Pin It
Elena Velez AW23
Elena Velez, Photography Evelyn Freja

10 bizzaro designers of the future, according to APOC Store

From mutant jewels to medieval kitten heels, Jules Volleberg and Ying Suen of the cult APOC marketplace reveal their favourite discoveries of 2023

Since emerging from the depths of the pandemic in 2020, APOC Store has fast become a lodestone for weird and wonderful creations. As an alternative to traditional retailers, the website provides a platform for emergent designers and artists to hawk unusual, hand-made items without stringent delivery windows or order minimums. “Designers can sell what they want when they want,” as co-founders Jules Volleberg and Ying Suen tell us. “The pace of the industry can be so unsustainable, which just perpetuates a really unhealthy culture. So we wanted to create something that completely goes against that”. It means APOC Store has managed to chuck a life raft to the young creatives who’ve yet to receive co-signs from Fashion East or LVMH. “And that will always be the case. We want APOC to be a place of discovery.” 

A designer can join the site at any point in their career and its founders couldn’t care less about the number of followers or press clippings that a creative might have received. So far, its roster includes hundreds of fledgling artisans: among them Garbagecore, Olivia Ballard, Ramp Tramp Tramp Stamp, Veredas, and Alectra Rothschild. APOC Store now fields over 300 applications a month from ascendant talents angling for a spot on their own landing page, and Suen takes “an intuitive approach” to the selection process. Their practice must be as ethical as possible and their creations wholly unique – like gloopy toilet seats and these body horror fingers. Below, Volleberg and Suen pick out ten designers to watch from their latest intake, from Elena Velez and Eirocori to INVASIVE MODIFICATION and Cruda.


Elena Velez is an American fashion designer and artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I love her non-traditional take on luxury with their “aggressively delicate”’ garments, and how she draws inspiration from unglamorous references like the industrial decline of the American Rust Belt. She actively collaborates with local metalsmith artisans to revive regional artisanship.”


Eirocori is a new Chinese fashion brand by Corie Ruochen. The brand combines subversive basics with elements of Japanese streetwear from 90s magazines like FRUiTS magazine. Her intricate skirts are my favourites.”


“Based in Tbilisi, Georgia, INVASIVE MODIFICATION is one of my new favourite accessories brands. Taking inspiration from retro-futurism, it modifies traditional crafts and techniques in their production process to create these futuristic-looking shoes.”


Miosis Design by Elmo Mistiaen creates jewellery inspired by biomorphic forms and organic shapes. Elmo was always obsessed with insects and weird biological processes and now integrates this into his design process. His designs feature thorns and liquid forms, which he ‘evolves’ through AI-generated imagery so that it resembles weird insects and natural elements - “the weirder the better.”


1CONCEPT’s main inspiration comes from their childhood, which it captures through the use of playful and tactile materials.”


Jackson Napier is a new streetwear brand focusing on convertible garments. His cargo pants, for example, have multiple ties, allowing for all kinds of cinching. They also have a low crotch and more than eight pockets.”


“I first came across MIFIG in Marseille, where the designer is part of a community of young creators. Its pieces are made from recycled materials and combine armour and nature, making them both hard and soft at the same time.”


“The Amanda boots by Cruda are a staple item! All her shoes are hand-made in Mexico with a focus on artisanal processes. The designer has a background in furniture design which you can see in the structural design of the wooden heels.”


“Inspired by electronic music and technology, Symphony’s first release, the shoulder bag comes with a USB stick for artists to store music.”


“A new collaboration for us, No Limits! Art Castle works with artists outside the mainstream art world. Anemoon is part of the first release. Anemoon is only 19 years old and her work is influenced by the effects of climate change within the ocean, like marine plastic spills and nuclear disasters. She translates these ideas into mysterious new life forms.”