ITS 2019 | sincerely true


This past weekend, designers from around the world came to Trieste for International Talent Support, a yearly gathering of creative minds from all corners of the fashion industry. This year’s theme was “Sincerely True” – finalists for the festival’s numerous awards were announced in May, and now, the winners can finally be revealed to the public. 

The main winner of the evening was Daoyung Ding, who took home the ITS Award for his beautifully tailored and textured menswear. In their statement explaining his win, the organisation wrote, “Daoyuan had the most coherent aesthetic approach. A very well-executed collection. He showed an ability to choose out of the ordinary colours and materials, and a minimalistic approach that highlighted an outstanding clarity of view. A collection that is ready for the market.”

But Daoyung Ding was not the only menswear designer of the evening. Other designers included Anni Salonen, who offered a rough yet vibrant collection inspired by “people living mobile lives” – in particular, those who venture from demonstrations to festivals in search of personal fulfilment.

Rafael Kouto’s menswear offerings, on the other hand, mixed African craftsmanship with military aesthetics to create, in his words, “a kind of new escapism.” In all, Kouto shined bright with an eclectic mix of inspirations, presenting a colourful and impactful collection. 

Anni Salonen

Rafael Kouto

Of the many brands present at ITS, Lotto Sport stood out by offering an award of its own – the Lotto Sport Award, which promises the winner a three-month internship followed by a collaborative project at Lotto, centred on a shoe or apparel mini capsule collection.

As someone with years of experience in the industry, Lotto Sport Italia President Andrea Tomat knows the value of keeping young and emerging artists close to the company. “The idea was to not only be present here but to get involved,” Tomat says. “We want to experience a true relationship with some of these talents… We are building a global brand – we operate in over 100 countries, and in sports, we operate in a very international environment. Here, we have true inspiration originating from these young talents from all over the world… I personally am very excited to see how [the winner] will storm into the offices.”

Rafael Kouto accepting the Lotto Sport Award from Lotto Sport Italia President Andrea Tomat.


The winner of the Lotto Sport Award was precisely Rafael Kouto. For his Lotto Sport Award competition piece, he crafted looks from upcycled second-hand clothes, scraps and found materials, layering this so-called “waste” into a unique silhouette. Kouto’s work attempted to “achieve the aesthetic of a tribal, dazzled, technological sportswear couture” – according to ITS. Needless to say, the mission was a success, and Tomat presented him with the Lotto Sport Award.


Another award brought home by Kouto that evening was the Diesel Award. The Diesel Award presented a unique challenge: designers were required to reproduce one of their looks using raw denim supplied by Diesel, treating it in a way that fits with a given list of adjectives. While this may sound like an insurmountable challenge, the payoff is equally incredible — winners receive a 6-month internship along with a return ticket from the winner’s country of residence, including reimbursement for lodging and expenses.

Competition in this category was fierce. Designer Jimin Kim formed a unique take on a worker’s uniform constructed from woven pieces and bleached denim, while others, like Moon Hussain, drew inspiration from the more banal adjectives on the list, bringing themes of repetition and mundanity to a deceptively simple suit. 

Rafael Kouto accepts the Diesel Award.


The look that won Kouto the award was a chaotic blend of denim handcraft and couture. In their statement about his win, the judges asserted that “Rafael demonstrated an incredible potential in creating and developing new or modified products with a contemporary aesthetic and attention to recycling. His variety of ideas, his manipulation of materials and his product design offers a fresh and contemporary point of view.”

ITS’s “Sincerely True” proved to be an unendingly impressive event filled with top-tier talent. Congratulations to the winners and all the participants, the full list of which can be viewed on the ITS’s site

The seventeenth edition of ITS took place in Trieste on July 12, 2019. Discover more about ITS on their website.

words. Braden Bjella


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