After three seasons of showing as part of the Fashion East collective, Matty Bovan is staging his first stand-alone show on Feb. 16 at the British Fashion Council show space. He has worked on a number of collaborations, with Gina for footwear and Stephen Jones for hats, while Wool and the Gang has sponsored the show. He will also be customizing signature bags from Coach.
“Having my first stand-alone show, I’m elevating things, although it’s all very daunting at this stage, and I’m always wary to walk before I can run in every aspect of what I do,” said Bovan, who has an MA from Central Saint Martins in fashion knitwear, and was the recipient of the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award and LVMH Graduate Prize.
The designer — who is known for mixing handcrafted details with tough, technical elements such as colorful crocheted knits and street-inspired pieces — said he’s been experimenting with lots of new textures and ideas. “I am really interested in the relationship between technology and craft, how we can marry them and create something special and challenging to people’s tastes. I feel that is the DNA of who I am as a designer,” he said.
Bovan, who has worked for designers including Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, said he plans to continue his partnership with Coach, whose bags he always customizes for his shows, and that he’s also working with Marc Jacobs Beauty to develop the makeup looks for the show. “The relationship extends through the season as they support all my projects,” he said.
Bovan said he is growing his business in a very careful way. “I want to make sure what I put out under my label is really artisanal and special. I also feel we are building a foundation for my brand, and it’s critical to get this right before we look at gear shifting for the future.”
Prices range from 180 pounds for a patched wool scarf to 1,125 pounds for a V-neck minidress. His range is sold in Matchesfashion.com and H. Lorenzo.
Syrian-born and raised, Nabil Nayal is in the final stages of his Ph.D. in Elizabethan dress and sportswear technology at Manchester Metropolitan University, the same school where he earned his B.A. honors degree in fashion. He also holds an M.A. in women’s wear from the Royal College of Art.
He launched his brand in 2015 and has worked as a research assistant at Burberry and as a design assistant at Bellville Sassoon. Known for his sculptural and dramatic designs with an Elizabethan era aesthetic, Nayal said he designs for a woman who is not afraid to challenge conventions.
“This is the sixth and final part of my Elizabethan sportswear series, which has formed part of my Ph.D. research output,” Nayal said. “My Ph.D. is now in the final stages of completion. My research into Elizabethan dress has led me on such an incredible path, and I know that in-depth research will always form the basis of my design process.
“This season I’ll be introducing color for the first time in the Elizabethan sportswear series and working with the concept of the devil’s cloth,” he said, referring to striped garments that were associated with darkness, evil and death in the 16th century.
Prices range from 400 pounds for a cropped shirt with bonded pleats to 3,500 pounds for a silk tulle dress with a detachable hand smocked collar. The line is sold in Dover Street Market Ginza, Harvey Nichols and Moda Operandi.
The designer will present his collections at the Designer Showrooms at The Store Studios.
Vin + Omi
Artists and designers Vin and Omi have been producing conceptual looks for 11 seasons, and while their previous collections were not for sale, the duo felt it was a good time to unveil their first ready-to-wear line — and market it, too.
Vin and Omi have been designing since 2004 and are known for their bold creations. They have worked on a range of projects spanning fashion and art, curated installations for Frieze and embraced sustainable practices. Their designs — jackets and bags featuring bold bubble designs with obscure hashtags such as #LMAO — featured in “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.”
The duo has consulted for brands and designers worldwide and made show pieces for Dior and Louis Vuitton. They have also created sustainable fabrics for other companies.
“We have produced many rtw items before in our collections, but we have not gone to market with them as the time wasn’t right,” Vin said. “So this is the first collection we are taking to London Fashion Week.”
The designers say they create for an eco-conscious, creative and expressive woman. This season, they plan to introduce a range of eco-textiles that they developed, such as a wool-like material and textiles made from plastic collected from river and ocean clean-up projects; faux leather made from plant sources, including chestnuts, and Latex made from a sustainable rubber harvesting project funded by the designers in Malaysia.
“Absolutely Fabulous” actress Jane Horrocks and “Made in Chelsea” star Julius Cowdrey will model for the show. They have also teamed with Daler Rowney on two projects for London Fashion Week: screen-printed bags as well as a backdrop for their show created by Conor Collins.
The designers plan to launch an eco-accessories range in New York later this year. Vin + Omi’s show will be held Feb. 15 at the Andaz London hotel.
Aadnevik, is a London-based label led by the Norwegian wife-and-husband team Hila and Kristian Aadnevik.
Launched in 2013, the brand is known for its glam, sexy ready-to-wear pieces made with couture techniques and luxe materials such as chiffon, feathers and leather.
Hila describes the Aadnevik woman as a heroine, a protagonist who evolves and explores life. “She is independent, sensual and untamed and in the power of her own destiny,” said Hila, who counts Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Madonna and Selena Gomez among her customers.
She is self-taught, having observed her father, a shoe designer, at work in the Eighties. Kristian studied tailoring in Norway and graduated with an M.A. in fashion women’s wear from the Royal College of Art in 2002. He worked at Alexander McQueen as an assistant in the design and creative studio and as a senior designer at Roberto Cavalli. He also worked with Donatella Versace on a special international project in association with Vogue.
The designers said joining the London Fashion Week calendar was a natural choice. “This is our home and where we have become a family,” Kristian said. “It is a very inspiring city and we live amongst some of the best museums in the world. It’s a city of great tradition and history as well as the new and exciting.”
This season, the designers are developing new techniques and experimenting with shapes and materials. “It will be a collection of strong emotions and we want the audience to be drawn into the story behind the creations,” Hila said.
Expansion plans include an e-commerce platform that will launch this month and the addition of more product categories and accessories. A London store is also in the works. The designers said their ambition is to become a global luxury fashion house offering uniquely crafted products for women, men and children.”
Prices range from 3,500 pounds for a short dress to 80,000 pounds for couture pieces. The brand is stocked in 55 Croisette and Pretty You boutiques and on aadnevik.com. The designers will stage a show at 9 p.m. on Feb. 18.
Born and raised in Somerset, England, Sophie Merchant was a self-taught designer who owned a cult vintage store in Notting Hill. In 2015, she began designing her own collection, which is known for its streamlined aesthetic and contemporary price points, and this will be her first time showing on the London Fashion Week calendar.
“It’s important for the brand to be recognized during fashion week. We are a British brand, focused on making in U.K. and Europe; we belong here,” she said.
Merchant described her customer as “creative with a love of refined detail and quality. She’s the 20-year-old daughter of a rock star and a 78-year-old ex-ballerina.” For fall, she experimented with tactile materials. “We are working with knit again, which we hadn’t touched for a few seasons.”
Prices start from 300 pounds for a top to 3,000 pounds for a gown and the label is sold on Net-a-porter and at Selfridges and Boutique 1. Merchant Archive will host a presentation from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 20.
Emma Charles graduated with a B.A. in fashion design from the University of Westminster in 2014, and launched her own brand two years later. Known for mixing men’s tailoring with feminine touches, she describes her signature aesthetic as modern, elegant and “understated sexy.”
“The Emma Charles woman knows her designer brands and isn’t afraid to add youthful, colorful pops into her wardrobe. Ultimately, she is fun and elegant,” Charles said. For fall, she said to expect bright blocks of color alongside a mash-up of Twenties flapper with Nineties band Oasis.
She’s continuing to work with 3-D printing to create jewelry and fringed embellishment. It’s also the first season that she’s producing her handbag collection in Italy. “The quality of the material is the best available,” said the designer, who has interned for designers including Tom Ford, Stella McCartney and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi.
Prices range from 500 pounds for a top to 1,400 pounds for a coat. Her line is sold at H.Lorenzo and Raesthete. Emma Charles will host an event at the Ace Hotel at 9 p.m. on Feb. 16.
Xuzhi Chen was born and raised in China before he moved to London to study at Central Saint Martins, and he now splits his time between his studios in the British capital and Shanghai. He launched his label in 2014 has been a nominee for the LVMH Prize, International Woolmark Prize and the H&M Design Award.
For fall, Chen looked to Jane Morris, wife of the textile designer William Morris and the lover of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. “We’re particularly fascinated by how her images were constantly referenced by various artists. People only get to know her through these representations,” Chen said.
He said he’s also been experimenting with new techniques, such as how to develop his signature yarn-braiding technique so the fabric appears to have a brush stroke effect. “Also, we try to work with new materials such as PVC and wish to change its look by adding more interesting textures onto it.”
Prices range from 150 pounds for a T-shirt to 1,400 pounds for a coat. His collection is sold at Dover Street Market, 10 Corso Como and Lane Crawford. Xu Zhi will host a presentation from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 16.
Born and raised in Eltham, southeast London, Richard Quinn holds a B.A. and M.A. from Central Saint Martins. He graduated from the M.A. program in 2016, and launched his line that year.
The young designer, who’s worked at Christian Dior, Michael van der Ham and Richard James, is known for mashing up prints with classic silhouettes, and calls his woman “elegant with a touch of edge.” For fall, he plans to feature bold prints and add a subversive edge to his collection.
This season, Quinn has teamed with Epson, where he plans to create textile designs using the firm’s digital print technology. The designer works with Epson’s Surecolor system at his studio in Peckham, incorporating digital technology to create his own styles.
Prices range from 320 pounds for tights to 3,920 pounds for a dress. His collection is sold at Matchesfashion.com, Lane Crawford and L’Eclaireur. The designer will stage a show at the BFC show space at 4 p.m. on Feb. 20.
Katie Roberts-Wood, creative director and designer behind Roberts|Wood, is presenting her collection in a new format for fall and is also planning a project in Paris with Comme des Garçons Trading Museum.
Launched in 2015, the brand is known for delicate clothing that has lots of volume, texture and a dramatic appeal. The Nottingham-born, Scotland-raised designer completed a medical degree at the University of Glasgow before following a creative route and studying for her master’s degree in women’s wear at the Royal College of Art. The label recently secured a residency at the Lee Alexander McQueen Sarabande Foundation, which supports emerging talent in the arts.
Roberts-Wood said her latest collection has been built around the interplay of technology and handcraft. “This season we have been focusing on how to create interesting textiles with digital cutting and digital weaving.” The collection will be shown as part of a live installation running from Feb. 18 until Feb. 20 at the Sarabande Foundation Event Space.
“We will collaborate with three stylistically different photographers and artists who will interpret our fall 2018 collection with total creative freedom,” Roberts-Wood said. “The whole process has been inspired by accidental and serendipitous scientific discovery. The hope is that the live collaborations will disrupt the usual format of a ‘fashion show,’ in keeping with our unconventional approach to making clothes.”
The collaborators are Crowns & Owls, a collective consisting of photographers and videographers, artist Marie Valognes and photographer. One contributor used young gymnasts to model the garments, while another created still life compositions and a cinematic, immersive experience.
Prices range from 310 pounds for shorts to 2,490 pounds for an organza jacket. The collection is sold in Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette, Isetan, Dover Street Market in London, Ginza and New York and Comme des Garçons Trading Museum.
The label will also be mounting an installation with Comme des Garçons Trading Museum in Paris during Paris Fashion Week, which runs from Feb. 27 to March 6. The spring 2018 collection will travel to the French capital and will be showcased on models in an immersive exhibition and will also be shown in a live photography session. Viewed only for the exhibitions, the new range on display will be available for purchase in stores once the Paris sales season has ended.