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Kelly Love lost in translation
Alicja (IMG) wears all clothes by Kelly Love SS15Photography Felix Cooper, styling Adam Winder

The scheme supporting next-gen design talent

The Who's Next showcase is back – meet former winner Kelly Love, who found inspiration in Japan’s love hotels

The Future of Fashion award was created with the aim of providing a platform for young, upcoming designers to showcase their work in Paris. Past finalists include London-based designer Claire Davies, who counts nuns and FKA twigs as sources of inspiration, and Candela Turco who prefers Stanley Kubrick. This year's round of designers will be picked this month (with the showcase taking place in September), so we spoke to one of the most recent finalists, Kelly Love, about the inspiration behind her winning designs.

“I went to a party where there was a guy eating tissues straight from the box with chopsticks and a girl with a pet turtle on a lead,” says Love, recalling a recent two-year adventure in Osaka, Japan. From the city’s burgeoning art scene to its legendary ‘love hotels’ (which charge by the hour), the London-based designer found inspiration in every corner of the sprawling commercial hub, fusing these influences in her SS15 collection. Contrasting a sense of romance with the brash energy of life in the city, the collection includes sporty leather shorts, cropped silk t-shirts and slick jumpsuits. It was her uniquely conceptual design process that won her the Future of Fashion emerging designer prize at Who’s Next (in partnership with Not Just a Label) in Paris this January. It marks another bold step in Love’s quest to set the fashion world on fire – but the best job she’s ever had? “Moonlighting as a singer in a saké bar!”

Applications for this year’s selection close on 19 June, with 30 designers chosen next week and announced the following week. Those picked will showcase their SS16 collections alongside Love at the Who’s Next and Premiere Classe trade shows on 4–7 September.

Photography Felix Cooper; styling Adam Winder; hair Louis Ghewy at The Book Agency using Bumble and bumble; make-up Ninni Nummela at Streeters; model Alicja at IMG; set design William Farr; photo assistants Andrew Moores, Sarah Stenfeldt; styling assistant Chiori Takamatsu; casting Noah Shelley