Since 2011, the British Fashion Council’s (BFC) charitable initiative, the Fashion Trust, has supported almost 40 emerging British designers, such as now-established brands like Gareth Pugh, Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Kane and Emilia Wickstead. In total, £1.6 million has been awarded through mentorship programmes, funding and financial grants to bolster the UK’s thriving fashion industry from within.
This year is no exception. The BFC has uncovered the next generation of accessories and womenswear brands that are set to be the next big names to know in British fashion. Below, ORDRE takes a look at six exciting labels to keep a keen eye on.
Eponymous womens and menswear designer Phoebe English launched her brand in 2011, the same year she graduated London’s Central Saint Martins under acclaimed course leader Louise Wilson. Creating precise garments that embrace attention to detail and handcraft, English is a concept-driven and highly technical designer.
With stockists that include several international iterations of Dover Street Market — which has supported the brand since its first collection — Selfridges and Ssense, the label lends itself to department stores and high end concept stores alike. The made-in-England label expanded to include menswear in 2015, the same year English was named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.
Alighieri, a London-based jewellery label inspired by Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”, was founded in 2014 by Rosh Mahtani. A self-taught jeweller, Mahtani learnt to cast wax moulds during a one-day course in Hatton Garden, the capital city’s jewellery district, and was immediately hooked. Alighieri’s pendant necklaces, chunky gold earrings, and rings and bangles are instantly recognisable for their unapologetically bold and imperfect, yet luxurious, nature.
“I started casting everything in bronze and plating it in 24 carat gold,” she told ORDRE recently. “Then it became obvious that I was lacking in mid-price point jewellery, where it felt like a forever piece, but it was also semi-accessible.” Stocked with MatchesFashion, Selfridges and Net a Porter, and selling through her own online platform, Mahtani’s creations are clearly striking a chord with a growing fan base around the world.
Using bold, bright colours to instill in the wearer a sense of confidence and strength, Isosceles Lingerie is a label with an empowering ethos. Launched by Cicely Travers in early 2015, the designer believes that “beautiful underwear must work beyond seduction and offer women a means of physical freedom and self expression.”
Functional and beautiful, the label pieces together geometric shapes (hence the name) in neon shades to form easy to wear pieces. Currently made in the UK and sold through the brand’s own e-commerce store, Isosceles is a body-positive label that is finding a place for itself in a lingerie market which is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive by the day.
Nabil Nayal is a Syrian-born, London-based designer who, through his short career, has won accolades such as the Royal Society of Arts Award and the Graduate Fashion Week 'Best Womenswear' Award, along with the support of influential industry figures. Being shortlisted for both the 2015 and 2017 LVMH prize put the designer in front of Karl Lagerfeld, who was immediately taken with Nayal’s intricate Elizabethan-inspired craftsmanship.
Strong silhouettes, tailoring, pleating and dramatic construction techniques define his largely monochrome aesthetic. Stocked with the likes of Moda Operandi, Harvey Nichols and Tokyo’s Dover Street Market, Nabil Nayal is also popular in the designer’s native middle east.
Sharon Wauchob’s constantly evolving vision of femininity is one in which balances opposing forces of tailoring and soft, luxurious fabrics, harmoniously. “I always focus on bringing the masculinity towards femininity and womenswear, so it seemed right to push the boundary and experiment more with the masculine,” the Irish designer told ORDRE when launching her menswear collection at London Fashion Week Mens in June 2018.
Relocating from Paris to London in 2017, the brand has been around for almost 20 years. Stocked in Selfridges, as well as over 70 stockists globally, Wauchob brings her decade of experience in luxury — she has previously held the role of creative director at Edun and bag designer at Louis Vuitton — to her ever expanding self-titled label.
“We truly believe in the power of fashion to present a pro-social message of inclusivity and positive identity,” state Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones of their London-based womenswear label, Teatum Jones. “We believe in creating socially conscious fashion that puts the craftspeople and the customer at the heart of our creation.” The industry, too, has recognised the inherently conscious nature of the brand: in 2016, they were the first British brand to win the International Woolmark Prize and the 2018 Green Carpet Challenge Award.
Inspired by human stories, the duo have built their brand around emotionally driven clothing, winning them attention from around the world. Stockists include high-end London boutiques Liberty and Harvey Nichols, as well as, international retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, L'Eclaireur in Paris and Boon in South Korea.