16 international emerging designers you need to know
As part of London Fashion Week, the designers will present installations celebrating their home.
Photography Alice Whitby
London Fashion Week autumn/winter 19 is almost here, and with it comes the seventh International Fashion Showcase at Somerset House. A platform for global designers to display their work, this year 16 emerging talents have been chosen from across the world to present installations that respond to their respective home countries, shown as part of a free exhibition open to the public. From a Kenyan jewellery designer to the Dutch unisex label behind Janelle Monae’s infamous ‘vagina’ trousers, the breadth of different voices, styles and inspirations is a healthy reminder -- needed now more than ever -- of the importance of diversity and international collaboration. Here, we meet each of the designers to discuss their work and upcoming presentations.
Rahemur Rahman, 28, Bangladesh, menswear
What's your background in? Fashion Design Menswear at CSM, leather accessories at Louis Vuitton, creative direction in South Asian fashion and modest clothing. What do you draw inspiration from? Old family photographs. What do you most want people to know about you as a designer? That I’m trying to change for the better. That I use fashion to speak for me when words fail. What do you hope people will take away from viewing your designs? I hope people ask themselves about the clothing they wear, how it makes them feel, and importantly, its impact on the world around us. The future of fashion is… Open. Open to discussion, open to new narratives, open to new world ideas, open to everyone.
David Lee, 27, Brazil, menswear
What is your background? My background was built primarily from my experience in new talent competitions as well as the process of manufacturing of small local brands of my region. What do you take inspiration from? From everything I see, but mainly from people's behaviour. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? My approach to men's clothing comes from the contrasts present in manhood. What do you expect people to see in your clothing? May they broaden their eyes on fashion in Brazil and also expand their concepts of masculinity and contemporary the man. The future of fashion is… Handmade, sustainable, collaborative.
Curtis Oland, 29, Okanagan Valley, Canada, menswear and womenswear
What's your background in? I started with a fine art degree majoring in sculpture, which led to a second degree in fashion design. What do you draw inspiration from? My indigenous Lil'Wat Nation heritage, and the supernatural, western Canadian landscape of my ancestors. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? My approach to design is fuelled by my own self-exploration, through the healing process of mending cultural diaspora, and connecting with the land, all my relations, and the ancestors that came before me. What do you hope people will take away from viewing your designs at LFW? A reminder that we are a humble part of the land, and we should continue to navigate this terrain with care and respect.
Laura Laurens, Bogotá-Colombia, womenswear and genderless
What do you draw inspiration from? From questioning the idea of borders, from paradoxes from Earth and beyond! How does your home inform the designs you make? I work with things that we don't want to see because we have seen them too much or they have become stigmatised. And the unknown of from my country. The fabrics and leftovers from the war in Colombia. I run workshops with people that don’t have visibility and opportunities -- the transgender artisans from the Emberá Chamí community in the Reserve Karmata Rúa and the ex-combats of the conflict -- to re-integrate them to civil life. The future of fashion is... Breaking paradigms and keep on rocking.
Situationist: Irakli Rusadze, 28, Georgia, menswear and womenswear
What do you draw inspiration from? People I don’t know and people whose faces I don’t remember. How does your home inform the designs you make? I speak about the social and economic issues of home through fashion. What do you hope people will take away from viewing your designs at LFW? To see Georgia from the point of view of young Georgians. The future of fashion is… We will figure it out.
Naushad Ali, 33, Pondicherry, India, menswear and womenswear
What's your background in? I have a BA in Fashion. I have been working in the industry since 2008 and I started my own label, Naushad Ali, in 2014. How does India inform the designs you make? As a sustainable fashion label, we have always endeavoured to relook at our roots and learn from our culture and traditions. Indian culture, through its many manifestations around its widespread geography, has one constant and that is a respect for nature and all beings. What do you want people to know about you as a designer most? My label illustrates sustainable fashion -- from the conscious choice of material (the yarn and dye, our trims and packaging), through to the minimum-waste design-manufacture process. The future of fashion is… Being conscious and sustainable.
Ice Surface Temperature: Kristian Guerra, 30, and Laura Guerra, 40, Padua, Italy, menswear and womenswear
How does Italy inform the designs you make? As Italians our designs perfectly reflect our future-oriented philosophy, which is firmly rooted in our identity and traditions. What do you want people to know about you as a designer most? Our aim is to research the effect that fashion has on contemporary society and humans relations. The future of fashion is… The importance of the individual identity into a multifaceted society. Finding the perfect balance between the pre-existing and something that is completely new.
Ami Doshi Shah, 38, Nairobi-Kenya, jewellery
What's your background in? I trained as a jeweller and a silversmith. What do you draw inspiration from? Fossils, minerals, the human form (the talismanic life of a static object when it marries with the body). How does your home inform the designs you make? I take inspiration from the raw natural and human beauty and the somehow organised chaos of Nairobi. What do you hope people will take away from viewing your designs at LFW? A sense of discomfort and awe and a small glimpse into the incredible ability of a single material -- salt -- to tell a story of beauty, power and submission.
Roni Helou, 26, Lebanon, menswear and womenswear
What's your background in? I graduated from a free fashion design school in Lebanon called Creative Space Beirut. What do you draw inspiration from? I find inspiration in intangible aspects of humanity such as psychology and anthropology. How does Lebanon inform the designs you make? Lebanon is a very diverse country, full of culture and paradoxes, these traits serve as a major inspiration source to me. What do you hope people will take away from viewing your designs at LFW? I hope that people will understand that the Middle East, and Lebanon specifically, is not simply war and terrorism -- it’s so much more than its problems.
Morta Nakaite, 28, Lithuania, Womenswear
What do you draw inspiration from? Bright sad memories, local problems, absurdity. How does Lithuania inform the designs you make? A northern mentality and a Vilnius influence creates a sense of cleanliness and quietness. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? I am intuitive, honest, independent. The future of fashion is… now.
Duran Lantink, 31, Amsterdam-Netherlands, unisex
How does The Netherlands inform the designs you make? The Dutch culture is a practical culture. I’m not practical. I love observing Dutch people who go crazy whenever there is a big sale… because the whole practical mentality is thrown overboard. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? My designs are cut and reworked designer pieces straight from the sale bins. That’s what I love doing! It makes me sad seeing all those beautiful pieces hanging there for 70% off. So I discovered that making complete new looks with these items is something that works for me! What do you hope people will take away from viewing your designs at LFW? I will show a "post-Black Friday" shop -- completely trashed by its consumers. This is done to make people think about consumerism and mass production.
Cedric Mizero, Rwanda, menswear and womenswear
How does Rwanda inform the designs you make? Where I come from informs everything I do. I couldn’t disconnect my work from that. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? I would like people to know that I use fashion as a way of telling stories. Most importantly I would like people to feel something. What do you hope people will take away from viewing your designs in London? I want create a open dialogue where we can exchange culture and share experiences. The future of fashion is... in the hands of young change-makers. It is down to us.
Thebe Magugu, 25, Kimberley-South Africa, womenswear
What do you draw inspiration from? The multifaceted realities of contemporary South Africa, whether good or bad. How does South Africa inform the designs you make? It roots them in a history and culture over and above the clothes’ physicality. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? My concern is with what women want and need. The future of fashion is… Africa
Amesh Wijesekera, 25, Colombo-Sri Lanka, gender-neutral
What's your background in? I graduated with a BA in fashion design and textiles from the Academy of Design in Colombo, before completing an industry placement in Sri Lanka. I have apprenticed with The Future Laboratory, Edeline Lee and Zandra Rhodes in London. How does your home inform the designs you make? My designs go through many processes in printing, weaving and knitting. The journey of the production process tells the story of local craftsmanship. It is a celebration of these people and that shared knowledge. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? I would like to be known for the energy carried in my collections I design.
Clara Aguayo, 27, Montevideo-Uruguay, menswear and womenswear
What's your background in? I studied fashion design, and pattern and dressmaking in Uruguay. After that I got an internship at Ana Livni, a local independent fashion brand, pioneering the slow fashion movement in Uruguay. I won the first prize Lumina, a contest for emerging young designers, and the Young Innovators Contest. How does your home inform the designs you make? Uruguay is a very small, down-tempo country with a very ambiguous energy. My work has a lot of the dark Uruguayan melancholy and strong attitude that has driven Uruguay to be a pioneer in social policies. The future of fashion is… Fighting against consumption and stupidity. Adding value.
Môi-Điên: Tom Trandt, 29, Saigon-Vietnam, unisex
What's your background? I got my BA in fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design, NYC. What do you draw inspiration from? My inspiration comes from Asian streetwear and also nature. Nature makes the best texture. How does your home inform the designs you make? Vietnam is home to one of the most polluted cities in the world. As a Vietnamese designer, sustainable fashion is very important to me. What do you want people to know about you as a designer? I want to be known as a designer who is very waste-conscious. Zero waste designs and recycled materials play a big part in our brand DNA.
Photography Alice Whitby