African Ethical Designer – José Hendo Wins Radical Designer Award

Posted on October 31, 2011

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Jose Hendo - image copyright AfricaFashionGuide

Essex based designer José Hendo, whose studio is based in Tottenham North London, was awarded the Radical Designer Award after an extensive judging process at the Noble Suite, Novotel London Hotel, St. Pancras on the 29th October 2011.

The Radical Designer Award is one of two Awards given by The Fashion Designers & Crafts (FDC) Makers Awards who are backed by the Barnardo’s charity. The Radical Designer Award is designed for fashion designers over the age of 21, who have a fashion label or are about to set up a fashion house. It rewards exceptional cutting edge design talent and identifies those who break through the boundaries of creativity and become fashion leaders of the future. These are designers who are the ones to watch in the coming years.

image courtesy Jose Hendo - barkclothcollection - iheartfashion copyright

The day commenced with each a presentation from each designer to the panel of judges from the world of fashion and the media. The designs were critically assessed with judges looking for candidates who displayed the most creativity, originality in the interpretation of their idea, their research and technical skill.

The winner was later announced during the gala evening with a catwalk showing the collections of all participating designers from both categories, The Young Designer Award and the Radical Designer Award. Chyna Desveaux, who presented the award to an emotional tearful José Hendo, hosted the event.

Hendo who had her debut to London Fashion Week’s Off Schedule with Fashion Finest in September, wooed the judges with her prolific Resonance Collection of environmentally conscious custom couture constructed entirely of organic materials. Her collection is designed with barkcloth made from the ficus natalensis tree, a UNESCO-recognised process dating back to the 15th century. Historically the fabric of ancient Ugandan kings, barkcloth remains a valued wedding gift to brides and in-laws.

“Over the past years, I’ve realised the damaging impact the fashion industry has on the environment,” Hendo says. “With consumption of water, pesticides, effects of chemicals on the water, fashion should be sustainable, timeless and something to last for years, and be worn many different ways.”

With Mother Nature as her muse, Hendo’s adheres to the mantra of the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Her ‘Resonance’ collection explores a new way of dressing and thinking about clothes. Without metal snap, plastic fastener or buttons the garments are completely biodegradable. Sculpted with architectural precision Hendo’s wearable art may be worn upside down, collapsed, unfurled, shapes created and change with each wearing – and with each wearer – by ingenious pulley system of strings and loops (natural materials, of course), hidden or aesthetically incorporated into the designs.

Hendo explains: “If it’s not natural, it’s recycled. I use every bit,” she says of her Memories Collection created from thrift shop finds and end-of-roll scraps of fabric. A percentage of each garment sold support Bridging the Gap, a Ugandan charity supporting orphaned children. In the UK she patronizes thrift shops similarly sustaining children’s charities.

Hendo was shortlisted for BEFFTA’s Female Designer Of The Year Award. She facilitates workshops and tutorials at her studio and her local library and is currently working on a project with the Trinity Catholic High School.

José Hendo not only offers a production services to some of her award-winning contemporaries (some of their collections are sold at Top Shop). True to Jose Hendo’s ethics her educational background and exquisitely skilled craftsmanship enable her to offer the best but yet affordable alterations and repairs to the general public from her North London Studio.

Her collections have been shown at London Fashion Week, EcoLuxe London, iheartfashion, Mahogany Bridal Show to name a few. Her designs also featured in Look Magazine, Black Hair and Beauty Magazine as well as Et Moda Magazine amongst many other publications.

Jose Hendo - SS12 Photography - Trevor Fogah-Griffiths (idelickMedia) Fashion Finest LFW

Hendo is also regularly sponsored by award-winning make-up artist Karen Salandy. She has featured widely in the media of her home country Uganda and presented to the Queen of Buganda Kingdom of Ugunda, her home country.

Hendo’s designs will be shown next at the Curves in Couture Charity Catwalk Show on Thursday, November 17th, 2011 at 19:00 at the Tabernacle W11, Notting Hill, London.

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Posted in: Crafts, Fashion, Textiles