The British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN designers are always worth keeping an eye on, past recipients historically include Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Julien Macdonald as well as Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, Richard Nicoll, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Meadham Kirchhoff, Simone Rocha, J.W.Anderson & Christopher Raeburn. The NEWGEN sponsorship scheme provides up and coming designers with business and financial support, from the panel and Topshop, as well as showcasing opportunities at London Fashion Week.
NEWGEN designers are identified by the BFC for their ‘creativity, strong design aesthetic and point of difference’. This year the NEWGEN roll call was made up of 1205, Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow, Danielle Romeril, Faustine Steinmetz, Marques’Almieda, Marta Jakubowski, Molly Goddard, Ryan Lo and Sadie Williams.
Ex-Savil Row designer and Central Saint Martins graduate Paula Gerbase’s label ‘focusses on quality of cut, fabric and proportion’. Her AW15 collection, which received catwalk sponsorship, was made up of minimalist, utilitarian pieces. Grey, navy, khaki, black and white were the uniform colour palette for the collection made up of ribbed knit dresses, mannish suits and outwear, culottes and straight dresses.
Ashley Williams made her NEWGEN debut last year, showing solo for the first time during the LFW SS15 shows. A graduate of the University of Westminster she showed in 2013 with Fashion East. Her AW15 catwalk show was inspired by riot gurrl founder Kathleen Hanna and 90s It girl Chloe Sevigny. She showed punk-rock illustrated hoodies, patent black pieces and fun fur, in black, yellow and pink.
Like Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow graduated from the University of Westminister and showed with Fashion East in 2013. Barrow is building a reputation for her illustrated and hand painted pieces. DiY, youth and sub-culture are her main points of reference. Her AW15 collection continued this theme, with pieces scrawled on in white and black paint and also explored 3Dthrough knitwear.
Royal College of the Arts graduate Danielle Romeril set up her label in 2012. Surface details and fabric combinations are key to Romeril’s work, which forms her womenswear label. Romeril’s AW15 restrained and thoughtful offering included asymmetric panels, leather cutwork, lace and quilting, in black with highlights of white and nude.
Parisian designer Faustine Steinmentz moved to London to study on the Central Saint Martins MA. Steinmentz’s focus is on technique and has until recently been hand weaving her fabrics and now she buy responsibly sourced, sustainable fabrics and treats them adding print, felt work and paint. For AW15 she presented a range of reworked basics.
Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida joined forces whilst studying on the womenswear MA at Central Saint Martins. The labelled launched in 2011 and they showed for their first two seasons under Fashion East. They have been part of NEWGEN since 2013 and continue to show with them on schedule at London Fashion Week. Their AW15 collection continued their exploration of denim and built upon techniques of asymmetric cutting and tying, whilst introducing a pieces in ribbed knits and floral brocades.
For AW15 Marta Jakubowski received showroom sponsorship from NEWGEN. The designer, who grew up in Germany, graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2014. Her pieces are modern and minimalist, roll necks, slouchy wide leg trousers, exploring cut away sections and fastenings. At LFW she showed an installation and film piece.
Goddard studied on the BA Fashion Knit and set up her label after leaving the Womenswear MA a year early. Her first collection was shown off schedule during SS15, and her 2nd on schedule for AW15. Her first presentation included 20 of her best friends reenacting a teenage party, whilst her second presentation saw her models at a life drawing class surrounding a naked gentleman, whilst wearing girly/grunge ruffled tulle dresses teamed with long sleeve tops and chunky creeper shows.
Designer Ryan Lo, continued with his love of all things girly and pop for his AW15 NEWGEN catwalk sponsored show. The designer, originally from Hong Kong but who spent the majority of his formative years in the UK, takes inspiration from pop culture and recent nostalgia. His muse has matured for AW15 but his enduring love of maximalism is still key.
For AW15 Fashion and textile designer Sadie Williams exhibited a small collection in the NEWGEN showroom space. Sadie’s work is inspired by graphic vintage sports prints and applies this to simple shapes. Her textile work which explores ‘glam luxe craft’ turns these pieces in into shimmering, disco shapes.