London has long been known a hub for seeding fashion talent, through their leading fashion schools, and nurturing the best of British [based] brands by an active support mechanism of British Fashion Council. This week was like no other with more emerging designer names than ever on the official London Fashion Week calendar.
From Estonian Roberta Einer’s presentation to Polish Marta Jakubowski’s catwalk show, BFC Newgen One to Watch award winners were collecting positive industry reviews at the 180 Strand, official London Fashion Week location. Marta Jakubowski’s AW18 collection was particularly refreshing and entertaining to watch – the 1992 Whitney Houston was reincarnated through the mood, music and the aesthetics of the late 80s – early 90s.
Next door, Fashion Scout, probably the best-known off-schedule event for the emerging designer during London Fashion Week, was hosting shows and presentations of their own ‘Ones to Watch’ award throughout the week. From raunchy catwalk dance-offs at Fortie Label by UK-based designer Essie Buckman to impeccable products by a 28-year-old Chinese designer i-am-chen, Fashion Scout has to offer an alternative angle to the London Fashion Week.
Meanwhile at the ‘student halls’ LFW was officially showing even three on-schedule universities: Central Saint Martins MA Fashion graduate collection, London College of Fashion MA and University of Westminster’s BA fashion graduate shows. Westminster becoming the ‘youngest’ participant at London Fashion Week with the first on-schedule BA show at London Fashion Week, did a good job. The selection of eleven designers represented unique aesthetics, strong social statements and purposefully diverse collections – from RTW in its purest sense to theatrical interpretations of RTW across both, menswear and womenswear. Lauren Audley stood out with her see-it-wear-it 00s glam collection of glitter and faux fur while her counterpart William Dill-Russell presented a history lesson of beautifully researched historical clothing exploring gender identity in constraint society. A special mention should be attributed to Catriona Willson who delicately recreated an emotion of grief in her graduate collection.
The Central Saint Martins MA students once again ruled the catwalk at London Fashion Week with the Press and buyers sweating their palms to see the next ‘it’ emerging designer. As usual, the entertainment mission was in hands of the closing collection, this time by an American designer Edwin Mohney whose inflatable swimming pool dress and trumpets (heels made of Trump’s masks) were probably favourite Instagram moments. However, there were quite a few among the 18 designers who demonstrated immaculate craftsmanship, innovative design, fabric development and design techniques. Amongst them, Welsh Rebecca Jeffs, with a perfectly subtle white dress made from silk knickers, and Barcelonan menswear designer Archie Alled Martinez presenting an impressively tailored tightly knitted high-end menswear collection.
With London-based designers breeding from the furthest corners of Eastern Europe to the Far East – London has definitely retained its crown as an international fashion capital nurturing the best emerging designers. Let’s sit and wait what March 2019 brings.