NEW BLOOD: Matchesfashion is adding three new designers to its ongoing Innovators talent-support program, including Nensi Dojaka, the latest winner of the LVMH Prize.
The other designers are S.S. Daley, known for his innovative men’s wear; and Maximilian, who is making a name as an expert tailor, with daring cuts, and ability to weave in references to Black history and identity into his work.
They join a roster of 11 other up-and-coming labels which have long been championed by Matches, including Halpern, Germanier, Harris Reed, Chopova Lowena, Ahluwalia, and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy.
“We have always been a supporter of design talent, and the Innovators program formalizes that support, recognizing talent, and promoting the launch of their collections on Matchesfashion,” said Damien Paul, head of men’s wear.
As part of the program — which was spearheaded by the retailer’s former global fashion officer Natalie Kingham — brands receive a package of support that includes preferential payment terms, as well as dedicated communications and marketing support from the retailer, which has committed 2.2 million pounds to promoting these young names.
As part of this marketing push, this year’s Innovators will have the opportunity to sit down with an established designer for a conversation that will be broadcast across Matches’ channels throughout September and October.
Some of the designer pairings include S.S. Daley and Thom Browne; Michael Halpern and Donatella Versace; and Ludovic de Saint Sernin and Olivier Rousteing. Grace Wales Bonner will be in conversation with Jill Sander’s Luke and Lucie Meier.
“The conversations have covered everything from sustainability, to the future of runway shows, to how a collection begins. Taking place through a variety of mediums including video, Zoom and email, the conversations have looked at what it means to be a designer working right now,” said Simon Chilvers, the retailer’s creative director, adding that established designers jumped at the opportunity to offer their support to the young ones.
“It became a mutual discovery between the two brands — after all everyone was emerging at some point in their careers,” he added.