Fashion

The emerging designers to watch at London Fashion Week

Twice a year, all eyes are on the British capital to find out who will become the hottest designers showing at London Fashion Week (LFW) that will be on everyone’s lips for the upcoming season. As the fashion industry is preparing to attend real-life events once again, we take a look at why London is the place to be for young designers.

Feben is an artist and designer based in London, and a recent graduate of Central Saint Martins. She takes a surrealistic approach to exploring the visual codes of Black life from all corners of the globe (Feben)

Compared to Paris and Milan, where big houses have established their empire for decades, London is a place for experimentation, avant-gardism and where young designers are given a voice as soon as they come out from university. It’s not surprising to see burgeoning talents become tomorrow’s fashion star during the bi-annual fashion week event happening in February and September each year. London’s reputation has always been a proving ground for emerging designers, from Alexander McQueen to John Galliano, and their creative ideas, which aren’t restricted to a brand’s codes or aesthetic, can easily go viral and propel them into the spotlight. Here, they are free to express themselves without constraints before getting scouted and adopted by fashion’s power houses.

London designer Maximilian presented his collections at London Fashion Week SS22 (Chris Yates/ Chris Yates Media)

If London is a city that churns out an incredible amount of promising fashion designers, it’s mainly because it is home to esteemed universities such as Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion. Competition there is fierce for the fashion students who are expected to show years of work at the end of their curriculum at a major fashion week event in front of a crowded audience of key industry leaders including press, buyers, tutors and design teams.

With COVID-19, graduates saw their show being cancelled and had to fall back on digital presentations in the form of short films, which recorded the journey of making collections from home, selecting fabrics online without touching them and fitting clothes on themselves instead of models. In lieu of a catwalk, virtual rooms were dedicated to each designer and their presentation, a set-up that was more meaningful and personal according to CSM’s Masters students. In June 2021, however, fashion students returned to real-life presentations and the excitement could be deeply felt. This season again, with the lifting of COVID restrictions in the UK, the show must (and will) go on.

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