Six Lee was the first Chinese-born designer to graduate from acclaimed Belgian fashion school The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, in 2009, finding a place on the menswear design team of British label Alexander McQueen before establishing his own namesake label in 2011. Six Lee’s collection focused on traditional British tailoring, translated in clean cuts and sharp lines combined with soft colours, dreamy and boyish details in a number of unique silhouettes. He injects freshness by focusing on modern twists with new proportions, to make a statement within traditional tailoring. His interest in such diverse art forms as music and film, poetry and pressed flowers, imbues his work with a characteristic romanticism
British designer Zaid Affas graduated with a degree in design from London’s Central Saint Martins College Of Art And Design. Following positions directing the aesthetics of labels that include PORTS1961 and Ralph Lauren, the Los Angeles-based designer launched his eponymous brand in 2014. Having lived in cities across the world, his work is a convergent mix of polarities; a dialogue between natural, organic shapes and crisp, urban engineering. Silhouettes are presented in a conceptual format that breaks ties with the traditional and explores the transformative nature of intricate tailoring. Inspired by refined materials and the inherent beauty of the woman who wears them, ZAID AFFAS is redefining the image of modern luxury.
Bodice seeks change, continuously evolving and questioning. Designed and constructed for longevity, Bodice strives for attention to detail and the oddities that kick perfection into the unexpected. Often woven by hand, India’s regional textiles are stripped to the essentials. Bodice is drawn to natural fibres, particularly the characteristics of wool and approaches sustainability with consciousness and interest to ensure both practice and products are as ethically developed as possible. Bodice designer Ruchika Sachdeva articulates metaphors from conversations, travels or a newfound idea. Meditative and communal elements of Eastern philosophy are an ongoing influence. Inquisitive in her worldview, her perspective is edited with the belief that what’s essential is distilled through restraint and measure. Based in New Delhi, Ruchika completed her studies at the London College of Fashion. She founded Bodice in 2011, is a recipient of the 2014 Vogue India Fashion Fund and featured on the 2015 Forbes India list of 30 Under 30.
After graduating from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague in 2012, David Laport showcased his wind-blown collection. Taken by his ingenuity in technique and strength of concept, he gained extensive media coverage which kickstarted his career. David has expanded his horizons by doing freelance collaborations with The Dutch National Ballet and Helmut Newton Exhibition. After several Amsterdam Fashion Week shows, he participated in Paris Fashion Week 2015 in collaboration with Dutch Vogue. The brand aesthetic is one of modern classic silhouettes, which contemporize the female form. The cut and fit of a garment takes centre stage and this form-following approach lends itself to bespoke tailoring. Specialising in womenswear, David draws inspiration from experimental female silhouettes often sculptural in shape, yet light and prone to movement. His brightly accented colour palette keeps the overall image fresh.
Samantha McCoach founded Le Kilt in 2014 with a vision of adding a dash of modernity to her family’s kilt-making heritage. Samantha's grandmother has been a traditional kilt maker in Scotland for more than 40 years and through Samantha's teenage years she would observe her grandmother expertly tailoring kilts, trousers and other traditional staples from fine Scottish tartan. Samantha has continued the tradition and re-appropriated the style into her modern wardrobe. This love of tartan inspired the creation of Samantha’s brand Le Kilt. The name being both a playful homage to the legendary Soho club of the 80s and a wink towards the untapped, chic potential of the kilt. Central to the Le Kilt philosophy is a preservation of traditional techniques, underscored with modernity. Le Kilt plans to complement its ‘kiltie’ core with key garments and accessories in the coming season, all with nod and a wink to Samantha's wistfully nostalgic Scots background.
Harman Grubiša is a New Zealand-based, self-titled womenswear label by Madeleine Harman and Jessica Grubiša. Both born in New Zealand, the designers originally met at university and pursued work in editorial styling, trend forecasting, atelier work and design between New York and Auckland. In 2014, they fused their different design styles into a unified creative vision and launched the Harman Grubiša brand. In their three short years in business, the duo have quickly earned their place as creators of elegance and glamour, focusing on lasting quality, lush fabrications and classic silhouettes enhanced with their signature edge. Their combined personalities are indicative of what the brand represents. Madeleine and Jessica have won over media and customers with a ‘real’ approach to contemporary fashion, allowing wit, unassuming charm and fearlessness to shake up the industry. Debuting at New Zealand Fashion Week 2015 to international acclaim, Harman Grubiša has also opened a flagship store in New Zealand and launched an e-platform for sales internationally.
KYE focuses on providing innovative and extraordinary designs for modern multicultural urban dwellers. KYE’s designs deliver fun, humour, wit and a sense of optimism. Designer Kathleen Hanhee Kye introduces bold patterns and colours with attention to elaborate details. She graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins and made her debut in AW11 at London Fashion Week with her label KYE. She was elected as one to watch for her SS12 collection and quickly became admired by K-pop stars after making her SS13 Seoul Fashion Week debut and then staged shows at New York Fashion Week as a member of ‘Concept Korea’ for five consecutive seasons. Kathleen tries to bring attention to today’s social problems via her designs. She often draws inspiration from issues such as school violence, the homeless, and youth unemployment. KYE’s strength lies in its funky yet high-end streetwear vibe combined with the designer’s unique styling aesthetics. She is particularly acclaimed for her flair to translate artistic motifs into creations that actually appeal to consumers.
Christopher Bevans is the Creative Director and Designer of DYNE, a liminal menswear brand launched in 2015. A native of New York, Christopher began his career apprenticing at a local tailoring house and studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). During his time at FIT, he studied textiles while learning from Jack Sauma of Mood Fabrics, one of the largest fabric retailers in the world. Christopher has developed a reputation as an expert craftsman and tailor while working with top brands and organisations. His determination to reach new heights in fashion and technology are the results of his relentless work and education with fabrics and technique. He was a member of the Sean John design team who won the 2004 CFDA Menswear Award. Prior to launching DYNE, he served as the Creative Director of Nike’s Blue Ribbon Sports Division (now Nike Sportswear) from 2003 to 2007. In 2013, Bevans was named a MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow. He creates Bespoke designs for clients such as Jay-Z, Pharrell Williams, LeBron James, John Legend and Kanye West.
Antar-Agni by Ujjawal Dubey was launched in 2014, as part of the Gennext category at Lakme Fashion Week. Ujjawal believes that fabric has its own character waiting to be explored and the label Antar-Agni is reminiscent of the same. He merely helps the fabric speak its language focusing on creating raw and natural pieces. The Antar-Agni man’s style is focused on individuality and carries a strong and admirable aura around him. The brand believes in departure from conventional style, leaving an influential impact on the present. Ujjawal won Best Upcoming Designer for Menswear at the Grazia Young Fashion Awards 2015. He was named as the '50 most influential young Indians by GQ India' and won the Elle Graduate Award in 2016. He was also named in the 30 under 30 list by the Forbes India magazine in 2017.
L’HOMME ROUGE started as an undefined project by a gathering of people with a confluent passion for design, society and art. The originator, John-Ruben Holtback had numerous ideas, one of them to create a knitted hat for the students in Lund, Sweden. Over time this project grew and in 2013 L’HOMME ROUGE transcended into a full range menswear label. The group of original founders, John-Ruben, his brother Carl-Johan Holtback and Axel Trägårdh were in 2015 joined full time by creative director and designer Jonatan Härngren who joined the label straight from The Danish Design School.
Matthew Miller has a design philosophy that positions fashion as a product, just like ceramics or furniture, balancing simple manufacturing values with an artist’s approach to his craft. The visual language of art and gallery spaces is referenced throughout Miller’s work with labels reading Untitled, Mixed Media, Dimensions Variable that feature both Ms underscored, choosing to subtly call out his initials on a garment rather than plaster his name all over it. As a comment on how freedom of speech could be the last authentic art form, Untitled, Mixed Media, Dimensions Variable also transforms each item and its owner into a walking piece of Socialist Youth art that becomes more relevant with every mark it picks up, adding user-generated value as it ages. Miller sees the wearer as integral to a garment’s worth, raising its importance as soon as it’s worn because of the cultural capital accrued depending on what he or she does in it - or to it - and so developing the inherent character of each piece.
BLAIRARCHIBALD began in 2013 as an opportunity to explore ideas within a limited menswear market in Australia and New Zealand. The brand is built on the philosophy of supporting local industries and perpetuating a contemporary take on men's classic styles. Blair continues to construct the sample ranges himself in Melbourne and works closely with Australian and New Zealand fabric suppliers and manufacturers. The work itself investigates the relationship between soft tailoring, sports and workwear. The focus is on practicality, adaptability and maintaining a coherent narrative through the collections. Each season is underpinned with a reference to different forms of geographical exploration integrated with subtle, modern detailing. Each style within the collections are developed with a sense of timelessness in mind. Every component from fabric to form to detail is considered in its ability to serve the wearer for as long as possible - it is ultimately about an investment.
THE INTERNATIONAL WOOLMARK PRIZE returns at Pitti Uomo
The International Woolmark Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious awards aimed at supporting upcoming talent, will be back in Florence. The announcement of the winners in the menswear and womenswear categories will take place during Pitti Uomo - a first for Pitti. Twelve finalists from around the world will present innovative collections to show the potential of Australian merino wool. The event at the Stazione Leopolda is a joint production in cooperation with Fondazione Pitti Immagine Discovery.