Ahead of the AW19 shows – which start tomorrow, FYI – we list the wildly talented designers you won’t see on the established schedules
It’s the start of another year, and with that comes another back-to-back season of men’s, women’s, and Haute Couture shows that are set to take us all the way through to early March(!) Before LFWM starts this Saturday, and we strap in to see what the likes of Charles Jeffrey, Samuel Ross, Art School, and Mowalola Ogunlesi have in store for us, though, we’ve compiled a list of the menswear designers you won’t see on any of the established schedules. At least, for now.
From the London-based graduates subverting traditional ideas of masculinity and endeavouring to make fashion a more sustainable, ethical space, to the Arca-approved creative blazing a trail for the queer community in a historically conservative former-Soviet country – these are the designers who should be on your radar in 2019.
Head to Christian Stone’s Instagram and it quickly becomes apparent that the London-based designer is something of a gaming nerd. Using nylon Playstation logo disc bags and Call of Duty-inspired camo fabric to create thigh-length platform boots, and manipulating Ziploc bags into unique, see-through corsets, Stone’s boundary-pushing, imaginative designs skew traditional ideas of gender and imagine what humans might be wearing 100 years into the future – or what they might look like were they to morph into computer game-esque superhero or supervillain versions of themselves. The designer’s approach has already garnered him a sizeable (and dedicated) fanbase, with A$AP Rocky wearing one of his fishing net balaclavas in his FKA twigs-featuring “Fukk Sleep” video.
Not only is Westminster MA graduate Priya Ahluwalia intent on bringing her radically creative collections to the world, she’s committed to doing so in an entirely responsible, socially conscious way – with sustainability a key focus within her work. Born and raised in London and of Indian-Nigerian descent, the designer channels the energy of her dual heritage into her unique collections, as she repurposes vintage denim jackets and nylon track tops into oversized trenches, and pieces together knitted panels to create new sweaters and vests. Last year, she travelled to Panipat, India and Lagos, Nigeria to see how clothes are recycled and reused there, and subsequently released a book, Sweet Lassi, which documented her journey and the vast amounts of second-hand clothing being shipped there. “When I saw the sheer amount of clothing that was piled high in these warehouses and in these massive lorries that have all of them hanging out of the back, it was a real eye-opener seeing how much waste we all produce and how much we overbuy,” she explained to us back in June. “Looking at the piles and bundles was when I thought of the idea of patchworking things together to create new textiles.”
London-based label Maromas was founded by Thomas Harvey and Mauro Pitteri while the two were studying at London College of Fashion, and explores black masculinity, sexuality, and the designers’ Caribbean and Argentinian heritages respectively. The pair’s final collection was presented as part of guerilla grad show Burn The Man last summer and tapped into the contradictions that lie at the heart of the Jamaican dancehall scene, with models striding down the runway in cut-out cycling shorts, skin-tight mesh tops painted with flowers, Dandy-esque silk brocade suits, and vertiginous stiletto heels. “Being homosexual in Jamaica is seen as a negative thing, which is quite amusing when you look at how flamboyant heterosexual men are in their fashion and dance styles,” explains Harvey. “Their take on style is fully formed and beautiful, but to actually be gay is rejected. We want to explore that juxtaposition.” Despite having only graduated a little over six months ago, Maromas recently took over London’s ICA with an immersive catwalk experience as part of a day celebrating young QTIPOC talent – and this is just the beginning.
Though the fashion industry’s initial interest in Georgia – and particularly its capital, Tbilisi – was stoked by the success of Demna Gvasalia at Vetements and Balenciaga, a new generation of rising designers are ensuring the spotlight stays focused firmly in its direction. Among them is Aka Prodiashvili, who draws inspiration from the city’s DIY underground clubbing scene and its vibrant LGBTQ+ community, challenging Georgia’s conservative values with his progressive, gender-skewing designs. For SS19, Prodiashvili channelled his frustration at the violent raids of revered techno club Bassiani, the corruption that permeates the Georgian government, and the homophobia that’s still rife on Tbilisi’s streets into a collection that celebrated the progressive, open outlook of the next generation, with clashing animal motifs, lurid colour combinations, and powerful, imposing silhouettes all key. He’s also gained a fan in Dazed favourite Arca, who has been spotted in more than a few of his pieces in recent months.
Debuting her final MA collection as part of the Parsons graduate show during New York Fashion Week in September, creative Madeleine Hogan (who designs under the name Floyd Hogan) questioned contemporary masculinity with her unique, conceptual offering. Drawing inspiration from the glory days of WWE wrestling – namely the 80s and 90s – Hogan sent a series of oversized parachute pants, ruched and panelled track tops, and subtly flamboyant tailored pieces down the runway, many of which appeared blown up to inhuman proportions or delicately deflated. It was, she explained, an exploration of society’s fetishisation of the muscled male form and its bearing on sexuality. Soon after, she was approached by Nike and has since moved to the West coast of the US to hone her skills under the sportswear behemoth. A definite one to watch.