About the contest

Contest Mission and Objectives

The main mission of the contest is to afford young talented designers the opportunity to become known in the field and to show their vision to fashion experts.

The main objectives of Admiralty Needle Fashion Contest:

  • To encourage young designers’ creative initiative and to promote the youth social activities;
  • To develop conditions for the youth to achieve their creative potential in the field of design;
  • To contribute to training specialists in the field of clothing and textile industry;
  • To publicize young designers’ creativity in different ways including the mass media;
  • To attract both Russian and foreign specialists interested in fashion and design;
  • To make students and young specialists aware of latest trends of the world fashion industry;
  • To establish conditions for building and maintaining links with creative youth from the neighboring countries and beyond, contributing to professional and creative exchanges.

Contest History

Saint-Petersburg State University of Technology and Design (SPSUTD) is the organizer of Admiralty Needle International Contest for Young Designers. Alexey V. Demidov, professor, rector of Saint-Petersburg State University of Technology and Design is the president of the Contest.

Saint-Petersburg State University of Technology and Design becomes a venue for the world fashion annually at the end of October. The history of the International Contest dates from 1995. The idea and concept of the contest emerged in Saint-Petersburg State University of Technology and Design which had held a regional Smirnov’s Fashion Contest before.

The forum of young designers from Russia, neighbouring countries and beyond attracts to the University prominent Russian and foreign fashion designers, both professionals in the fashion industry and young talented, creative designers, prospective stars of Russian and world catwalks. Admiralty Needle has been holding leading positions among European youth fashion contests for 18 years. Moreover, Admiralty Needle has become one of the most large-scaled and spectacular cultural events not only in Saint-Petersburg but on a nationwide scale. During its 18-year history over 11,000 contestants from all regions of Russia and 20 countries have participated in the Contest, they have presented over 8,000 collections of garments, footwear, and accessories to the professional jury and discerning audience of Saint-Petersburg. The high European level of the Contest organization, strict contestants’ selection, friendly atmosphere, purity of the international jury, and exclusive master-classes held by leading fashion professionals attract an increasingly large number of young fashion designers every year. Attention of the printed press and mass-media, media and Internet portals and online broadcasting of the Contest have let Admiralty Needle Contest become a truly people’s fashion contest.

The primary objectives of Admiralty Needle Contest are to create conditions for unlocking design creativity in the youth, to publicize young designers’ creativity, to assist in preparing textile and clothing industry specialists, to make young fashion designers aware of the latest fashion trends and to provide environment for the creative youth from Russia, countries of the former Soviet Union and from all over the world to develop relations and both professional and creative ties and exchanges.

Admiralty Needle Contest has served as a springboard to the fashion career for a lot of famous Russian designers. The Admiralty Needle Grand-Prix of 2000 was awarded to Alena Akhmadullina, SPSUTD graduate. Nowadays, Alena Akhmadullina is a widely-known Russian and European fashion designer, who have conquered catwalks in Milan and Paris and whose name ranks among the top 100 young fashion designers of the day. Admiralty Needle has become a rise to prominence in fashion for David Koma, one more winner of the Contest. In 2001, a 16-year-old phenomenon impressed a strict jury with his provocative and flamboyant collection. Twelve years later a lot of world celebrities, such as Kylie Minogue, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Cheryl Cole, Alicia Keys, Maria Sharapova, Natalia Vodianova, Megan Fox, Beyoncé, Dita von Teese and the others wear English brand David Koma.

Last Contest of 2012 has not become an exception as well. Olga Malyarova, a fourth-year student of SPSUTD, got the Grand-Prix of the Contest for her beautiful dressy collection of evening dresses named Nature’s Touch. Outlandish birds perched on a white catwalk, exotic flowers came into blossom, and everything was sparkling and iridescent thanks to a rich trimming and Swarovski crystals. The audience were watching every dress as a masterpiece. The Grand-Prix of €10,000 allowed Olga Malyarova to start promoting her own brand Olga Malyarova.

During its developmental history the jury of the Contest has been headed by talented, distinctive and famous fashion designers, such as Nonna Melicova and Irina Safronova, awarded the honorary Russian Federation government distinction of ‘Distinguished Artist of the Russian Federation’; Vladimir Buhinnik, an established authority in advance-guard fashion. Every Art Director has made his/her own invaluable contribution towards the Contest development and promotion. Lubov Rubenyan has been holding this position for 4 years, she is a fashion designer and Russian and international fashion contests prize winner.

Jury members are changed every year, but the jury professional and international status remains unaffected. A lot of prominent fashion figures of Russia have served on the jury during these years, for instance, Vyacheslav Zaitsev, Tatyana Parfionova, Evelina Hromchenko, Andrey Bartenev, Vladislav Aksenov, Alexander Petrov, Alexander Vasiliev, Alena Akhmadullina, Denis Simachev, David Koma, Leonid Alexeev, Tatyana Kotegova, Ianis Chamalidy. Foreign fashion designers are also regularly invited. Pacco Rabanne, Ali Anzari, Shinichi Kushigemachi, Wendy Dagworthy, Susan Lassen, Donata Sartorio, Didier Lecoanet, Cedric Brochier, Orietta Pelizzari, Luba Popova, Adrien Parry Roberts, Leslie Holden, Andrea Moretti and Martine Villelongue are just a few of fashion designers and couturiers from all over the world who have judged at the Contest.

Different historical and cultural places have been chosen as venues for the final catwalks and gala-night fashion shows during the Contest history.

In 2002, the final catwalk of the International Contest took place in the solemn Marble Hall of the Russian Museum of Ethnography, one of the largest museums of the world.

In 2005, the final of the Contest was held in the State Academic Capella of Saint-Petersburg, the oldest professional musical house in the country.

In 2006, the audience watched the final catwalk show in Baltic House Theatre festival, which is justly considered to be one of the centres of modern art.

In 2009, the catwalk show and prize-awarding ceremony were conducted among old and vintage trams in the Museum of Electrical Transport of the City.

In 2010, gala catwalk show took place in the Atrium of the Commandant’s House in the Peter and Paul Fortress, one of the most beautiful exhibition halls in Saint-Petersburg.

In 2012, the Concert hall of Saint-Petersburg State University of Technology and Design was transformed into a creative and stylish fashion venue and welcomed participants, audience and fans of the Contest.

Organizing Committee of Admiralty Needle introduces innovations and reforms every year. In 2009, Underwear contest category was introduced. Variety is also added to the Clothes Contest and Footwear and Accessories Contest. Children’s wear contest category was held for the first time in 2012. Children’s wear fashion contest captured attention of a great number of Russian and European specialists, journalists, and common people. About 70 professional young fashion models aged from 3 to 15 appeared on the catwalk and raised smiles of both discerning jury and audience members, nobody was left untouched.

Interesting creative teams, dancing groups, vocal bands and sports teams have performed in the frame of the Contest during its long history. Distinctive performances, exhibitions and flashmobs have become an indispensable feature of the Contest.

It is worth noting that all winners of the Contest get substantial sums of money, and long-term internships at major fashion houses of Russia and Europe as rewards. A lot of famous companies of the world fashion industry, leading European trend forecasting bureaus and famous educational institutions, such as CARLIN International Groupe, Premier Vision (Paris, France), Mattori (Milan, Italy), Fashion Silk House (Lyon, France) Istituto Marangoni (Milan, Italy), AMD Academy of Fashion and Design (Munich, Germany), DOMUS AKADEMY and NABA New Academy of Fine Arts (Milan, Italy), St. Martins College of Art (London, Great Britain), Royal College of Art (London, Great Britain), Bunka Fashion Graduate University (Tokyo, Japan), Université de la Mode (Lyon, France), AMFI (Amsterdam, Holland), Societa Italia (Milan, Italy), FASHION THREADS web-site (London, Great Britain) have become longstanding partners of the Contest.

Winners and laureates of the Contest are entitled to present Admiralty Needle Contest and their collections at such international fashion shows as London Graduate Fashion Week (London, the UK), Mod’ Art fashion festival (Rimini, Italy) BUNKA Graduate Fashion Week (Tokyo, Japan) and Jeansation International Denim Contest (Monte Carlo, Principality of Monaco) for a year.