That plenty of talented, young designers are turned away from NEWGEN sponsorship each season is revealing of the fight to be solvent and show on the official London Fashion Week schedule – important factors at a time of such excess. At Somerset House yesterday 13 designers were selected as recipients of this support, which helped launch the careers of great British names such as Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen and Mary Katrantzou.
After two successful seasons with Fashion East (and sold-out collections at Opening Ceremony), neo-grunge label Marques’Almeida receives its inaugural sponsorship. "We're going to keep growing with denim but not exclusively; the main thing for us is to carry the vibe and it can be created through any material or shape," Marta Marques tells us. With the extra resources, plans are underway to create "a Marques’Almeida environment" for their presentation in September.
Other newcomers are Mei Lim-Cooper, who graduated from Central Saint Martins' MA fashion in February, and Cordwainers-trained shoe designer Sophia Webster. "I'm sourcing new yarns and working on new variations and shapes but still in keeping with my signature clean, graphic constructions and specific use of colour, building on my MA collection,” says Lim-Cooper, who is awarded exhibition sponsorship for her experimental but sophisticated knitwear. “Ideally I’d make a film to show the collection come to life.”
In addition to fleshing out his accessories repertoire, milliner – and now all-round designer – Nasir Mazhar reveals he will be launching a full men’s and women's ready-to-wear collection in line with the rich, theatrical streetwear aesthetic that has attracted collaborations with designers such as Meadham Kirchhoff, Louise Gray and Gareth Pugh in the past.
Dazed favourite Lucas Nascimento progresses with a presentation sponsorship. Sharing the highlights of his previous and first season supported by NEWGEN, the knitwear designer says: "It was fantastic to work with Karen Langley on the styling for the AW12 presentation; we did it as a small salon-style show which worked really well."
"I'll be looking at interesting yarn combinations and knit stitches as always and developing knit fabrications that are very light for the summer, something that is fluid yet structured."
Following their rapturous menswear show last Saturday, SISTER by SIBLING continue their success also with presentation sponsorship. "We're really excited with the prospect of showcasing SISTER by SIBLING with the backing of Newgen Women," says Cozette McCreery. "Team SISTER (myself, Sid, Joe and stylist Katie Grand) on the back of an incredible response to SIBLING S/S13 are ready to go go go!"
Other winners include: Simone Rocha, Michael van der Ham and J.W. Anderson for catwalk sponsorship, Christopher Raeburn and J JS Lee for presentation sponsorship and Palmer//Harding, Huishan Zhang for exhibition sponsorship.