Seven upcoming designers you should be watching

Some of the most exciting names hailing from London, Paris, and New York

ICYMI (ok, there’s literally no way you could have missed it), it’s Dazed 100 time again. For the next few weeks, you can head here to hit vote on the creative talents defining youth, pop, and style culture today. Of the 100 rising stars on the list, seven have caught our attention with their design. Get to know them all below, and click their names show them your support.


“When designing clothes for women, in my opinion a female gaze is always going to be more personal to the perspective of a male gaze,” says Charlotte Knowles. After earning her MA from CSM in 2017 designer Knowles joined the Fashion East line-up with a presentation for SS18, before graduating to its runway show in AW18. Working with Dazed senior fashion editor Emma Wyman and her design partner Alexander Arsenault, on the catwalk she debuted a collection which upgraded her signature deconstructed lingerie style into a collection which featured mini-dresses, sheer layers and techy cycle shorts.


Raul Lopez might be a name you’re already familiar with – thanks to the fact he co-founded Hood By Air with Shayne Oliver, and previously headed up label Luar Zeopl. After taking a couple of seasons off, Lopez returned with LUAR – and it deserves a space on your radar. With looks being worn straight off the runway by Solange, his latest show at NYFW featured diamante-detailed du-rags, technical puffa jackets worn zipped around the hips rather than the waist, and oh yeah, a model walking on stilts.


Ludovic de Saint Sernin is a great example of a designer who honed his skills elsewhere before investing what he’d learned into his own label – but by looking at his clothes, you wouldn’t necessarily think he had Balmain on his CV. Tapping into all things homoerotic and taking inspiration from people like Mapplethorpe, the Paris-based de Saint Sernin’s sensual menswear earned him a nomination for this year’s LVMH Prize. This summer, he’ll put on his first runway show.


In 2018, you’re no one in fashion until you’ve been memed. Joining the likes of Hood By Air and Balenciaga, whose designs have been immortalised (multiple times) in meme-form, is menswear designer Goom Heo. And where others may have taken offence to this, the CSM student instead posted to her own Instagram, saying her life was basically made. Inspired by the DGAF attitude of men she observed in her native Korea, the collection in question featured tailored jackets blown to outlandish proportions, t-shirts piled on top of each other, and this year’s definitive accessory: tiny shades. It was an intelligent, humorous offering that tapped into the current zeitgeist, and marked Heo out as both a truly self-aware designer and a definite one to watch.


Since making his LFW debut at Fashion East’s AW17 show, Vietnamese Chinese designer Asai Ta’s label Asai has become a mainstay as one of London’s upcoming names. Subverting Asian tropes, his collections have featured pieces like nunchuk-inspired handbags, Ming vase boots, and his signature “hot wok tops” – sheer, tie-dye turtlenecks in a kaleidoscope of colours. As well as humour, there’s technical skill involved too, with some of his distressed looks being created with tens of thousands metres of thread. Now his Fashion East residency is up, Ta will present his first solo runway show this September.


Mowalola Ogunlesi only made her debut last year at Central Saint Martins’ graduate show. Taking inspiration from her heritage, Ogunlesi’s Lagos petrolheads stormed the runway to the sound of 70s Nigerian psychedelic rock. Dressed in tight leather jackets and trousers, the looks were contrasted with feminine underwear that peeked out of waistbands. Since the show, Ogunlesi travelled to Lagos to host a pop-up for Nike’s ‘Homecoming’ event, and later this month will release a book with fellow Nigerian, photographer Ruth Ossai.


“I love taking mundane items and putting them in a different context. I’m not very wild! I’m quite rooted in reality,” says Stefan Cooke, the London-based designer obsessed with boring clothes. Having graduated from Central Saint Martins a little over a year ago, Cooke is making a name for himself by repurposing the ordinary into something altogether more interesting: think cropped Argyle ‘sweaters’ made from chainmail, oversized trenches, and printed trompe l’oeil-effect denim styles. Having joined the ranks of LFWM’s MAN initiative, Cooke (and partner Jake Burt) will present his SS19 collection alongside Rottingdean Bazaar and Art School in a matter of weeks. What to expect? Watch this space.