Making it as a young designer gets harder every year. Crowded and competitive pools of talent, skyrocketing production costs and looming issues like Brexit all add up to an increasingly difficult formula for fashion’s next wave. This week, HERO comes to you from ITS festival in Trieste, Italy, an emerging designer platform helping rise up the next generation of fashion designers. 

Short for International Talent Support and sponsored by Diesel, ITS festival has been nurturing young talent for fifteen years now. Pulling together big name industry professionals, it spotlights – and supports – the next generation of designers shaping the future of fashion. This year, that nominee checklist saw Mayako Kano (who took home the ITS Fashion Award), Shinhwan Kim, Sero Oh and RCA MA Fashion graduates Paula Knorr, Niels Gundhoft Hansen and Stefanie Stchirky all hit the catwalk – see more in the gallery below.

We spoke with Andrea Rosso, Diesel’s Creative Director of Licensing and son of Diesel founder Renzo Rosso, who was at ITS this week. He weighs in on what makes a promising young designer and why it’s so important we support emerging fashion talent.

Gallery: ITS Fashion 2016 finalists

Nazanin Shahnavaz: In your role at Diesel, what does a typical day involve?
Andrea Rosso: As the Creative Director of the licensing department at Diesel, my job is to translate the Diesel aesthetic to new products, it can be tricky because they are so varied and our approach to perfume will of course be totally different to bikes for example but once you find the right dialogue it is fantastic. I find the crossover of design elements the most interesting, we might take a detail from a perfume bottle, like the cap for example and apply that to our watches – it creates visual language that you can see across all our products, it becomes a 360-degree lifestyle.

NS: What is Diesel’s involvement with the festival?
AR: We have supported ITS from the very beginning, and it has been great to watch the festival grow. Last night at the dinner, many of the people involved with ITS have some point worked at Diesel so it is a very special gathering for us. Also, the OTB group includes brands as diverse as Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, Marni and whether it is a brand that is more classical or sporty we are keen to maintain that diversity.

“We are here to spy on new talent, see what they have to offer and find the next generation of designers.”

NS: As a juror, what are you looking for in the contestant’s work?
AR: I am looking for designer who convinces me to buy their product or convinces me to talk about their product. I am also very interested in the personality of a designer, because it is an indication of a great team player and team work is very important at Diesel.

NS: What have been your highlights so far?
AR: The broadness of this year’s theme – Utopia – has encouraged many interpretations, but I was most impressed by the more elegant pieces, the attention to detail and use of materiality was very interesting.

NS: Why do you think it is important to support a platform like ITS?
AR: You know, if you study cooking and you watch Masterchef maybe one day you would like to go onto the show or have the opportunity to work with a particular chef, it’s about having that chance. I think that is very important, and a platform like ITS allows young designers to have a chance to showcase their work.

NS: What advice would you give young designers?
AR: I would advise them to really believe in what they do, because you have to be able to convince other people to believe in it too and part of that is really down to personality and having an in depth understanding of your practise.

See our full coverage of Diesel Black Gold SS17 here. For more information on ITS and the 2016 nominees and winners, head to the website


You can follow Nazanin Shahnavaz on twitter here.