Future fashion with Britain’s big, bright new talent

Mimi wears tops, skirt and leggings CLEO LUANA

Introducing the fashion grads set to take the cut, stitch and sewin’ worlds by storm (if their electrifying final collections are anything to go by).

Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Order your copy here.

Next wave, next crave, next phase. A new sensation. Future fashion. Tomorrow’s look.

Year after year, season after season, British fashion is reborn. And it’s thanks to the hair-dyed, nose-pierced, head-shaven, chain-smoking, DayGlo’d fashion school graduates keeping the BritFash flame alive.

Last year was different. The UK’s fashion schools, like all other colleges and universities across the country, had to close their doors, which meant students cutting, stitching and sewing from their bedrooms. In with tough crits on Zoom, out with in-real-life technician aid, it meant graduating without a proper send-off – minus the annual graduate shows attended by proud parents, eagle-eyed editors, buyers, industry experts, journalists, stockists and stylists.

If anything, the shift in circumstance had tomorrow’s Next Big Things working harder than ever before: presenting their graduate collections digitally, either through short films, online portfolios, or updating their Instagram profiles with a year’s worth of hard graft.

But precisely because they missed out on an actual graduate show, THE FACE felt it was only right to celebrate the next generation of fashion talent.

Presenting, then, a portfolio of designers and models wearing the most thrilling, daring, wearable, cool and creative collections to have emerged from London’s fashion schools over the past 12 months.

The 13 fashion graduates over the following pages represent the best of new British fashion: big-time talent, innovative ideas and subversive style soon to be seen on a street near you. Or, at least, when we’re allowed out of the house.

So, take a look. Even if you’re not wearing it yet, you’ll probably be talking about it.

Olivia wears dress STEPHANIE UHART, Stephanie (designer, inset) wears hat STEPHANIE UHART

Stephanie Uhart

29, BA Fashion Design with Knitwear, Central Saint Martins

The Chilean designer taking knitwear to X‑treme sculptural heights

Tell us about your style.
Fluff, a continuation of self, freedom, shiny, emotional flow, soft sculptures, Teletubbies and texture.

How did you make your collection?
By myself in my flat during lockdown while changing my hair colour three times a week.

What is future fashion all about?
Being sustainably-conscious, while making sure fashion is actually made for anyone who wants to wear it.

Rhiannon wears top, saddle corset, skirt and shoes RHIANNON DAVIES

Rhiannon Davies

23, Fashion Knitwear, Central Saint Martins

The West Country designer fashioning saddles into corsets

What got you into fashion?
I’ve always had a weird obsession with clothes. My parents had to duct-tape my drawers shut because they’d put me to bed, then wake up to find outfits laid out all over the floor.

Who’s your favourite designer to have come out of London?
Mowalola. She’s unflinching and has formed her own cult, which seems to have accelerated at top speed. That’s the London spirit for me.

What would you be doing if fashion never happened?
I’d be a theologist and part-time pin-up girl.

Yasmin wears top and trousers SABAH IQBAL. Sabah (designer, inset) wears all clothes TALENT’S OWN

Sabah Iqbal

24, BA Fashion Womenswear, Central Saint Martins

The London designer exploring her Pakistani background through a British lens

What are your influences?
Having a Pakistani shadow over me. I say over” because I feel like it’s a part of me, yet it’s beside me.

Why should everyone know about you?
There aren’t enough people exploring or challenging the subject lines I’m touching on.

What’s the best advice your tutor gave you?
Tell your story. No one [else] can tell it or live it.

Riley wears dress BRADLEY SHARPE. Bradley (designer, inset) wears all clothes TALENT’S OWN

Bradley Sharpe

25, BA Womenswear, Central Saint Martins

The Nottingham designer making outer-wear that’s outta-this-world

Tell us about your style.
Satirical, witty, thrilling, bizarre, frightening, metaphorical and sardonic.

What is future fashion all about?
Intelligence beyond fashion’s means and designers who aren’t afraid to kick the industry in the balls until it grows a new, diverse and sustainable pair.

How are you hoping to spend 2021?
Hopefully in a few clubs so I can finally stretch my legs.

Ruth wears dress SOHEE PARK. Sohee (designer, inset) wears necklace SOHEE PARK

Sohee Park

24, BA Fashion Design with Marketing, Central Saint Martins

The South Korean designer crafting proper posh frocks for Sunday best

What got you into fashion?
Watching the Chanel fashion show on television at my grandparents’ place.

How did you make your graduate collection?
The gowns are hand-dyed and hand-embellished, and the printed dresses were all illustrated prints by me, which I worked from my iPad during lockdown.

What’s the best advice your tutor gave you?
Be bold! Make it bigger! Bigger!”

Mimi wears tops, skirt and leggings CLEO LUANA. Cleo (designer, inset) wears all clothes TALENT’S OWN

Cleo Luana

22, BA Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear, London College of Fashion

The London designer mixing club-ready clobber with her Angolan roots

Tell us a bit about your style.
Sportswear meets bad bitch.

Describe your collection.
My collection looks at my Angolan heritage and Newham upbringing, tapping into different elements of people from my childhood and adulthood, and celebrating the culture that has raised me.

What has London taught you about life?
There is nothing that cannot be worn.

Dulcie wears tops, skirt and sock ELEANOR CHAPMAN. Eleanor (designer, inset) wears all clothes TALENT’S OWN

Eleanor Chapman

23, BA Fashion, Kingston School of Art

The French designer with a hard-as-nails approach to femininity

Describe your collection.
It’s called The Body Decides and it looks at how the body applies meaning to an object or shape, and how that object equally gives meaning to the body.

Does politics feed into your work?
I think it’s hard for fashion not to feed into politics because it’s all about your perspective on the world and your choices in how to represent that.

How do you get by living in London?
I feel like I’m scraping by most of the time. But you just somehow do.

Miles wears top, trousers and mask MILES GEORGE DANIEL

Miles George Daniel

26, BA Fashion Textiles and Design, Middlesex University

The art-meets-fashion designer giving sustainability a punkified spin

What got you into fashion?
My gran. When I was younger, she’d always be making clothes or altering garments for the family.

What would you be doing if fashion never happened?
Probably be an astronaut. Being able to visit galactic galaxies beyond our reach has always fascinated me.

Describe your collection.

Nan wears coat, top, bracelet and shoes YASMINA ATTA. Yasmina (designer, inset) wears all clothes TALENT’S OWN

Yasmina Atta

23, BA Womenswear, Central Saint Martins

The Lagos designer travelling back to the future with a sci-fi take on African folklore

Tell us about your style.
I like to mix and merge. I’m into Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, but also the reality show Love & Hip-Hop.

Describe your collection.
It explores the process of transforming, merging African folklore references in Gundam robots, connecting the ancient with the future and present.

What has studying in London taught you about life?
To value everyone’s experiences but, at the same time, maintain who I am.

Hamda wears top, skirt, stockings, shoes, hat and bouquet MARINA PATALANO. Marina (designer, inset) wears all clothes TALENT’S OWN

Marina Patalano

23, BA Fashion Design, University of Westminster

The Buckinghamshire designer conjuring up occultist fashion for outcasts

What are your influences?
Fairytales, storytelling, folklore, cultural stories, otherworldly characters and universes.

What should everyone know about you?
I don’t think storytelling should be limited to childhood. Stories can provide both an escape and a reflection of reality and I want people to be a part of the narrative.

What’s the best advice your tutor gave you?
To be the best version of myself, and that my peers were not my competition.

Spent wears top and trousers AARON ESH. Aaron (designer, inset) wears jumper AARON ESH

Aaron Esh

30, BA Menswear, London College of Fashion

The East Londoner designing with young, broke blokes in mind

What influences you?
My friends, the clothes they wear and how they wear them.

Why should everyone know about you?
My graduate collection was a commentary on inner-city living from the perspective of young men. I reflect on the daily grind and discuss the need to make ends meet, pay rent, the pressures of communal living and the false illusions of success. And how these can manifest in burnout.

What’s the best advice your tutor gave you?
If you don’t know how it’s made, how will you know how to fuck it up?”

Who is your biggest supporter?
My overdraft.

Saaba wears jumpsuit SAABA STAPLETON

Saaba Stapleton

27, BA Menswear, Central Saint Martins

The Ghana-born designer finding treasure in lost lands

What got you into fashion?
Back in the day, I’d admire my grand-aunt for making her clothes. She had a vintage Chinese butterfly sewing machine and I would watch her turn, twist, unpick, cut and kiss her teeth out of frustration. She made the most amazing garments for church.

Describe your collection.
After an epiphany, he decides to escape criminal life in London by fleeing to Alkebulan [Africa’s ancestral name], seeking spiritual protection.

How are you hoping to spend this year?

Davinya wears background piece dress and frame SANDRA POULSON. Sandra (designer, inset) wears all clothes TALENT’S OWN

Sandra Poulson

25, BA Fashion Design with Print, Central Saint Martins

The art-meets-fashion designer inheriting memories from her Angolan hometown

Tell us about your work.
My work is threaded by my purpose as a practitioner and person, rather than aesthetic value. There are visual mechanisms that are recurrent in my work, such as the use of colour. But again, these colour decisions are a tool to communicate the intentions of the work.

What do you remind yourself when it all gets a bit much?
It’s OK, I didn’t come from Combatentes, Luanda to sleep. When I’m done, I will.

Who would you like to thank?

Hair: Shiori Takahashi at Streeters
Jenny Coombs at The Wall Group using M‑A-C Cosmetics
Louise Nindi
Isabel at JONI
Olivia Belgrave-Ruse at Milk Management, Ruth Aigbe at Models 1, Hamda at Present Model Management.
Photographer’s assistant:
Phil Bradley.
Stylist’s assistants:
Hollie Williamson and Nicole Pereira.
Hair assistant:
Katsuya Kachi.
Make-up assistant:
Kite Chuang.
Production assistant:
Sami Ambrose.
Casting assistants:
Spencer Houghton and Charlie Benjamin

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