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Faustine Steinmetz woolmark prize Spring 2017 dazed
Rina wears all clothes, shoes Faustine Steinmetz, underwear worn throughout stylist's ownPhotography Hanna Moon, styling Nell Kalonji

Faustine Steinmetz on pushing beyond her trademark denim

Having been a finalist for the recent International Woolmark Prize, the designer discusses how she experimented with a new material

“I love reinterpreting my favourite pieces in surprising materials. I feel like I will never get tired of it,” says Paris-born designer Faustine Steinmetz . Similarly, it seems, the fashion industry will never get tired of her creations. Made entirely from hand (from the spinning, weaving and dyeing of her fabric), they resemble everyday items of clothing, such as jeans and denim jackets. The process of creating them is so intensive however, that they’re anything but everyday – they border on haute couture and, in a very literal way, represent a labour of love.

At London Fashion Week, Steinmetz presented her latest collection – an offering which was, in her words, inspired by the way denim transcends gender, age and origin. Choosing to showcase the clothes on models posing in cubicles designed by Thomas Petherick, the collection featured jeans covered with tiny crystals, as well as full-length denim puffas and shredded two-pieces.

Already nominated for the LVMH Young Designer Prize, Steinmetz has caught the attention of the judging panel of another prestigious award: the International Woolmark Prize. A finalist, she competed against a roster of the industry’s most promising young talents that included fellow Brits Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty of Cottweiler, along with MÜNN, Ex Infinitas, Tonsure, Bounipun, Rochambeau, TOTON, macgraw, Tim Labenda, Nachiket Barve and Gabriela Hearst.

“I love reinterpreting my favourite pieces in surprising materials. I feel like I will never get tired of it” – Faustine Steinmetz

Though the boys of Cottweiler and Gabriela Hearst won the prizes, the designer enjoyed the opportunity to explore the possibilities of another material, recreating her trademark denim in Merino wool. “It was a good excuse to experiment with (it),” she says. “Merino is my favourite material, it is plasticine to me! I loved the challenge of creating lots of different textiles and effects with only one fibre.” Using this material, she’s created a collarless coat that fades from dark blue to white which features in the new spring 2017 issue of Dazed, modelled by the flame-haired London-based musician Rina Sawayama, styled by AnOther’s Nell Kalonji and shot by another up-and-coming talent, photographer Hanna Moon.

“I always find it less modern when clothing is designed,” she says in the issue. “Instead of creating a piece, I’m trying to put a twist on something that already exists,” – and it’s this firm belief in creating timeless, seasonless pieces imbued with craftsmanship rather than trends that makes her collaboration with The International Woolmark Prize feel so natural.

See more of her collaboration with the International Woolmark Prize in the gallery above and get your copy of the new issue here

Hair Yumi Nakada-Dingle at Jed Root using Aveda, make-up Laura Dominique at Streeters using Nars, model Rina Sawayama at Elite, photographic assistant Alessandro Tranchini, styling assistant Rebecca Perlmutar, casting Seva Greichgauer, production D+V entertainment