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Another day, another designer. WWD has sifted through the masses, plucking out these seven under-the-radar brands that you should know. For six more designers to watch, see Thursday’s WWD.

This story first appeared in the May 16, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


Designer: Maki Oh, 26; based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Launch: Fall 2011.

Background: Arts University College of Bournemouth, England.

Wholesale prices: $200 for a silk vest to $1,000 for a silk velvet dress.

Retailers: Maryam Nassir Zadeh, New York.

Brand philosophy: The latest collection was inspired by Jacques Tati’s 1967 film “Play Time,” but there’s always Nigerian influences, such as a fish motif that relates to a Nigerian proverb that means to reap what you sow. Oh describes her collection as “strict, luxurious and powerful, with an element of the blithe.”

— Jessica Iredale

NEXT: Morrissey >>


Designer: JR Morrissey, 46; based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Fashion CV: Marist College, Pough-keepsie, N.Y.; designed for Randolph Duke; former owner of Womyn and JR Morrissey Trouser labels, both of which he has since sold.

Launch: Quietly for resort 2011; fall is the label’s full introduction.

Wholesale prices: $28 for T-shirts mixed with silk and leather to $225 for a silk-lined Ponte jacket with lamb leather collar.

Retailers: Joan Shepp and Knit Wit in Philadelphia; Rexer-Parks in Huntington, N.Y., Filly & Colt in Boca Raton, Fla.

Brand philosophy: “Tailored with workmanship that is more artisanal; it’s an understated cool in that the colors aren’t loud and splashy, and the prints are more subdued.”

— Marc Karimzadeh

NEXT: Novis >>


Designer: Jordana Warmflash, 27; based in New York.

Fashion CV: Washington University in St. Louis, College of Art, St. Louis; interned at Zac Posen and Peter Som; design positions at Jay Godfrey and Alice + Olivia.

Launch: Fall

Wholesale prices: $324 for a pleated metallic wrap cover-up to $868 for a backless silk crepe gown with godet detail.

Retailers: American Two Shot in New York, TenOverSix in Los Angeles.

Brand philosophy: “I love combining classic silhouettes with an unexpected bright color, texture or detail.”


NEXT: René Storck >>


Designer: René Storck, 43; based in Frankfurt, with his design studio in Paris.

Fashion CV: Self-taught, with a tailoring apprenticeship at Alice-Eleonoren-Schule, Darmstadt.

Launch: Spring 2010; fall is the first season in the U.S.

Wholesale prices: $195 for a cotton blouse to $1,800 for a double-face cashmere coat.

Retailers: Chalk in Evanston, Ill., Lulu Brandt in Pasadena, Calif.

Brand philosophy: “The dialogue between minimalism and opulence interests me. Minimalism can discipline opulence, and opulence can enrich the minimalist designs, and this produces an exciting language.”


NEXT: Currer Bell >>


Designers: Nancy Parker, 36, left, based in London, and Geren Lockhart, 39, based in Los Angeles.

Fashion CV: Parker, who attended Nottingham Trent University, is the founder and creative director of London-based textile studio Nancy Parker Studio Ltd. Lockhart, who studied at Parsons The New School for Design, is the creative director and founder of contemporary line Geren Ford.

Launch: Fall

Wholesale prices: $85 to $110 for airy silk tops and $130 to $200 for silk shift and maxidresses.

Retailers: Scoop NYC; Steven Alan, New York; Thistle & Clover, Brooklyn, N.Y.; La Totalite, Japan.

Design philosophy: “We have paired together timeless prints with seasonless separates to create a contemporary label for a creative and independent woman with a certain joie de vivre,” says Parker. “The aesthetic is very much about the blend of casual with sophistication.”



NEXT: Furio >>


Designer: Catherine Furio, 26; based in Los Angeles.

Fashion CV: Rhode Island School of Design, Providence.

Launch: In 2009, but put on hold after fall 2011 collection so Furio could devote time to missionary work in Cambodia. The line is now relaunching for fall 2012.

Wholesale prices: $165 for a linen bib collar to $1,850 for a Cambodian raw silk and brushed leather skirt.

Brand philosophy: “I am very much about the craft of an artist, and intelligent design. It’s modern with futuristic silhouettes infused with a tribal aesthetic.”


NEXT: Avelon >>


Designer: Erik Frenken, 36; based in Amsterdam.

Fashion CV: Royal Academy of Art, The Hague and Central Saint Martins; stint in the design department at Alberta Ferretti followed by head of design for women’s wear at Viktor & Rolf.

Launch: In 2008 as a division of the now-defunct denim company Blue Blood; Frenken gained creative control under spring 2011 relaunch.

Wholesale prices: $42 for a cotton T-shirt to $478 for a fox-fur vest.

Retailers: 100-plus stores worldwide, including Opening Ceremony and Harvey Nichols.

Brand philosophy: “I like to place things out of context, like to take a very luxurious fabric and stonewash it; seeing things differently than the way your eye is trained to see it.”

Taylor Harris

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