Stella McCartney, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and Burberry are iconic UK fashion houses that have become household names. Carrying on the tradition of awesome Brit-based design talent are the new garde whose names will soon be tripping off your tongue.
J.W. Anderson – The Androgynous Aficionado
Who: LVMH bought a minority stake in J.W. Anderson’s eponymous label and the designer was announced as the Creative Director of Loewe last year. J.W.’s boy-girl aesthetic is clinical, distinctive and unique. Much like Prada, Anderson’s anti-sexy ethos makes for surprisingly provocative design that’s always one step ahead of the curve and has all the cool girls taking notes. They are highly wearable designs and Philip Green obviously thought so when he invited J.W. to design two capsule collections for Topshop in 2013. The unlikely marriage of J.W. and Versace, under the banner Versus (if only for one season), proved that J.W. can be behave commercially whilst managing to remain unerringly challenging and surprising.
Known for: Cult twists such as armbands, ribbed knits, culottes, kilts and platform brogues.
Worn by: Selena Gomez, Rita Ora and Kate Bosworth.
Simone Rocha – The Pearly Queen
Who: Simone’s meteoric rise has nothing to do with who her dad is (John Rocha), or the luck of the Irish. Simone graduated from her MA at Central Saint Martins in 2010 and then gained backing from Newgen – the BFC’s talent scheme. Simone’s AW14 collection was inspired by Anne Boleyn (talk about a strong British heroine) and however undeniably Tudor in swagger this collection was, Simone’s Anne had been dragged in to the 21st century. This Anne looked ready to rule over a gentrified-punk London, as does Simone.
Known for: Pearl-trimmed hosiery, lace macs and floating Perspex brogues.
Worn by: Alexa Chung, Chloe Moretz and Lady Gaga.
Ashley Williams – The Girl About London Town
Who: Introducing London’s newest ‘It’ girl. Another Newgen affiliate, Ashley was quickly recognised after she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2012. Sure, it helps to have roommates like Pixie Geldof to swan about in your looks, but Ashley’s status was sealed when Rihanna stepped off her 777 tour plane in her ‘smoking hands’ white trouser suit.
Know for: Witty slogans, kitsch Americana prints and teddy bear bags have cemented her as East London’s finest sartorial ambassador.
Worn by: Harry Styles and Rihanna.
Marques Almeida – The Denim Dynamos
Who: Denim is back in a big way, and at the helm of that stone-washed ship are Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida. Central Saint Martins grads to boot, these denim genii have risen up the fashion ranks in the blink of an eye. Graduating in 2009 the subsequent experience gained under Vivienne Westwood is apparent in their punky tailoring and grunge attitude. Stocked by Opening Ceremony and Matchesfashion.com, fashion insiders have this duo tipped for very big things. Who new denim could feel so new?
Known for: Rough edged denim tunics, camo prints, organza mackintoshes, cow-print suede separates and denim shift dresses.
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Worn by: The ripped jeans were street style fodder this season.
Thomas Tait – The New Futuristic Visonary
Who: At just 22, Canadian-born Thomas was the youngest ever graduate of Central Saint Martins’ famously gruelling MA course. Post-uni, Tait received coveted Newgen sponsorship from the British Fashion Council, and Stephen Jones, Daphne Guinness and Manolo Blahnik were compelled to name him the first ever winner of the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize in 2010, giving him access to £25,000 worth of funding. A self-confessed ‘clean-freak’, Tait favours minimalist, crisp lines and oversized fits. Tait is meticulous with his process, cutting his own patterns and insists on doing most of the garment construction himself.
Known for: Architectural silhouettes, sharp coats and avant-garde finish.
Worn by: Rita Ora
Lucas Nascimento – The Knitwear Guru
Who: Nascimento’s stamp is scarily technical knitwear. Following in the footsteps of Mark Fast et al, Lucas is a knitwear designer first and foremost. Graduating from London College of Fashion in 2008, and securing Newgen backing in 2012, the Brazilian-born designer has become a highlight of London Fashion Week. Openly obsessed with the way in which ‘old women’ dress themselves, the Nascimento look is methodical, co-ordinated, simple and demure. He cites navy as his favourite colour and it always features in his collections. This is a man after our own hearts and the buyers agree – this rising star is already stocked by Matchesfashion.com and Net-a-Porter.
Known for: Cocoon silhouettes, tactile textures, tube dresses and NAVY.
Worn by: Fashion insiders.
Sophia Webster – The Shoe-In
Who: Sophia’s Webster’s shoes are as close to confectionary as footwear can get and have already been seen strapped to the soles of some of the world’s most glamorous women. Sophia landed the much-coveted gig as Nicholas Kirkwood’s design assistant and spent two years with him before launching her eponymous brand in 2012, after winning backing from Newgen. Her presentation at LFW is always a hot ticket, generally featuring heel-clad models in tableaux vivants ( for SS14 she had models dressed as ladybirds lounging around to 90s hip-hop on flowerbeds in a purpose built fairytale garden). Sophia has been busy working on a second collaboration with J. Crew, which will be available at the end of this month, and, is planning to open a debut flagship store in 2015.
Known for: Eye-popping colours, perky patterns, and shoes and clutches embossed witty slogans like, ‘Hot Stepper’ and ‘Say My Name’.
Worn by: SJP and Rihanna.
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