Sinéad O’Dwyer Wins Zalando Visionary Award 2024, Setting New Standards for Inclusive Design

Written by Ulrika Lindqvist

London-based designer Sinéad O’Dwyer has emerged triumphant as the recipient of the prestigious Zalando Visionary Award 2024, signaling a significant stride forward in the fashion industry's commitment to inclusivity and diversity. O’Dwyer's groundbreaking work, celebrated for its innovative designs that celebrate body diversity, will now take center stage at the Copenhagen Fashion Week runway debut in August 2024.

The Zalando Visionary Award, renowned for recognizing visionaries in the fashion realm, bestowed this honor upon O’Dwyer for her exceptional creations that challenge traditional perceptions of beauty and form. O’Dwyer's brand has been commended by the jury for its commitment to embracing inclusivity through sculptural pieces that defy norms and celebrate individuality.

In a statement, O’Dwyer expressed gratitude for the recognition, emphasizing the importance of promoting diversity within the fashion industry. “I am truly honored to receive the Zalando Visionary Award and to have the opportunity to showcase my designs at Copenhagen Fashion Week. Inclusivity has always been at the heart of my work, and I am thrilled to see it recognized and celebrated on such a significant platform,” said O’Dwyer.

The Zalando Visionary Award has also announced the appointment of two esteemed figures from the fashion world to its jury for the SS25 season. Joining the panel are Giuliano Calza, the Founder and Creative Director of GCDS, and Edward Buchanan, the Creative Director of SANSOVINO6. Their expertise and insights are expected to further elevate the award's mission of championing diversity and innovation within the fashion industry.

As part of Zalando's ongoing partnership with Copenhagen Fashion Week, Sinéad O’Dwyer will showcase her innovative designs on the official SS25 schedule in August, marking her Copenhagen runway debut. The Zalando Visionary Award aims to spotlight designers and brands that demonstrate a visionary approach to creating positive social impact and driving innovation within the fashion industry. Sinéad O’Dwyer's brand embodies these values, with a clear commitment to challenging traditional standards and championing inclusivity. Her designs celebrate diversity through truly inclusive collections and diverse model casting, empowering individuals to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin.

Expressing her gratitude for the award, Sinéad O’Dwyer stated, “Winning the Zalando Visionary Award is such an honor and extremely meaningful for the business, especially in this precarious time for independent brands. It gives us the support to continue our mission, further building on the work we have been doing to bring a more expansive and equitable vision of beauty to the world.”

The Zalando Visionary Award jury, comprised of fashion industry leaders such as Giuliano Calza, Edward Buchanan, and Herbert Hofmann, recognized O’Dwyer's unwavering commitment to diversity and innovation. O’Dwyer's designs, inspired by the shape of the body and crafted through innovative techniques such as the reinterpretation of Japanese bondage and experimentation with various fabrics, showcase her dedication to pushing creative boundaries while prioritizing inclusivity.

Lena Sophie Röper, General Manager, Designer at Zalando, praised O’Dwyer's progressive approach, stating, “Sinéad O’Dwyer clearly demonstrates the values that we want to see and embodies the spirit of the Zalando Visionary Award. The brand strikes the right balance of these values with unique designs, innovative solutions with a provocative, wearable, and exciting collection.”

As the winner of the award, Sinéad O’Dwyer will receive a €50,000 prize and additional support from Zalando for the show production at Copenhagen Fashion Week in August 2024. This recognition not only celebrates O’Dwyer's achievements but also underscores Zalando's commitment to fostering diversity and innovation within the fashion industry.

Images courtesy of Zalando