Lately I’ve been obsessed with Not Just a Label (NJAL) again after watching the Show Studio fashion week panels and getting bored of shopping from the same old designers on ASOS, and have discovered some amazing new labels all from art schools in the UK. In these turbulent post-Brexit times, I think its more important than ever to celebrate creative talent from all over the world that has come to Britain to get top-quality fashion education and stayed to start successful brands here. At my own university, Heriot Watt School of Textiles and Designs, many of the programmes are EU-funded, as are courses all over the UK, and the future is now uncertain. Anyway, here are 5 fashion designers to watch that I discovered on NJAL; Sofia Ilmonen, Hangjun Jo, Anita Nemkyova, Shauni Douglas and Charlie May.
Originally from Finland and now based in East London, Sofia Ilmonen creates fun, feminine pieces with a streetwear edge; embracing current trends like frayed hems and oversized ruffles, but playing with colour and texture to create a new aesthetic that feels youthful and fresh. She was named in the ‘Ones to Watch’ list in Wonderland Magazine and in ‘200 Emerging Designers’ by Vogue Italia, an impressive feat for a very recent graduate from the London College of Fashion.
Structural, cleverly crafted pieces with a gender-defying twist, Hangjun Jo is a South Korean fashion designer who studied at the Glasgow School of Art. The latest collection is inspired by 1920’s sportswear and features innovative prints, structural silhouettes and randomised pattern cutting referencing cubism.
Slovak designer Anita Nemkyoza, a graduate of the University of Glamorgan in Cardiff, creates unique and empowering leather accessories that accentuate the strong female form. She aims to celebrate traditional craftsmanship and heritage while creating futuristic, alien structures, combining Italian leather with laser-cut perspex that she designs straight onto a 3D form.
The ‘urban cowboy’ inspired collection by this Edinburgh menswear designer caught my eye as ideas about belonging and contrasts between rich and poor created a strong, gang-inspired aesthetic. Douglas was the winner of the Graduate Fashion Week Prize for Best Menswear Collection June 2013.
I actually first found out about this London-based designer in 2012 when I took part in a Fashion Styling course at Central St Martins and the class were taken to visit Charlie May in her studio to see the designs behind the scenes. I was immediately taken by the rich textures juxtaposed with origami-style structural silhouettes. May now creates regular collections for both women and men with a contemporary minimalist feel.
Who are your designers to watch this year? Let me know in the comments!
Ruth @ Urbanity xxx