Every fashion week is a chance to shine the spotlight on new blood. In particular, fresh talents make their mark at London Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, two launchpads for emerging designers, thanks to incubator programmes and rosters brimming with up-and-comers. Ahead, we bring you five rising stars of of a new generation who are making waves with their approach to diversity, sustainability, and of course, talent.
Batsheva Hay is not for wallflowers. She takes inspiration from her grandmother and Brooklyn’s elderly residents — a sure sign of a quirky design aesthetic. Batsheva’s claim to fame is Puritanical prairie dresses. Ruffles, bibs, high-necked collars and full skirts a la Victorian— even Amish — styles of dressing.
Her career started from a Laura Ashley dress she reworked, before she moved on to making ’60s- and ’70s-style dresses for friends. This got her noticed on Instagram by a Japanese store. Loved by celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Natalie Portman, Batsheva reclaims historical looks, rejecting antiquated definitions of female repression. The result is a fresh interpretation of what it means to be feminine in 2019.
At New York Fashion Week for her Fall/Winter 2019 presentation, models, which included Christina Ricci, strutted out in frocks inspired by her Salvation Army buys, along with separates of velvet coats, blouses, and cropped trousers.
Southern debutantes meets Dr Seuss was the inspiration behind Christoper John Rogers’ Fall 2019 collection. Since his debut at New York Fashion Week last Spring, the associate designer at Diane Von Furstenberg cemented his reputation as a designer to watch. His second showcase played with proportions once again.
The over-the-top gowns featured hand-painted corset bodices and big hoop or tiered tulle skirts. Blouses came with exaggerated ruffled sleeves. Rogers also showed his range of techniques with fully-boned double-faced satin and denim micro minidresses, denim hand-painted sheaths, satin suits in deep blues, and knife-pleated lamé skirts.
Zilver is of the ‘woke’ generation, tackling both social and environmental causes in one ambitious undertaking. Pedro Lorenco created this gender-fluid label two years after shutting his namesake womenswear label down, citing it as “restrictive.”
Lorenco’s Fall-Winter 2019 collection, called Taurus, underpinned Zilver’s aesthetic of “Classics of the Future” with models in voluminous puffer coats made from recycled nylon and insulated with used plastic bottles, cowboy shirts, and leather trousers. Keeping to his gender-fluid ethos, all the looks for both male and female models are kept to a singular sportswear silhouette.
First discovered at her senior thesis presentation at MFA Parson School of Fashion in summer 2018, Caroline Hu started her own brand after stints at Tory Burch and Jason Wu.
Hu’s touch is exquisite. Reminiscent of Rodarte, her dresses are romantic confections straight out of a modern fairytale. Henri Matisse’s “Woman Reading” inspired her Fall/Winter 2019 collection this NYFW. To resemble the brushstrokes and finish of an oil painting, the dresses are collaged with layers upon layers— sometimes up to 30 — of smocked fabrics, including velvet, silk, and tulle.
Robyn Lynch joins the new generation of Irish designers who are breathing new life into UK’s fashion scene. Lynch’s brand celebrates Irish design, specifically Dublin style with traditional Irish cable knits and sportswear silhouettes.
Her runway debut took place this January at Men’s Fashion Week in London. Lynch showcased her collection as part of Fashion East, an initiative that supports emerging young designers with mentoring industry veterans and sponsorships.
With heritage at the forefront of her designs, Lynch took inspiration from archive footage of players and fans at the Dublin Games. Tonal looks were executed with panache, with chunky cableknits paired with joggers and monochrome tracksuits.