On the fashion carousel, we’re presented with a bunch of names every year that a) are usually quite difficult to pronounce and b) risk getting lost in a busy and overcrowded industry. The fashion juggernauts (your Diors and Burberrys) dominate, with up-and-comers making noise from the rear. But what about that middle ground of respected, prolific designers? Plenty of labels have built reputations without a diamond-dripping-celebrity-laden-Daily-Mail-fodder-campaign (not mentioning any names, Balmain…) and instead, let the collections speak for themselves.
There will always be room for the blue chip brands and new talent is always exciting, but big things exist elsewhere – check out our rundown of designers destined for even more greatness in 2016.
When the iconic Belgian designer left Dior, everyone was inclined to give him a pat on the back and sigh “poor Raf”. But with every departing cloud is a massive silver lining. Three and a half years at Paris’ biggest couturier is hardly a pre-school Play-doh session and many called ‘creative burnout’ to explain the departure.
Well, Dior’s loss is the everyman’s gain. While he’s presumably rediscovering the concept of ‘free time’, Raf Simons will likely go back to his namesake label with more gusto than a blogger at a launch party’s buffet – so expect more of the quality couture-inspired sportswear that we came to love back in Simons’ glory days. Enough said.
Until recently, London Fashion Week was on the fringes of the industry. Everyone from the up-and-comers to the designer Goliaths were upping sticks for Paris and Milan, leaving a sad little vacuum of fashion talent in our capital.
But times, however, are indeed a-changing. The London scene has been revitalised once more thanks to increased investment (roubles bring the rabble, after all) but also through sheer talent; native Craig Green has toiled endlessly to make a name, and the results are paying off. The Central St Martins grad constantly plays with our expectations of menswear and even dressed Zoolander’s arch nemesis Mugatu in recent trailers – a fashion accolade if we ever heard one.
Spanish brand Loewe has always been a bit of a funny one. While its 150 years of prestige matched up to the heavyweights, the label seemed to fall short of true universal acclaim – it was a luxury brand only really appreciated by the aficionados.
Loewe’s becoming big business however since Jonathan Anderson (more commonly known as J.W. Anderson to you and I) took the helm, and its Instagram-ready SS16 collection signalled a huge turning point. Expect Wes Anderson-esque shapes, anime-inspired prints and plenty of colour.
The Elder Statesman
Love letters to transatlantic labels are usually posted to the streetwear giants – after all, quintessential American style is all too often linked to the likes of Supreme, The Hundreds and Diamond Supply Co.
The Elder Statesman, led by designer Greg Chait, is a little different. Offering a large collection of luxury knitwear, the Statesman’s cashmere pieces are far from the usual trope of Henley-dwelling toffs with a cricket jersey draped around their shoulders. Instead, jumpers are understated and casual-friendly with touches of originality in the form of contrast colour patches and palm tree motifs.
Very LA (in a less oh-my-god-it’s-Tom-Cruise, more taco-and-a-beer-at-Chateau-Marmont kind of way).
While still considered a newcomer to the fashion circle (which he is), Gosha Rubchinskiy’s nurture under the achingly cool wing of Comme des Garçon has the designer set for greatness.
Streetwear credentials are mixed with ambiguous yet strangely prevalent political messages (who could ignore the Soviet flags and Eastern Bloc-inspired colours?) with much success. As we hit 2016, best get your post-Stalinist urbanwear look on pre-order as every hero piece is guaranteed to sell out in a matter of days, if not hours.
With no huge advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsement deals, such feats are a tell-tale sign of real menswear talent.
Hussein Chalayan has been something of a linchpin within the British fashion industry; while avoiding the corporate drive of McQueen and Burberry, the man landed himself an MBE in 2006 – if you get a royal seal of approval, it’s likely that you’re pretty good at your nine-to-five.
Still, Chalayan remains part of the front row’s inner sanctum, but is steadily gaining popularity; avant-garde fashion may raise a few eyebrows, yet the designer’s ready-to-wear line takes all your wardrobe staples and gives them a twist of originality. Perfect if you want something a little left-field.