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Tengri Innovation Award winners announced

Tengri Innovation Award was launched this year to encourage the implementation of sustainable fashion.

2nd October 2018

Knitting Industry
 |  London

Knitwear, Knitted Outerwear, Collections

British fair-trade luxury knitwear brand Tengri has announced the winners of its inaugural Tengri Innovation Award, launched this year to encourage the implementation of sustainable fashion and textiles working towards a more sustainable industry standard and future.

The award was open to final-year students of the Tengri Innovation Partnership, an initiative which includes some of the UK’s most influential academic and creative institutions. Designers were invited to present innovative and sustainable approaches to textiles, to meet criteria set to demonstrate forward-thinking conceptualisation of sustainable fibres and practices that rework cultural and traditional techniques.

London design house Tengri champions the use of rare fibres from endemic animals, including the yak, an ancient animal dating back 10,000 years, and a rare species of yak from the Khangai region of Mongolia. The studio is committed to referencing nature and natural reinvention to create a sustainable future and working to commercialise heritage and traditional techniques as part of a sustainable production cycle in luxury fashion.


The winner of the Tengri Innovation Award 2018 is designer Henrietta Johns, who graduated in Textile Design BA (Hons) from Central Saint Martins. Henrietta’s work is rooted in a deep exploration of natural animal fibres and innovative designs using traditional felting techniques, creating new fabric surfaces with 100% animal fibre.

Last year she won an industry competition sponsored by Stephen Walters & Sons, an esteemed jacquard weaver. This led to her developing innovative fabrics that featured in their A/W 18 menswear collection at Premier Vision 2017, as well as production of a bespoke jacket for Turnball & Asser as part of its dedication to “the new generation of design”. As winner of the Tengri Innovation Award, Henrietta receives a one-year mentorship with Tengri, as well as a six-month paid internship supported with Tengri Noble Yarns for production and a cash prize.

“The Tengri Innovation Award offers an invaluable opportunity to develop a more systemic approach to design and produce sustainable luxury fabrics,” said Anne Marr, Programme Director Textiles at Central Saint Martins. “This is an exciting new opportunity for our graduates to apply their unique creativity to explore the potential of yak fibres and celebrate both traditional and future craftsmanship skills. Design responsibility is a core element of our course philosophy and we are delighted that our most talented graduates have been recognised for their in-depth research and textile innovation.”


Three runners-up in the Tengri Innovation Award were selected in celebration of their stand-out work in sustainable innovation. Each is awarded Tengri Noble Yarns, fabrics and cash prizes and will be invited to join the Tengri design collective working on the brief for Tengri’s 2019/20 collection.

Christopher Ehrlich, graduate of Central Saint Martins’ BA Fashion Design Menswear, was recognised for his conscientious approach to sustainability with ‘zero off-cut’ pattern cutting, reinventing a traditional tailoring technique used in the early 1900s. Cecile Tulkens, graduate of Central Saint Martins’ BA Fashion Design with Knitwear, was praised for her ability to combine traditional and industrial techniques, incorporating an ancient form of crocheting originated in Belgium into her work.

Finally, Zoe Atkinson, graduate of University of the Arts London, BA Textile Design, with her amour-like knitwear, combined natural materials such as leather skins, wood and soft woolen textures, to create an inventive outlook of future materiality

Positive engagement

“We are so thrilled to have launched the awards with such positive engagement. Our new innovation partnership and awards initiative is a key tool of the Tengri manifesto, working towards a society where sustainable and fair share business is the norm and changing the status quo of the fashion and textile industries,” said Nancy Johnston, Founder of Tengri.

“To make this change we need to look to our future global citizens, talent and influencers, supporting the development of sustainable commercial production in education and training. We look forward to welcoming the very talented winners of this year’s awards to the Tengri collective.”

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