London Fashion Week has been and gone, but what can we learn about the relationship from emerging talent, to fully-fledged designer?
The catwalks have been covered, the DJs have packed up their records and hundreds of models are being ushered onto the next available flight to Milan - London Fashion Week is over. But something really stood out during September 2011's British fashion week in particular. In amongst the scheduled shows projected and renowned for setting the trend agenda for the coming season, a group of emerging designers made the key transition from up-and-coming talent to developed brands with a definitive place in the fashion market.
The spring/summer 2012 shows displayed a collection of flourishing designers at that crucial career stage between burgeoning talent and established retail label.
After graduating with a Masters degree from Central Saint Martins in 2009, David Koma won the coveted Vauxhall Fashion Scout award and the following year was dressing Cheryl Cole for the XFactor. 2010 then witnessed two of the most mainstream celebrities, the likes of Beyonce Knowles and Rihanna no less, pledging their approval to this new designer and wearing his trademark sculptural and body contouring frocks to events.
This year, we saw the British designer hold his first solo show at London Fashion week, for the past two he'd showed with Holly Fulton. What really stood out at Koma's spring/summer 2012 show was that he had created something fresh and modern with a finer sense self - altogether; more mature. In his show manifesto Koma explained his belief that the body is a blank canvas, and consequently developed his trademark body-conscious silhouette to incorporate tribal prints and bright fluro pinks - it felt fresh and like a decided step forward from collaborator to prominent designer. If Koma's LFW front row is a reflection of his commercial success in any capacity - then his star is soaring. Spotted at the prestigious TopShop show space at the former Eurostar terminal venue was the entire editorial team of British Vogue along with Samantha Cameron - arguably some of the most important business figures in fashion today (Samantha hosted no less than three fashion week parties at Number 10).
Making a meteoric rise during London Fashion Week was Mark Fast - also ordained by Beyonce, as well as Leighton Meester. But Fast's brand isn't solely strengthened by his celebrity fans (despite the fact that Anna Del Russo, Eliza Dolittle, Liberty Ross and Tallulah Harlech were all sitting pretty on the front row). This season we saw an unfaltering step forward from Fast's traditional knitwear designs. The Canada-born designer sent models down the runway in abstract printed two-pieces, ivory silk slips and heavily layered organza skirts - signifying Fast's movement forward from his traditional knitted dresses. Fast's cute tropical coloured frocks further strengthened an important advancement from his previous spring collections - before Fast had dressed a slightly older woman, however these frocks were far more feisty and youthful than anything we've seen previous from this designer, who once created an entire collection in black and grey.
Meadham Kirchhoff's show was a rollercoaster ride through a particularly girly girl's adolescence and young womanhood - or a seriously big night out with a Barbie. The individual and uncompromising nature of the Meadham Kirchoff brand is intrinsic to it's aesthetic and how it communicates with consumers and the industry. The designers Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff have never played for Dior style international globalism - however, there was a real sense of Meadham Kirchhoff growing and being accepted as a developed label during their spring/summer 2012 show. Stunning embellished swimsuits sashayed down the runway along with sumptuous ostrich feather skirts and embellished hot pants. Proving that amongst all the hyper eccentricity and the frantic bubble gum pink of these designs, a huge amount of talent and skill exists there, as well as a finely tuned knowledge of the wants and demands of the global market.
After another London Fashion Week has been and gone, what really stands out is the importance of young emerging talent in the greater sphere of the fashion industry. Without compromising their aesthetic Fast, Koma, Meadham and Kirchhoff have become established labels that still manage to maintain the unique style that make their designs so successful. And once you're established - the sky's the limit.