This summer, we’ve spent time spotting some of the most promising young talents on the fashion scene today: be they DIY UFO’s (Vaquera), a cure to throwaway fashion (Laura Newton), an enlightened embroiderer (Alice Archer), a sustainable couturier (Kevin Germanier) or a one of a kind moonshot (Marine Serre); these are the names you need to keep an eye on in the months to come.
The UFO: Vaquera
With its latest spring collection at NYFW and also its position as a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Vaquera is a one of a kind… brand? Considering some of Vaquera’s most show-stopping looks have involved velvet jester pants, a giant chef hat, a bikini with a matching necktie, and a shredded T-shirt printed with the words “FUCK DEATH“., you can almost compare it to a spaceship from outer space. Don’t believe it ? See for yourself !
Add to those facts and images that the brand has also presented its collections in Chinese restaurants and on subway platforms crowded with downtown artists, rather than at official NYFW show venues. Add to this then a collaboration with Hulu’s the Handmaid’s Tale and the creation of a dress from a human-size Tiffany & Co. bag. After imposing itself as the leader of a new wave of DIY energy that has filled the void at NYFW, Vaquera now sets its eyes on a new challenge: figuring out how to be a big small brand.
The Cure: Laura Newton
The recent Central Saint Martins MA Fashion graduate is one who sees great importance in keeping her work processes essentially spontaneous. Be it when her ideas transform into a wearable object or an experimentation taking the form of a piece of jewellery or a wall-hanging, Laura Newton focuses on being able to tell personal stories, selling clothes without compromising integrity and keeping her work firmly rooted in reality.
“I’m interested in our daily interactions with what we wear,” she says of the way that a garment wears out, stretches and folds with use. “This serves as a constant undercurrent in my work, even though it might not be immediately obvious upon looking at it. I feel there is a sincerity in exploring familiarity, rather than looking to faraway concepts to inform your work, that may not even be relatable.”
In order to accomplish this, two factors have an utmost importance : the visceral quality of fabrics, and the ability to create sensory experiences through craft-based processes. “Knit has the ability to do that, because it is so affected by the human hand.” Laura Newton in AnOther, August 2017
While she sets out to create garments that withstand the test of time, she also works with deadstock overruns from European factories.
“They are the luxury materials from Italy and so on, but you get them at a fraction of the price. I like working in this way, because it utilises waste material. And due to the nature of supply, you might work with something unexpected, or it can inform colour choice, or combinations that you might not have thought of.” Laura Newton in AnOther, August 2017
A method she admits feels more fitting for her brand, embodying her own idea of luxury fashion and possesses the kind of integrity that you would hope to see more in the future: a refreshing antidote to throwaway and impersonal fashion.
The Bold: Alice Archer
As an embroiderer who uses modern techniques, Alice Archer is a young designer who marries craftsmanship to the use of computers and mechanical processes, with an open-minded mindset: rather than considering these innovation as a threat to her creative abilities, she is one of those rare people able to marry tradition with modernity.
« Some believe that traditional crafts, such as embroidery, are declining. The artisan is seen to be superseded by mechanical, globalised production. But craftsmanship is not on the verge of extinction. Far from it. » Alice Archer in a BoF OpEd, April 2015
For more about Alice Archer, read our short story here. :)
The Unpredictable: Kevin Germanier
Kevin’s graduate collection is unique. Maybe due to his source of inspiration being truly unique in itself. Based upon two female anime characters and their electrifying transitioning phases, the duo are transforming themselves into bigger, brighter, and more powerful versions of their former selves. A re-birth that holds an intrinsically deeper meaning for him, who as a child can recall watching his favourite show religiously.
“I was obsessed with these anime characters because I could relate. There was this school-girl who just wanted to be a hero, and then there was me. A young boy living in a small Swiss village, who just yearned to be a fashion designer.” Kevin Germanier in 1Granary, July 2017
His life-long love of couture doesn’t stop him from creating something that is also sustainable. For his collection, he spent months carefully sourcing the materials he would use for it, making sure they’d be sustainable, reasonably priced and in good condition.
“I really wanted to show people that sustainability can be fashionable too. Today, people see sustainability as a trend. That’s so stupid, it’s not a trend. It should always hold importance. My dream would be for people to look at the beaded dresses and appreciate the vibrant colours, the sleek cut, and overall look of the outfits. Only then, would I want them to know that it is sustainable. There are many preconceptions that come with the word sustainable, and I want my collection to be judgement-free.” Kevin Germanier in 1Granary, July 2017
The Moonshot: Marine Serre
Dubbed by the French press « the Comet » of the made in France creative vanguard, Marine Serre differentiates herself as soon as from childhood, in the Tennis world, from which she’ll preserve a pronounced taste for streetwear, governing principle of her stylish inspirations.
« I’m like a sponge. My job is to be invisible, not to talk about me. My goal is to highlight what already exist. I immerse myself in my relatives, my friends, in what I see on the street… ». Marine Serre in Les Inrocks, Avril 2017
Distinguishing herself with a form of eclecticism, an authentic taste for vintage clothes and a sheer talent for customizing them ; it’s in Bruxelles, Belgium, where she received her experimental training : a more rebel and flexible one in comparison with some french fashion schools.
« At La Cambre, they taught me how to create an attitude, not to create a mantle. » in Les Inrocks, April 2017
“My work is made of the confrontation of all the know-hows I’ve acquired. Couture at Dior, craftsmanship at Margiela…”. in Les Inrocks, April 2017
This singular path gives her the ability today to work her collections in 3D, while developing a substantial technique. Spotted first by the concept-store The Broken Arm, they almost instantly fell in love with her collection baptized “Radical Call for love”, a subtle game of stylish anachronism, with an enhanced sportswear background and post-oriental touches. Winner of the latest edition of the LVMH Prize, she now wishes to follow up slowly with a second collection possibly due for next January.
“I wanna take my time. Life is already skipping steps for me.” in Les Inrocks, April 2017.