Posted by Stephan Moskovic | June 8th, 2017

JAHNKOY

If most designers had their way, you would replace your entire wardrobe with their latest collection every six months—but that’s not what Maria Jahnkoy wants. Born Maria Kazakova in Siberia, Jahnkoy’s new name is Crimean Tatar for “New Spirit Village,” a reflection of her interest in urban environments and the repurposing of existing materials and the detritus of contemporary life in her intricate, communicative designs. “I hope to bring attention to individuals about the choices they make,” she explains. “I want people to understand the origins of the garments they buy, the craft that has been forgotten, and the pollution that our consumption generates, as well as the disproportion of current beauty standards. I hope to inspire the new generation to value themselves.”

To that end, Jahnkoy, who has studied at both Central Saint Martins and Parsons, has made craftsmanship and traditional practices a key part of her designs. Her latest collection for Fall 2017, named “The Displaced,” reflects what she calls the “disappearing variety of cultural clothing throughout the world, the lost of authentic values, and the effects of fast fashion” in our increasingly homogenized contemporary world. “Due to social and economic pressures, garments are produced in the world’s poorest countries in unsatisfactory conditions,” she continues. “Clothing is now mass-produced at little expense and deprived, as such, of the human knowledge that once made it a vibrant and unique form of cultural expression.”

“I hope to bring attention to individuals about the choices they make. I want people to understand the origins of the garments they buy, the craft that has been forgotten, and the pollution that our consumption generates, as well as the disproportion of current beauty standards. I hope to inspire the new generation to value themselves.”

Now calling Crown Heights her home—she pledges the LVMH Prize money to establishing a “point of global cultural exchange” in her new neighborhood if won—Jahnkoy finds inspiration in the mélange of New York City, which continues to maintain its reputation as an international crossroads even in an increasingly closed-off global environment. “I believe we are living in a time of great awakening and shift,” she says, “and our awakening is urgent and necessary. New York City transcends global culture and it is a unique place with great potential to influence the world.”

More than just a designer, Jahnkoy considers herself a “collage artist” who weaves together—sometimes literally—old and new, West and East, and high and low in a bid to reacquaint our modern society with its own past. “The majority of the young generation has no connection or access to their ancestral clothing,” she argues. “We wear what we’re exposed to. We are now living all mixed together, so it’s up to us to restore the global culture of the world.”

The LVMH 8 2017

Presenting Models.com’s exclusive spotlight on each of the eight finalists for the 2017 LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize in anticipation of their final presentation at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

On June 16, LVMH will announce the winner of their 2017 Young Fashion Designer Prize, chosen from a pool of eight finalists: Ambush, Atlein, Cecile Bahnsen, Jahnkoy, Kozaburo, Marine Serre, Molly Goddard, and Nabil Nayal. First launched in November 2013, the LVMH Prize was created to help celebrate rising design talent and encourage their growth, with the winner receiving both a 300,000 euro grant and a year of technical and financial support from the LVMH Foundation’s experts. These eight young designers from across the globe reflect the industry’s international reach, demonstrating expansive visions in an era of ever-tightening horizons. As barriers go up across borders and the world turns inward, they offer a reassuring reminder that creativity is about confronting the foreign and finding yourself changed for the better.

The winner will be selected by a jury comprised of some of fashion’s most notable creators, from Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld to Riccardo Tisci and J.W. Anderson, overseen by LVMH’s Delphine Arnault — a group that should have no trouble picking a standout talent. Victory will be sweet of course, but if past years are anything to go by, this is one prize where being nominated is truly an honor in and of itself.

Photography by Steven Yatsko for Models.com
Stylist Ron Hartleben
Makeup Feride Uslu (MAM) using Uslu Airlines
Hair Shinya Nakagawa (ArtList)
Manicure Yukie Miyakawa

Art Direction Stephan Moskovic
Editors Irene Ojo-Felix, Jonathan Shia & Steven Yatsko
Text by Jonathan Shia

Models
Don Lee
Jourdana Phillips

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