Albertus Swanepoel x BENCH Manila Hat Collaboration

South African born Albertus Swanepoel has been "fashion's favorite milliner" for quite some time. The highlight of his career in New York was receiving the coveted first runner up Award in the Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund Competition in 2008. IN 2009, he was nominated as Accessory Designer of the Year for the CFDA/Swarovski Award.

After graduating as a Graphic Designer, Mr. Swanepoel began his career in fashion under his Quartus Manna label in the 1980's in Johannesburg, South Africa. He won the Coty Award as top designer in the country in 1987 and left for NYC in 1989.

Mr. Swanepoel trained as a milliner under Janine Galimard at FIT, who worked for Cristobal Balenciaga in Paris. He then apprenticed with Lola Hats for several years and also had experience as a theatrical milliner.

In 2000, he acted briefly as the Style Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine.

In 2004, he was asked to make the hats for the Marc by Marc Jacobs FW2005 show.

His current list of runway clients include Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Carolina Herrera, Bill Blass, Cushnie et Ochs, Narciso Rodriguez, Ohne Titel, Tommy Hilfinger, Perry Ellis, Billy Reid, Peter Som and several more.

He has collaborated with the Gap, Target, J. Crew, Stetson and Club Monaco on capsule collections.

His collection hats are sold at Barneys New York, Tomorrowland in Tokyo and 10 Corso Como in Seoul to name a few.

His work has been featured in most international fashion magazine. Two of his hats were part of the "Hat's an Anthology" an exhibition curated by Stephen Jones. This exhibition started at the Victoria and Albert Museum and then traveled worldwide.

Mr. Swanepoel was also awarded the Accessory Designer of the Year award in the African Fashion International Fashionweek in Johannesburg in 2010, and nominated for Accessory Designer in the WGSN Awards in the same year.

In the fall of 2013, the prestigious men's store, Odin New York, created an installation in honor of Mr. Swanepoel's craft and work throughout the years.

Newly in 2014, Mr. Swanepoel has been asked by Bench Manila to design a capsule collection exclusive to the Philippine Market.

In 2014, he also received the Laureate Award from the University of Pretoria, where he studies Fine Arts.

He still lives in New York City, collaborating with some of the best designers in the industry and continues to produce collections under his namesake label.

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