PARIS, France — Christelle Kocher, founder of the haute streetwear label Koché, has scooped up the ANDAM Grand Prize, thirty years after Martin Margiela, a member of this year’s jury, won the inaugural prize in 1989.
Koché sells at about 60 doors and generated revenues of €3.7 million in 2018. The label beat out Coperni, Hed Mayner and Kwaidan Editions, which were also finalists for this year’s prize. Past winners of the prestigious award include Christophe Lemaire, Anthony Vaccarello and Glenn Martens of Y/Project.
“I love Koché. Her approach is modern, sportswear, in the same way as an upcoming new generation of designers,” Rosso told BoF following the deliberation of the jury on Wednesday. “She plans to use the money to launch to the menswear line.”
Before founding Koché in September 2014, the Strasbourg-born Kocher, who graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins, spent a decade working for luxury houses Chloé, Sonia Rykiel, Bottega Veneta and Dries Van Noten. Alongside her own label, she currently works at specialist feather and flower atelier Maison Lemarié, where she has been artistic director for the past nine years.
“Koché mixes craftsman and the couture world with streetwear vibes and sportswear details. Hybridation is part of the aesthetic, the DNA. It’s also a brand that actively defends values such as diversity, openness, generosity. I hope that with my brand, I contribute to a positive change on things,” the 40-year old designer told BoF at the ceremony under the gildings of the French culture Ministry overlooking the Palais-Royal gardens.
She plans to reach €10 million in revenues in the next two or three years through organic growth and a focus on digital. (Koché’s website launched last week).
After a flurry of collaborations including with Converse and Pokemon on capsule collections, she was recently tapped by Nike to create a dress as a nod to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup’s 14 national teams. She also collaborated with the sportswear giant on exclusive products set to hit stores on July 7.
“She’s a very talented and prolific young woman,” said ANDAM President and Galeries Lafayette Image and Communications Director Guillaume Houzé. The French department store chain carries Koché at its flagship location on Boulevard Haussmann and its new Champs-Elysées store.
“It was her moment. Her brand is already mature. It is extremely clear in terms of positioning. This grand prize came to award a name we’ve been following for some time,” said Nathalie Dufour, founder and general manager of ANDAM, a non-profit fashion organisation founded in 1989.
The ANDAM Grand Prize is just one of ANDAM’s four prizes that come with funding and mentorship. ANDAM also offers a Fashion Accessories Prize, a Creative Label Prize, and a Fashion Innovation Award.
US-based label Khaore founded by Wei Hung Chen and Raiheth Rawla won this year’s Accessories Prize, which comes with a grant of €50,000. The pair will receive mentoring from Hermès Executive Vice-President, Guillaume de Seynes.
“The brand is very interesting in terms of style and impressive in terms of know-how and quality of the final product,” said De Seynes. “As part of their project, they want to develop a part of the production in France, I will probably be able to guide them.”
The Creative Label prize, which comes with a grant of €100,000 went to Nicolas Lecourt Mansion. Xavier Clergerie, founder of Who’s Next, Premiere Classe & Jean-Louis, will mentor Lecourt Mansion, while Galeries Lafayette pledges to buy Nicolas Lecourt Mansion’s two next collections and Tomorrow London Ltd, will offer the ready-to-wear designer additional commercial and strategic mentorship.
The Fashion Innovation Award, which comes with €30,000 grant, went to Worn Again Technologies. The startup will benefit from the mentorship of Executive President of Fédération de la haute couture et de la mode Pascal Morand.
“The presented technological innovation brings an important contribution to the development of circular economy,” said Morand. “Achieving to decompose fabrics blending various raw materials is a key issue for downcycling and upcycling, and more globally for the future of our industry and the primacy of creation.”