Over the past few months, the American fashion industry has been drawing up new ways to support emerging talent, and now one of its own members is doing just that. Han Chong, the man behind contemporary fashion darling Self-Portrait, has just launched an Instagram competition to support young designers' creativity.

Chong's understanding of how creatives are struggling during COVID-19 led him to form this competition. Open to creatives around the globe, the competition, he hopes, will encourage youth across fields like design, film, photography and more.

"I want to support and foster this thriving creative community where artistic expression refuses to be limited during these challenging times," Chong said in a statement. "Investing in the next generation of talent is fundamental."

The rules are simple: Upload and post a photo, video, or any artistic medium that represents the competition's theme of "HOPE" to Instagram, tagging @mrselfportrait and #SPFORHOPE. Alongside a panel of industry experts, Chong will select five winning works. Their creators will each receive £5000, and be featured on Self-Portrait's website, social media and newsletter.

"During this time of adversity and isolation, we hold on to the value of hope to get us through challenging times," Chong wrote on Self-Portrait's website. "Without this fundamental belief, creativity just couldn't exist, definitely not for me. I wanted to have this competition to push and encourage us to harness the power of our imagination."

Chong paying it forward to creatives starting out in fashion is a fitting gesture considering it wasn't long ago that the Malaysian-born designer, an alumni of Central Saint Martin's, was one himself. Self-Portrait is still a relatively young brand since its founding in late 2013, but has since gone on to make a name for itself among the cool downtown crowd. Chong's shows are prime events at New York Fashion Week, and he's dressed influential women ranging from Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex to Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Kendall Jenner.

Don't hesitate to post your submissions ASAP — the competition closes on Friday, August 7. For the project's brief, guidelines and more, visit www.self-portrait-studio.com.

Photos courtesy of Self-Portrait

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