MullenLowe and Central Saint Martins’ annual Nova Awards recognise the best creative thinking and execution from the art and design college’s graduating students. This year’s top prize went to Fredrik Tjærandsen, whose womenswear collection featuring colourful inflated bubbles alternates between reality and dreams. Runners-up included Elissa Brunato, who collaborated with scientists to make sequins from sustainable materials, rather than plastic, for her fashion and textiles project.
The winner and runners-up will receive money towards developing their projects further. Jose Miguel Sokoloff, president of MullenLowe Group’s Global Creative Council and chief creative officer of MullenLowe Group UK, said: "Every time we finish judging the MullenLowe Nova Awards, I think to myself: ‘This is as good as it gets.' But, this time, I really mean it. These brilliant young minds continue to push the boundaries and use creativity to address very real problems in the world."
Meet the honorees below and draw inspiration from their boundary-pushing work.
Fredrik Tjærandsen, BA Fashion Womenswear, 'Moments of clarity'
"My collection is inspired by an almost indefinable moment when a human’s self-awareness becomes active and sentient… Alternating between reality and dream, the garment is recognisably a bubble, but it is also a potential mask or uterus. I am deeply concerned with the relationship between what is seen and what is unknown, through the memories and misty impressions of childhood."
Runner-up and Creative Review Innovation Award
Elissa Brunato, MA Material Futures, 'Bio iridescent sequin'
"Within the current fashion and textiles system, the embroidery industry is limited by unsustainable material options and a lack of innovation. Shimmering beads and sequins are industrially made from plastic or synthetic resins. Their use and disposal impose a huge environmental problem and contribute largely to the micro-plastic issue that the planet is currently facing.
"Working alongside material scientists from the Research Institutes of Sweden, I created sequins that use wood’s ability to form structures that refract light. In this way, it is possible for this ‘future sequin’ to shimmer naturally without added chemicals. It is an entirely new way to approach colour and finishes within the fashion and textiles industry."
Xiaoying Liang, MA Graphic Communication Design, 'The dictionary'
"My project explores the concepts of prescriptivism and descriptivism in linguistic theory in the perspective of a graphic designer… Each of the moving images is an experiment in destabilising, stretching and interrogating the boundaries of day-to-day objects created by their Oxford English Dictionary definitions, in order to deal with the ambiguity and complexity in words that are either relatively static or ‘clear’."
2019 Unilever #Unstereotype Award
Sara Gulamali, BA Fine Art 3D, 'Can you see me, still?'
"My practice takes a lot of inspiration from my identity as a Muslim woman of colour, my experiences, my history and how I choose to navigate spaces… The work follows a being, one who cannot be identified by race, religion, gender or sexuality – however, they embody this bright green. A green screen. A space which can be nomadic, can become anything, be anyone, but when navigating the world ‘unkeyed’ is simply seen as different, strange, sometimes even threatening.
"For an audience who are familiar with a Muslim background, one may see the likeness to women who wear burkas, alluding to the current political climate towards Muslims who are often treated as something to be feared and embody feelings of alienation."
Haemin Ko, MA Character Animation, 'No body'
"‘No body’ is an autobiographical poetic short animation film. It is an experimental charcoal animated story exploring my relationship with the city through three emotional chapters of excitement, frustration and hope. It focuses on our loneliness and (dis)connections. What does it mean to belong, to be part of a whole? What happens when we stretch, bend or break these links?"