Blindness RTW Spring 2018

LONDON — Browns Fashion has got the whole world in its hands — or at least some significant bits of it.

Ida Petersson, the company’s women’s wear buying director, said the buying team for the London store has been adopting a global perspective and standing behind new international talent, a strategy that’s also aligned with the ethos of Browns founder and honorary chairman, Joan Burstein.

“What Mrs. B has given to the world in terms of discovering new talent was incredible. It’s something that our buying team has always been passionate about, but we now want to take it further. We’ll be shouting about it much more,” said Petersson, adding that she wants to bring in designers who are “still untouched by the craziness” of the industry and give something back to them.

Some of Browns’ new names have not even officially launched, so a partnership with the retailer could act as a springboard for their careers.

Conner Ives, still a second-year student at Central Saint Martins, working toward a B.A. in women’s wear, will be unveiling an exclusive capsule for the retailer early next year. Petersson said Ives landed on her radar after having designed model Adwoa Aboah’s dress for the Met Gala.

Petersson said she later “begged him” to do something for Browns and the result is a capsule of spliced vintage T-shirt dresses. Prices range between 415 pounds and 550 pounds.

Wright Le Chapelain, a brand founded by Central Saint Martins alumna Imogen Wright and artist Vincent Le Chapelain, were discovered by Browns during the college’s open day. The label has made its debut at the store with a range of off-kilter shirting and tailoring pieces based on the design duo’s graduate collection.

Emerging Chinese and Korean designers will be making their presence more strongly felt as of next season: Blindness, a Korean label that champions genderless fashion and offers a new, more feminine take on streetwear, and the Chinese label Shu Shu Tong are among Petersson’s latest finds.

Shu Shu Tong, created by London College of Fashion graduates Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang, resonated with the retailer for its edgy take on feminine pieces such as tulle dresses and its competitive price points, which start at 145 pounds.

The company is introducing other brands that stand out for their attractive price points, from buzzy streetwear names such as Palm Angels and Heron Preston, with prices starting at 200 pounds and 300 pounds, respectively, to Blindness, with price points starting at 80 pounds, and Staud, a label known for its modernist yet feminine aesthetic, with dresses that are priced between 130 pounds and 370 pounds.

She described Staud as “Reformation 2.0,” referring to the contemporary Los Angeles-based brand. “We said that if someone can do dresses so well, we have to have them,” said Petersson of Staud’s easy, colorful silhouettes.

Beachwear is another growing category for Browns, and was introduced for the first time in July.

“We realized there’s something there. It’s no longer just about what you wear to the beach, but a full summer wardrobe and it gives us the opportunity to work with talent in a new way,” added Petersson.

She pointed to key additions in the category, including “Insta-famous Innika Choo,” who hails from Australia, L.A.-based Belusso, known for its sophisticated printed swimwear, and Double Rainbouu, another Australian label that stands out for its modern take on the Hawaiian shirt, offering an alternative to breezy kaftans.

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