Sinéad O’Dwyer awarded Zalando Visionary Award 2024

Collection Image Zoe Natale Mannella

Sinéad O’Dwyer named winner of the Zalando Visionary Award and will make Copenhagen Fashion Week runway debut in August 2024.

Today, Zalando, the leading European online platform for fashion and lifestyle, proudly announces Sinéad O’Dwyer as the winner of the Zalando Visionary Award 2024. The London-based label, founded by Irish designer Sinéad in 2018, intentionally creates designer garments for women, femmes and gender non-conforming individuals of diverse bodies. As part of Zalando’s ongoing partnership with Copenhagen Fashion Week and as a recipient of the award, Sinéad O’Dwyer will make her Copenhagen runway debut on the official SS25 schedule in August.

The Zalando Visionary Award celebrates the makers of the future by putting the spotlight on designers and brands with a visionary approach to creating positive social impact, driving innovation and creativity within the fashion industry and beyond. With robust brand values and a clear vision for the future of fashion, Sinéad O’Dwyer showed a dedication to creating meaningful change by consistently designing, developing and producing clothing for different body sizes. She challenges traditional standards within the fashion industry, championing diversity and inclusion. The brand vision is deeply rooted in empowerment and self-expression, seeking to create luxury clothing that makes the wearer feel confident and comfortable in their own skin.

Sinéad O’Dwyer expressed her enthusiasm: "Winning the Zalando Visionary Award is such an honour 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. Bodily diversity is our inspiration and driving force and we believe that designing inclusively is the only way to create ethical, sustainable, functional and modern clothing. We cannot wait to come to Copenhagen Fashion Week and share this work with a new platform and audience."

The Zalando Visionary Award jury brought together fashion industry leaders to select the winner, including, including Giuliano Calza, renowned Founder and Creative Director of GCDS, Edward Buchanan, Creative Director, SANSOVINO6, as well as Herbert Hofmann, Creative and Buying Director at Highsnobiety. Copenhagen Fashion Week CEO Cecille Thorsmark and the General Manager of Designer at Zalando Lena-Sophie Röper completed the jury panel bringing their wealth of experience and guidance to award Sinéad O’Dwyer for her dedication to fostering significant industry change.

Giuliano Calza, jury member and Founder and Creative Director of GCDS said: "Accepting this role on the jury was primarily driven by the countless instances where I felt unheard, yearning for a platform to amplify my voice. I am filled with profound joy and a sense of privilege to have been tapped with the opportunity to lend my voice to such a distinguished cause. The celebration of an award of this calibre carries immense weight, resonating not only in the present but with the potential to ignite inspiration for generations to come, amplifying the very ideals I hold dear. Sinéad's unwavering commitment to diversity and pioneering innovation in an industry that often feels stuck in the past is truly commendable. The significance of an award like the Zalando Visionary Award cannot be overstated as it plays a pivotal role in supporting emerging designers and investing in their future, providing them with a platform to showcase their talent and creativity."

Sinéad was praised by the jury for the visionary aspects to her designs as well as unwavering commitment to innovation. By taking the shape of the body as the inspiration to her collection and avoiding traditional ways of drawing patterns, instead casting real life moulds, Sinéad demonstrates innovation and inclusivity as the starting point for her brand. She also pushes the boundaries creatively having developed the ‘Shibari’ signature style, a reinterpretation of a Japanese bondage technique, as well as experimenting with various fabrics in her work; rib-knit, shirred satin bands with crystal bead embellishment. The label’s design approach is characterised by an interest in the connection between embellishment and construction.

Lena Sophie Röper, General Manager of Zalando says: “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. It’s fresh fashion and Sinéad’s progressive approach is what Zalando stands for – championing the new wave of designers who dare to dream and create a better future for fashion.”

As winner of the award Sinéad O’Dwyer will receive a €50,000 prize and will present her collection at Copenhagen Fashion Week in August 2024, with additional support from Zalando for the show production to highlight their inspiring dedication to diversity and innovation.

About Zalando

Founded in Berlin in 2008, Zalando is building the leading pan-European ecosystem for fashion and lifestyle e-commerce around two growth vectors: Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B). In B2C, we offer an inspiring and quality multi-brand shopping experience for fashion and lifestyle products to about 50 million active customers in 25 markets. In B2B, we are using our logistic infrastructure, software and service capabilities to help brands and retailers run and scale their entire e-commerce business, on or off Zalando. As an ecosystem, Zalando aims to enable positive change for the fashion and lifestyle industry.

About the Zalando Visionary Award

The Zalando Visionary Award is an extension and evolution of the Zalando Sustainability Award. It aims to recognize the makers of the future and enable designers to showcase not only their sustainability efforts but also their dedication to creativity, innovation and positive social impact, supporting them to make meaningful change within the fashion industry. The Zalando Visionary Award is based on three pillars: creativity and design, social impact and innovation. To be eligible for the award, applicants need to demonstrate how they are making waves in one or more of the award pillars in addition to fulfilling Copenhagen Fashion Week’s sustainability requirements. The winner of the Zalando Visionary Award is chosen by an international jury consisting of industry thought leaders and receives a prize of 50.000 Euros as well as a spot on the official Copenhagen Fashion Week show schedule.

About Sinéad O'Dwyer

Sinéad O'Dwyer is aesthetically characterised by a tension between a soft sensuality and an imposing toughness. We offer intentionally designed luxury garments for women, femmes and gender non-conforming individuals of all shapes and sizes. Diverse bodies are at the core of our design process, from research and development to the final product. This passion and care for the human body in all its iterations and our radical approach to design, sampling and production is what makes us unique. Craftsmanship, innovation, sustainability, high quality materials and contemporary functionality are core values of the brand. Craft and innovation is key, from our signature chain stitching technique to our detailed shirting, we are interested in the connection between embellishment and construction. The functionality and contemporary silhouettes of our garments is very important to us, using our unique lens to reframe staid misconceptions around certain garments and the bodies we associate them with.

About Copenhagen Fashion Week

Regarded as the fifth global fashion week, Copenhagen Fashion Week welcomes leading international press, buyers and industry leaders across their global network to four days of shows, presentations, installations and events alongside the trade show CIFF. Sustainability is the core focus for Copenhagen Fashion Week, striving towards making substantial changes to inspire and encourage the industry to accelerate their sustainability efforts. In January 2020, Copenhagen Fashion Week unveiled an ambitious three-year Sustainability Action Plan, presenting an innovative system of requirements for brands to be part of the official schedule that was implemented at the AW23 edition of CPHFW. The Action Plan is revised and released every three years, positioning CPHFW as the leading fashion week within the sustainability field.

The Zalando Visionary Award SS25 Jury Members:

Lena Sophie Röper - General Manager, Designer at Zalando
Cecilie Thorsmark - CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week
Giuliano Calza - Creative Director, GCDS
Edward Buchanan - Creative Director, SANSOVINO6 / Milano Fashion Director Perfect Magazine
Herbert Hofmann - VP Creative & Buying at Highsnobiety