Sure, we all know about Dior, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and more. Even newer labels like Hood By Air and Telfar are on their way to becoming household names. But what about the many lesser-known brands out there? Whether based in fashion capitals like New York or London or in less-commonly explored locations like Nigeria, here’s a handful of designers and labels to keep an eye on.
When a lot of people think of LA fashion, they probably aren’t taking it too seriously. But that’s all about to change when they come across 69, the brand fronted by an anonymous and reclusive designer (two qualities also uncommon for someone from LA). Just like of-the-moment brand Marques’Almeida, 69 is known for reinventing denim. But instead of frays and deconstruction (though those elements aren’t totally absent), 69 makes oversized, unisex pieces in the fabric with a new spin on Margiela-inspired tropes.
You might have heard of Christian Cowan-Sanluis by now, as the London-based designer’s gained quite a fanbase following his now notorious, glittery pink “selfie hat.” Since then, his sparkly, brightly colored, and altogether over-the-top designs have been spotted on the likes of Azealia Banks, Rita Ora, and more, and in magazines like Oyster and Dazed & Confused. Still a student at London College of Fashion, Christian Cowan-Sanluis already has a bright future ahead of him, making a name for himself through exciting garments similar to the maximalist aesthetic pioneered by Jeremy Scott at Moschino. But don’t get it twisted; there’s no denying the originality behind this work.
Back in 2011, Joshua Myrie won the coveted FIT Critic’s Choice Award for his graduating senior collection. And his impressive work hasn’t slowed down since. The Brooklyn native continuously expands on conceptual, modern design, consistently featuring sculptural shapes and unique fabrics in his body of work that’s been highly celebrated throughout New York’s indie fashion sphere.
After studying at Duke University, US-born and Rome-raised designer Kim Shui pursued fashion design at elite schools Parsons and Central Saint Martins. From there, she’s gone on to receive numerous awards for her futuristic, otherworldly pieces, including the 2015 Samsung Galaxy Award and the 2014 Media Award at the opening of Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week: International Young Fashion Designers Competition in Beijing. Constantly re-contextualizing the female form through her work, there’s no denying that Shui is set to go far in the near future.
Adebayo Oke-Lawal has dabbled in everything from writing to styling, making quite a name for himself in his home country of Nigeria and all across Africa. However, his true passion lies in design, as shown through his menswear label, Orange Culture. Combining contemporary Western silhouettes with African sensibilities, Orange Culture – which is described as a “movement” – presents a vision for an expressive, artistic male with a penchant for vibrance. Just take a look at one of Oke-Lawal’s latest collections and you’ll see why Orange Culture has been selected as a finalist for the LVMH Prize, while Vogue and GQ also chose the brand to show at Pitti Uomo in Florence. Stay tuned for more from this fast-growing label that’s making a bold mark for Nigeria on the fashion map.
A recent graduate of the alternative design school Coconogako, Soshi Otsuki is another menswear designer worth noticing. Combining traditional Japanese inspiration with modern, often minimal aesthetics, Otsuki’s latest work made waves during the Tokyo New Age presentation at Tokyo Fashion Week spring 2016. Known for loose yet masterful tailoring and an exciting spin on monochrome, this designer is certainly poised to be going places.
Click on the links for more information on each label.