Tait is one of the youngest nominees in a crop of designers that also includes Cédric Charlier, Julien David, Vika Gazinskaya, Calla Haynes and Nicolas Andreas Taralis.
And he’s excited.
‘I found out the good news just over a week ago,’ Tait told us on Thursday morning. ‘It’s been a bit tough to keep my excitement concealed since then.’
The prestigious prize carries a monetary award of €230,000, as well as Swarovski crystals worth €10,000 to use in a forthcoming collection, mentorship from the CEO of LVMH’s fashion division, and a commitment by Canada’s Hudson Bay Company to buy the winner’s SS13 collection.
‘I’ve been sort of a one-man band for the past couple of years, so it would definitely help me to expand my team and get the facilities I need to continue growing my product,’ Tait said. ‘Money like this is what my company needs to move onto a global platform.’
Finalists will undergo vetting by a 24-member jury of industry insiders before the winner is named on 5 July. Jurors include Pierre Bergé, Opening Ceremony founder and Kenzo creative director Humberto Leon, Christian Dior executive Delphine Arnault, Les Arts Decoratifs fashion curator Pamela Golbin and ANDAM prize founder Nathalie Dufour, who personally invited Tait to apply when the two met in Paris last spring.
‘This is a huge platform,’ Tait said. ‘It’s an incredible opportunity to touch base with people from the industry who I have looked up to for quite awhile. The judges are people who are really sculpting the industry and who have had impact on the shape of fashion for over a decade.’
Should Tait win, he will join an accomplished group of ANDAM alumni including fellow London designers Gareth Pugh and Giles Deacon. In addition, he will have the opportunity to show his collection in Paris. ‘I do love Paris and would look forward to spending more time there,’ he said. But that doesn’t mean he perceives a lack of opportunities in London, the city where he launched his career.
‘London will always be recognised as the young fashion week out of the pack because we have so many amazing fashion colleges and so much sponsorship available to young fashion businesses,’ he said. ‘What’s special about London right now is that people have realised that yes, we’re very young and very crazy, but we are here to sell clothes as well.'
Last year's winner Anthony Vaccarello said he was 'totally shocked' to win, but Tait should be more familiar with acclaim. When he won the inaugural Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize in 2010, judge Manolo Blahnik praised his 'incredible couture mind' and promised that Tait would 'come up as one of the few couturiers.'