A month of European fashion shows have just drawn to a close, and while most of the attention naturally goes to opulent Italian dynasties and grand French dames of menswear, there’s plenty of excellent talent tucked in between the big-name players who should be on your radar for 2019. Here are just some of them.
Nicholas Daley likes to show his clothes in context, which means them being used. Launching his namesake brand in 2015, the Midlands-born designer has quickly gained a reputation as a champion of British fabrics and sub-cultures, creating pieces that, in his own words, "I want to wear." This year that context came in the form of the Bethnal Green Working Men's club in East London, a smoky, ripped velvet, beer-stained dive, which he took over for his A/W '19 show.
Along with an unorthodox runway that weaved through the space, Daley also recruited south London new jazz band Puma Blue to perform a set wearing his latest collection. The result, boxy worker jackets, heavy wool trousers, pebble grain derbies in deep green leather and bright patchwork coats, swaying in the dim light, the clothes brought to life on the backs of carefree (and very cool) bodies.
Clothes designed to be worn, it may sound... redundant, but you can see it's something that Daley understands intrinsically and will no doubt give his future collections the reputation and longevity that all new designers crave.
Or '1017 ALYX 9SM' to give it its full title, Alyx is already something of a cult giant in the world of streetwear. One of the first brands to pioneer the dark, intimidating and high-tech material style that is enjoying a resurgence in high fashion, this is a label that makes three-figure asymmetric-zipped coats in black, black and more black, suits in full leather and tactical vests made to be worn on the battle fields of... Los Angeles.
Founded by Californian Matthew Williams, the brand is based in New York and produced in Italy, a modern M.O. that is seeing it gain steady traction in the typically unyielding world of European fashion (It's also collaborated with Nike to great success). These are clothes that are moody, confident, difficult to wear and painstakingly made. Not for everyone, but sharp and relevant nonetheless.
Despite only showing two full collections, British-Iranian designer Paria Farzaneh has become one of the most intriguing and exciting names around, her clothes deftly juxtaposing the worlds of Middle Eastern market stalls, pattern-making and textiles with modern synthetic fabrics and sport-inspired shapes. Oh, and really great knitwear.
Left to someone less able, these conflicting aesthetics might prove a bit... much, but Farzaneh appears to have no such trouble. Vibrant Iranian patterns are deployed on laminated cross-body bags and on the piping of over-sized rain jackets, loosely-tailored suits and women's dresses are crafted out of quilted nylon (Prada would be proud), while long and loose wool jumpers feature confident intarsia work.
This is a young designer that's creating her own vision of sportswear, tailoring and heritage and we're really into it.
GmbH's website looks like a relic from an innocent, pre-Zuckerberg, 10-days-to-download-a-Linkin-Park-track internet era, which we're guessing is the point. This is a brand for cool, ironic kids with green hair and small sunglasses, who probably don't have to queue at Berghain. In fact, they probably think Berghain is rubbish.
Founded in Berlin in 2016, the name stands for an acronym used in Germany to denote a company of limited liability (there you go). Most interestingly, the brand uses deadstock materials from Italy's most renowned factories to create their wares, a scattered and entertaining mix of left-field tailoring (almost like a Berlin scene kid made a suit out of a Milanese tailor's cast-offs), bleached denim, puffa jackets and some properly beautiful double-breasted coats. Plus the obligatory small sunglasses, of course.
Smart, weird and youthful, GmbH has already collaborated on trainers with Asics that will almost-certainly sell-out as soon as they drop. We expect plenty more exciting developments that are too cool for us going forward.
A self-confessed cloth obsessive, Scottish-Nigerian designer Olubiyi Thomas has, in his few short years in the business, created a beautiful and personal label that blends Western, Eastern and African shapes with references to traditional dress, workwear and obscure military uniforms. If you fancy dressing like an early-20th century Dutch fisherman (very cool) or a Lagos street hustler (the inspiration behind his A/W 19 show at London Fashion Week), then this your kind of brand.
Unisex before it was the done thing and with an unyielding commitment to using natural fibres in his work (no polyester windbreakers here), Thomas makes the kind of beautiful, patterned, drape-y and painstakingly-crafted coats and suits that will have friends and enemies asking… where did you get that? Which is exactly how his brand started. A friend complimented his coat over dinner; turns out, Thomas had made it for himself. Things grew from there.
The most-established name on this list (in industry terms at least), it's hard to believe that Simon Porte Jacquemus is still just 29. A darling of the womenswear scene, he only showed his first men's collection last year, turning a beach in the South of France - of which he is a native son - into a makeshift catwalk where models strutted alongside the surf in bare feet, pastel suits, sunflower-print shirts and, err, speedos.
His are clothes that are full of joy (Joie de vivre, if you will) and very, very French. For Autumn/Winter '19 he has channelled the blue collar feel of Montpellier, with all of its traditional workwear. There are Painter coats, dense trousers with lots of pockets, rubber-soled boots and an ecru cotton shirts emblazoned with an image of a windmill (it works).
An outsider looking in on the Paris elite, Jacquemus' France is one of Breton shirts, sheep (why not?), rolling hills, baguettes carried home in wicker baskets and expensive clothes that aren't slim, black and off-puttingly exclusive.
Although we do still love those.
From: Esquire UK