She is also the granddaughter of noted Filipino artist Mauro ‘Malang’ Santos

Isabel Santos and her design

Uniqlo’s annual UT (Uniqlo T-shirt) Grand Prix competition celebrates creativity and talent around the world by turning artists’ works into wearable art. This year, the international clothing giant announces its latest champion, Filipina artist Isabel Santos, giving the Philippines its first win since the launch of the contest in 2005. 

With the theme “Draw Your World,” the 2020 edition of the contest was held in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Isabel bested over 10,000 artists from all over the world with her work titled “A Fortune in Jewels Kept in Your Safe.” 

“My approach, philosophically, was deconstruction and fragmentation. I took elements and shapes from images and combined them into a single picture,” Isabel says. “This is both bewilderingly chaotic and familiar. I like that feeling. I was also drawn to the notion of printing on an entire shirt. I chose images from 1940s and 1950s comics from around the world.”

Her t-shirt design features various cutouts of hairstyles of leading ladies during Hollywood’s golden age. The back of the shirt has all these women’s faces, depicting different emotions, all drawn in a vintage comic book aesthetic. According to Uniqlo, The Grand Prix recipient impressed the judges by integrating elements of images from 1940s and 1950s comic books from around the world. 

“I want to thank Uniqlo for giving artists an opportunity to share their works on a global scale,” Isabel says. “I am so happy and honored that they chose me and my design. I still can’t believe it! Thank you to everyone who made it happen, especially my God, my family and my sons, Noah and Benny.”

Apart from Isabel, the jury, which was composed of artists Lawrence Weiner, Paula Scher, and Sarah Morris, also selected eight winning works including the designs of second prize winner Amandine Leforestier (US, nationality: French) and Melissa Holstein (Germany) in third.

Uniqlo will start selling a collection of all nine winning designs from the UT Grand Prix 2020 contest on Feb. 26, 2021. See the collection here.

Source: Manila Bulletin (