing denim. ITV Denim uses a method called Wine-Tex which utilizes residual material from the wine production process instead of using potassium and chlorine for dyeing colour into denim fibres. The practice removes the need for harmful chemicals and significantly reduces the use of water in denim production. The recognized designer and stylist worked on the challenge for his collection to be sustainable and durable while incorporating leather and alpaca wool in his design.
The competing design teams presented their projects to jurors Adriano Goldschmied, acclaimed as the godfather of denim, Jason Denham, the founder of Denham Jeans, Rene Strolenberg, co-founder of Tenue de Nimes, and fashion journalist Norma Quinto.
Prior to winning the denim awards, Jonathan Christopher was awarded the Young Creative
Entrepreneur of 2013 in Rotterdam and the Henri Winkelman Award. The winning designer was also chosen by fashion designer Marc Jacobs (the former creative director of Louis Vuitton) as the only non-German finalist in the Berlin competition, Design for Tomorrow. He currently does freelance design for the women’s design department of Karl Lagerfeld in Amsterdam even while maintaining his own label launched only a year ago.
Hofwegen’s designs are described as androgynous, a mix and match of contrasts in fabrics, silhouettes and colours. He uses Philippine local fabrics made of banana and piňa material.
Hofwegen holds a bachelor’s degree in fashion and apparel design from the Willem de Kooning Academy, and a master’s degree in Fashion Design from the prestigious Dutch fashion school, ArtEz Institute for the Arts in Arnhem, becoming part of the Generation 12 class.
The Global Denim Awards was developed by the House of Denim and fashion agency HTNK, in collaboration with denim trade fair company Kingpins Show and US quality cotton provider e3.
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