A Young Designer’s Dream

By Olivia Newby

Who are the protectors of young talent? Leading the future of sculptural, artistic, and fashionable design, the visionaries of graduating young artists come to light every year. Celebrating these new lights is now made more fortunate with leading brands such as NET-A-PORTER, Rolls-Royce, Lexus and Rado in support. Find out more in; A Young Designer’s Dream Here.  

Accompanying the success of the designers, these brands have set up programmes awarding these accomplished people. A young designer’s dream in this day can be seeming of quite a challenge, especially for people trying to put their name into the industry. Questions run of has this been seen before? Is this innovative? Getting lost amongst a ‘tidal wave’ of ideas is hard to surface new ideas. Enabling young designers and setting them up to venture into the beginning of their careers with bigger companies in support allows for a potentially clear view of their dreams becoming a reality.

It’s great to see companies being at the top of the game recognising the potential in young designers that don’t have the funds and facilities to grow their ideas.

Big companies such as Rolls-Royce and NET-A-PORTER, Lexus and Rado work to support young developing designers. Offering the chance of a lifetime, to be funded and therefore allowing continuing to design their innovations and get seen within their own industries from the early days of their career. 


The worldwide luxury online retailer NET-A-PORTER has continuously delivered remarkable fashion and is an online innovator. Held on their website they sell more than 800 brands including Gucci, Balenciaga, Isabel Marant, Prada, and Stella McCartney. With a grand audience of six million customers, the online retailer doesn’t live in any shadow but is firmly in the limelight, with optimum brands on the site.

Introduced at the beginning of 2022, NET-A-PORTER launched The Vanguard Education Fund. A new mentorship scheme in partnership with the British Fashion Council (BFC) designed to help final-year BA students as they embark on their professional careers in the industry.

The Vanguard Education Fund sees NET-A-PORTER engage with the BFC’s network of universities to encourage more diverse talent. The fund is open to final-year students studying at UK universities within the BFC Colleges Council. As well includes selected international institutions (Parsons School of Design, Politecnico di Milano, TAFE Australia and FEDISA Fashion School Cape Town). Across fashion and design to ceramics, fine art, photography and jewellery. Four winners are selected, every year, awarded a £12,500 bursary fund and paired with two leaders within the industry, who will act as mentors. 

NET-A-PORTER, Miss Sohee ‘Simplify Your Life’ Collection

Alongside the previous designers, Miss Sohee and Grace Ling are the latest designers to have joined the Vanguard Programme. Outstanding with their standalone collection and campaign featured exclusively currently sold on the NET-A-PORTER website. Supported by the programme, the two fashion designers had access during the design process of their collections with 3D garment design. Training the designers to be able to create technically advanced, digitised products using authentic garment visualisation. NET-A-PORTER has invested in the specialised training and access to the cutting-edge 3D software CLO. Software that reduces material waste and improving time efficiency when creating samples.

NET-A-PORTER, Miss Sohee ‘Simplify Your Life’ Collection.

Awarded this year, NET-A-PORTER celebrates the winners of The Vanguard Education Fund. In name of the designers:

  • Ben Davis, BA Fashion Design with Industry Placement, Kingston School of Art.
  • Renato Bras, BA Fashion Design with Marketing, Central Saint Martins.
  • Finlay Roberts, BA Fashion Design, Falmouth University.
  • Maissane Zinai, BA Fashion Design Womenswear, Central Saint Martins. 

NET-A-PORTER, Ben Davis, BA Fashion Design with Industry Placement

NET-A-PORTER takes pride in the powerful role they hold in bringing young talent into the industry. Through The Vanguard program, it has to date supported 27 brands, on their journey to becoming successful businesses. Each brand is mentored by a NET-A-PORTER team of experts, who deliver in-depth training that focuses on building a successful business. 

NET-A-PORTER, Maïssane Zinaï BA Fashion Design Womenswear.

“We are thrilled to announce the inaugural winners of The Vanguard Education Fund and are excited to support the students as they embark on their professional journeys. Our goal is to continually expand our mentorship programs, and being able to offer learnings from our long-standing Vanguard program to university students marks an exciting next step in our work to ensure emerging designers have the tools they need for a successful career. The supporting campaign celebrates the best fashion from the most talented up-and-coming designers in the industry, showcasing the individuality and high calibre of brands launched as part of The Vanguard.” 

Libby Page, market director, NET-A-PORTER. 

Images by NET-A-PORTER


Rolls-Royce grew from the electrical and mechanical business established by Henry Royce in 1884 going on to be in the motor industry. Success with the cars led to the shaping of the Rolls-Royce motors. Pioneering cutting-edge technologies that deliver the cleanest, safest and most competitive structured design for cars as well as an uber luxury standpoint making the cars one of the most desirable brands in the world.

As part of the ingenious craftsmanship of the company, Rolls-Royce has opened its’ well-trained creatives to mentor groups of unaccustomed students. Rearing innovative technical concepts, the company to has a programme open to young graduates with a strive to reimagine the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine that tails the bonnet of every Rolls-Royce motor. 

A developing student design programme, Muse, Rolls-Royce Arts Programme, entailed inspiring creativity through the collaboration, of young artists who strive to push technical and conceptual boundaries. Following tradition and innovation, the winners will embark on the chance to bring their ideas to life by working intimately with a specialist team at Rolls-Royce. 

Inviting emerging design visionaries to create unique works inspired by Rolls-Royce Muse, Rolls-Royce Arts Programme, and the sculptural figurine that tails the bonnet of every Rolls-Royce motor car.

The 2022 edition of the competition focuses on textile; challenging participants to explore the possibilities of material and push the boundaries of textile design via the Spirit of Ecstasy effigy. 

Released in April 2022 the announcement of the winners are, artists Bi Rongrong, Ghizlane Sahli and Scarlett Yang. All three winners of the first Challenge have since been working with Rolls-Royce in creating innovative new works in the medium of textile.

Introducing each of the winners of the Muse, Rolls-Royce Arts Programme

Bi Rongrong

Bi Rongrong’s is an artist who reads the vibe of cities sourced from ‘urban skins’. When travelling to a new or familiar place, she scans the urban architecture for street art, ornamental patterns, and posters she can use as visual inspiration for her vibrant multimedia works. In the likes of her work for the Spirit of Ecstasy challenge, Rongrong followed her inspiration from her other works. Materials such as metal and fabric were used in order to create her vision of the Spirit of Ecstasy monument figure of a Rolls-Royce motor car. 

The Shanghai-based artist began her journey as a design artist whilst studying Chinese traditional landscape painting at Sichuan University. Since graduating her practices has since evolved into encompassing murals, fabric, and video. Excelling so vastly on her journey so far is her is due to her adventurous approach to working with new materials. In Rongrong’s works, she is also open to trying new things, and experimenting constantly.

”In my own practice, I also positioned myself in a very free way and let the environment inspire me.”

Rongrong says in a statement. 

Image Rolls-Royce, Muse, Rolls-Royce Arts Programme, Bi Rongrong

Scarlett Yang

Scarlett Yang is a multi-creative artist and designer with a focus on sustainable innovation, biomaterial and virtual fashion. Based in London, Yang applies her innovations with textile and virtual mediums. Previously working in couture ateliers, bio labs and digital fabrication labs she was able to intersect her innovative ideas into fashion, design and technology. 

Yang’s design as part of the Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge incorporated an innovative new material created from algae extract and silk cocoon protein. Developed by Yang herself, resulting in dynamic textile work.

Image Rolls-Royce, Muse, Rolls-Royce Arts Programme, Scarlett Yang

Ghizlane Sahli

Ghizlane Sahli is a textile artist and designer who reuses and recycles materials in her work, drawing attention to critical environmental issues while exploring the beauty of everyday objects. Her design will create a suspended sculpture made from recycled plastic, combined with white silk and gold thread, which will be configured to represent the qualities of the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. 

Image Rolls-Royce, Muse, Rolls-Royce Arts Programme, Ghizlane Sahli

Hosted by Rolls-Royce, an exhibition at Cromwell Place in London. By appointment only on 5th October and on public view from 6th–8th October 2022, before embarking on an international tour.

Other brands that support new artistic talents include, the luxury car brand known for its Japanese expertise Lexus, which hosts an international design competition. The Lexus Design Award collects young talent from around the world to “Design for a Better Tomorrow”. Programmed since 2013, the international design competition has provided the chance of a lifetime. For up-and-coming designers to win the prestigious award for their innovative design excellence. Winners of the competition are funded to build their prototypes with the company’s world-class mentors. 

Also important to mention is the Rado Star Prize competition. A Swiss watch brand is known for its innovation and use of forwarding thinking materials and design excellence. In addition to their intuitive use of materials and pioneering concepts of watch-making, the concept designs of the watches are contributed from all corners of the world. Treasured for winning the Rado Star Prize, the winners of the competition have all been in collaborated to be honoured in working with the ambitious designers of Rado. Involved with the future design and manufacture of significant watch designs.

Copyright image to Rado

The Somerset House Channel

The Somerset House Channel has released a new curated online space for all creative art and ideas. The artistic process channel, offers exclusive commissions, films, and podcasts from newly commissioned cross-disciplinary works. The channel scouts for all mediums of artistic processes and ideas, that are driven by the creator behind the narratives. Set in strange infrastructures, through forms of videography. 

Following the new launch of the Channel, Somerset House launched its first commission. Multimedia artist, Sin Wai Kin uses drag as a way to bring fantasy to life and to challenge identity, binary and objectification. ‘The Story Cycle’ directed by the Turner Prize-nominated artist, was filmed entirely in Somerset House. Serving as a metaphor, the story entails images of Kin’s body. Continuous cycles of listening, embodying and telling, construct the idea of true human nature to be expressed by one person’s self-image. 

Sin Wai Kin, Somerset House Commission

A unique community also includes the film series called ‘Artists in Focus’. Produced directly by the Somerset in-house filmmakers illustrates the journey of creative practice within the artists of the House. Focusing on the Somerset House Studios residents Rene Matić, Saul Nash, Agnes Cameron and Sam Williams. 

Mentioning to finish with, is the London Design Festival. Every year London Design Festival recognises the expertise of leading design figures and emerging new talent. Established designers, industry commentators and previous winners meet to judge the possible winners with four medals up for grabs.

On 14th September 2022, London Design Festival announced the winners of the 2022 London Design Medals. The winning designers are as followed:

  • London Design Medal: Sandy Powell OBE
  • Design Innovation Medal: Indy Johar
  • Emerging Design Medal: Joycelyn Longdon
  • Lifetime Achievement Medal: Sir Don McCullin CBE

Established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell CBE has celebrated London Design Festival every year to honour the talent of designers from all over the world.

To find out more about the NET-A-PORTER ‘The Vanguard Education Fund’ please visit here https://www.net-a-porter.com

To find out more about the Muse, the Rolls-Royce Art Programme, Spirit of Ecstasy Challenge please visit here https://www.instagram.com

Also to find out more about The Somerset House Channel please visit here https://channel.somersethouse.org.uk

If you enjoyed reading A Young Designer’s Dream, then why not read Sound and Vision; where Music meets Art Here.

 .Cent Magazine London, Be Inspired; Get Involved

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