From a swimwear brand that actually celebrates swimming to a Munich-based company that finds vintage fabrics and dyes them black, it’s been a great year for emerging talent on T. Here, 15 standout creators (featured in our weekly On the Verge series) worth knowing.
Sometimes, the simplest things are the hardest to get right — that’s the belief of the swimwear designer Tuyen Nguyen, who spent nearly a year working on the fit, fabrication and cut of her line of fuss-free swimsuits before she launched her label, Her. Nguyen conceived of a line of minimal swimwear made from high-quality materials at a reasonable price point. Above all, she says, the pieces had to be easy to wear. “With swim, you’re pretty much wearing nothing in public,” she says. “We all have different body shapes — so it’s about finding out what parts of the body can be accentuated, what can be covered up or should come in a different silhouette so that women of all types can feel comfortable.” Read the story.
The idea behind the British line Bruta is simple but unusual: The brand makes two distinct products, embroidered shirts and hand-painted pots. “When I was younger I stayed on a farm in Argentina and I met all the gauchos,” says the brand’s founder and designer, Arthur Yates. (He called his first collection “Go Gauguin Go,” and his second “Gaucho Zambo.”) “When I was out there, they were all being shifted off their pampas, because a big corporation was buying out all their land. So it was quite sad seeing that culture dying, and I was paying a homage to that.” Read the story.
The designer Kenneth Nicholson had an unusual path to fashion. At age 20, he enlisted in the Navy — “because at the time I thought they had the best uniforms,” he said. At boot camp in Chicago, he found time to paint and sketch, drawing inspiration from the city and the rigid structure of his barracks. Eventually, he moved to Los Angeles, where he lives today (but not before enrolling in the Art Institute of Dallas, working briefly at a former subsidiary of Halliburton in Afghanistan and helping a friend open a lounge in Thailand). In a way, his first official men’s collection, which he launched in January, was a reaction to his experiences traveling the world. It includes tunic-length shirts with epaulets, extra-wide-leg pants and a softly draped motorcycle jacket — all in linen. His approach is less about blurring gender lines than it is about creating something that’s more inclusive. “There’s a lack of options in men’s wear,” he said. “I think masculinity is important and something to be celebrated. If one is to limit the options of men’s wear, that can be taxing and imposing.” Read the story.
Dôen, which launched in February, is a direct-to-consumer contemporary line that stocks casual, bohemian staples inspired by the Santa Barbara upbringing of its founders, the sisters Margaret and Katherine Kleveland. They see the brand as a celebration of motherhood, sisterhood and modern femininity. This philosophy extends to how they produce their vaguely bohemian garments: All of the factories Dôen employs — in India and Peru — are owned or co-owned by women and are ethically run. Read the story.
Sheena Yaitanes has a zero-waste philosophy about makeup. “So many beauty products exist for no reason,” said Yaitanes, a California native who started Kosas, a line of makeup basics, last October. “They’re so unnecessary.” She began with lipsticks. “It was the area that always perturbed me the most, in terms of having an excess of colors,” she said. An avid painter with a background in science, Yaitanes, 32, began mixing acrylic paints in her Los Angeles home, determined to find a palette that would look good against any complexion. After 12 months of tinkering, she hit upon her range of eight fuss-free shades that are “really easy” to wear, she said. She plans to release a blush and highlighter duo next year, with mascara, foundation and concealer to follow. Read the story.
Babes in Bathers
Swimsuits should be made for swimming — yet surprisingly few on the market actually are. Unlike many lines, the new Babes in Bathers, founded by 27-year-old Maayan Sherris, not only facilitates swimming, but celebrates it. The brand evolved out of a passion project that Sherris, a recent Parsons graduate and former employee at the Row, began last year when she shadowed the Columbia University women’s swim team for months in search of inspiration. “I had this idea of using real women and real situations to provoke fashion and original beauty,” she says. Speaking with the young women on the team, Sherris became inspired by not only their muscled physicality, but also their drive, ambition — and positive body image. So she created a handful of swim styles for the team to wear that, besides being functional, “would show off all the muscles, and stuff that swimsuits often try to hide.” Read the story.
Jacques-Elie Ribeyron doesn’t speak like a typical fashion designer. “I work very fast when I design, actually,” he says. “I draw these files and send them to the 3D printer. If I spend more than two to three days on it, I get bored.” That may explain the minimal, industrial aesthetic of his year-old accessories and jewelry brand, Ribeyron, which draws as much from objects found at hardware stores and bondage shops as it does from the automotive artworks of John Chamberlain. Read the story.
Grounded in clean-lined basics, the designer Cate Holstein’s debut collection for Khaite was elevated by subtle contrasts: Airy crepe blouses and dresses were cut in long, masculine silhouettes; sporty, cropped knits were made from a rich, felted cashmere. The clothing has “a strong, feminine perspective,” Holstein said, but “doesn’t go girlie or precious or pretty.” A muted color palette of buttery cream, hunter green, deep navy and crisp white evokes ’90s-era Gap (where Holstein designed knitwear in her 20s), and makes for deceptively simple pieces punctuated by eccentric accents like oversize velvet bows, woven necklines and extra-long sleeves. Read the story.
Renli Su’s collection for fall/winter 2015 was mostly monochrome: The designer chose cream-colored cottons and linens, and hand-embroidered them with tiny flowers and branches. Her clothes have a roomy elegance; their distinctive shape, she says, comes from an ancient Chinese method of pattern cutting, in which fabrics are cut flat, on a table, rather than on a three-dimensional model. The pieces reward those who look closely: they are immaculately finished and lined, with neatly gathered waists, slashed sleeves and velvet-ribbon hems. They also have a reassuring weight — some pieces have three layers. Read the story.
In just over a year, Dilara Findikoglu has established herself as one of London’s most rebellious designers. Her aesthetic is unmistakable: She combines ’70s tailoring with embroidered motifs borrowed from rock ’n’ roll iconography, religious symbols, tattoo mythology and the femme fetish art of the midcentury illustrator John Willie. “It started with the idea of girl rock stars with male groupies,” she says of her initial inspiration. “I love metal and glam rock but when you look at how all those straight male stars treated women, it’s disgusting. I wanted my girls to be the bosses and the boys to be in the band T-shirts.” Read the story.
Katie Roberts Wood
A mathematical thread runs through the work of Katie Roberts Wood, a young designer who debuted at London Fashion Week this year. (Her line was also picked up by Dover Street Market.) The experimental graduate collection she presented at the Royal College of Art featured laser-cut jigsaw pieces of bonded felt and Lycra and her spring/summer 2017 collection featured unstitched, plaited silk organza. “I get inspired by organic structures and repetitions in nature,” she says. Read the story.
John Alexander Skelton
When it comes to finding inspiration, the British men’s wear designer John Alexander Skelton is more likely to turn to museums and archives than the internet. After all, he got the idea for his M.A. collection at Central Saint Martins — which earned him the school’s prestigious L’Oréal Prize earlier this year — from the archives of Mass Observation, an extensive anthropological survey in the mid-20th century. “The British Library is an amazing resource,” he says. All of his pieces, which are made of vintage fabrics, are totally one-of-a-kind. Read the story.
Matty Bovan, of York, England, won the attention of Marc Jacobs — before he even showed his first official collection. His joyful, kaleidoscopic aesthetic — marked by a cacophony of textures, psychedelic colors and sculptural knits — helped Bovan stand out during his London Fashion Week debut in September. “I wanted to do a wardrobe, something more sexy and glamorous but in a twisted way,” Bovan told T of his collection that debuted with Fashion East in September. “I wanted to do clothes for going out where you can be the pinnacle of what you want to be.” Read the story.
It’s not every day that you get a spot on the London Collections: Men schedule straight out of school. Then again, Kiko Kostadinov is far from an average Central Saint Martins student. Though he graduated from the M.A. Fashion course only this past May, the men’s wear designer already has a collaboration with Stüssy under his belt, a NEWGEN Men sponsorship — and a yearlong deal to be exclusively stocked at Dover Street Market. Read the story.
Jeremy McAlpine is constantly looking for underwear — and the older it is, the better. The founder and chief executive of the two-year-old brand Blackyoto has dealers in Paris, London and all over the Alpine region of Europe who call when they’ve found something good. “Late-19th- and early-20th-century undergarments — bloomers, petticoats, nightdresses and slips — make up the core of our women’s collection,” he said. He visits flea markets around Europe and works with vintage dealers to collect the garments. But before being sent out to luxury clothing retailers around the world (Dover Street Market is one of them), each piece is dyed black. Read the story.