Meet the Future of Fashion competition finalists

With inspiration coming from ‘A Clockwork Orange’, nuns’ habits and FKA twigs, these upcoming designers are as diverse as their influences

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Ioana Ciolacu
Ioana CiolacuPhotography Iringo Demeter

A year ago, Dazed revealed that Who’s Next and Premiere Classe trade shows had teamed up with Not Just a Label to create The Future Of Fashion Program, a new scheme to unearth – you got it – the future talents of fashion. Having ploughed through Not Just a Label’s vast database of design talent in pursuit of the best up and comers in ready-to-wear and accessories, the most promising were whittled down to twenty. Now, a mere six have been shortlisted. So, who are they? From London to New York, Bucharest and Barcelona, the finalists are a global bunch who’ve been mentored over the past three seasons spent exhibiting their collections at Paris’ trade shows. In the lead-up to their AW15 show – one step closer to January, when two winners (accessory and ready-to-wear) will be announced – we meet the designers whose references span nuns’ veils, the American Deep South, FKA twigs and Stanley Kubrick, and get them to share the YouTube videos that inspired their collections. 

KELLY LOVE

Kelly Love is the Australian-born, London-dwelling designer heading up her eponymous label. Having worked for a Japanese artist and fashion designer as well as for high street giant ASOS.com, Love is a creator armed with both a conceptual and commercial know-how. Her modern, feminine style is created by printing hand-drawn etchings onto silk and cotton, and will no doubt shine through in an up-coming capsule collection for Anthropologie. Her collection is named after the Leroy Carr song “Blues before Sunrise.” It explores the historical towns in the Deep South of America, with a mix of silk-printed thistles and succulent plants, and heavy outerwear made from Alpaca and leather.

Listen to the song that inspired Love’s collection: 

HANGER LONDON – CLAIRE DAVIS

Hanger is the product of London-born design graduate Claire Davis, who, unsure where to direct her talents, tackled the daunting task of creating her own label. Working from a rented Hackney studio and with only one collection under her belt when she applied to the Future of Fashion program, Davis’s pared back silhouettes, clean lines and merging textures have made her a force to be reckoned with in the competition. And though she describes her work as “no-frills simplicity,” Davis draws inspiration from the most unlikely sources – the main reference for her current collection is nuns (“I love the simple yet dramatic nature of their clothing”). 

Watch Davis's song of the moment – featuring FKA twigs:

PASIONAE – CANDELA TURCO

Candela Turco has already designed for Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta, but the Argentinian artist-turned-jewellery designer’s latest venture is her Brooklyn-based accessories label, Pasionae. Art is evidently an enduring inspiration for Pasionae (whose modus operandi is to make ‘art for art’s sake’), and the brand’s foray into accessory design has been marked by dramatic and experimental interpretations of raw materials. It makes sense, then, that Turco’s futuristic fashion icon is Yohji Yamamoto – a designer who’s successfully dared to go against fashion’s status quo.

Check out Turco's favourite movie scene – from A Clockwork Orange:

VÄSKA BAGS BARCELONA – ANN-SOFI STORBACKA

Ann-Sofi Storbacka, the Finnish-Swedish accessories designer living and working in Barcelona, founded her label Väska soon after graduating in 2012. The brand’s simple name (Swedish for ‘bag’) pays homage to the minimalist Nordic aesthetic that characterises the collections – AW15, for instance, is all about returning to Finnish roots and heritage. Given this aesthetic, it’s unsurprising that Storbacka’s futuristic fashion icons are Nordic designers such as Samuji, Ivana Helsinki and Satu Määränen. With Väska (which was originally a final-year project for her Accessory Design degree) gaining momentum for its origami-inspired structures and functional vision, Storbacka is ready to “make a lasting impression on people’s minds.”

Watch the short film that inspired Storbacka’s collection:

LAMAT – IVANA DAMJANOVIĆ

Before channeling her talents into Lamat accessories, Ivana Damjanović studied Interior and Furniture design. The combination of this education and the Serbian’s interest in sculpture is evident in the cubist-like surfaces of her work – beautiful elaborate leather creations that directly oppose normcore. Damjanović has founded two labels: jewellery brand Koishi and leather accessories label Lamat. She sums her work up as focused on “discovering, playing and pushing the boundaries just a little bit further,” and this season her inspiration turned celestial: “rebirth, the death of a star – an explosion that collapses a star results in so many different beginnings.” 

Check out the clip about exploding stars that inspired Damjanović’s collection:

IOANA CIOLACU 

With a background in architecture and a Masters from London College of Fasion, Ioana Ciolacu is an experienced creator bringing a structural edge to her designs. Whether it’s playing with masculinity and femininity and opposing shapes, or subverting the roles of hunter and prey (as she did for her latest collection “PARADOX”), the Romanian designer is all about blurring boundaries. Having been earmarked as a designer of tomorrow at Berlin Fashion Week and with an online store about to open, Ciolacu may just have a place in the future of fashion.

Watch the music video for Ciolacu’s song of the moment:

The designers will be showcasing their work at the Who’s Next and Premiere Classe trade shows from 23-26 January 2015 at the Porte de Versaille in Paris

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