young fashion designers Bianca Saunders

It’s been a tough year for fashion, particularly for young and emerging designers within the industry. This was a driving force behind retailer MATCHESFASHION continuing its Innovators program, an annual initiative set up to give practical support and mentoring to the most promising new designers, promoting their collections and helping to future proof their businesses.

The 12 designers to make the Innovators 2020 list are labels that MATCHESFASHION believes are helping to propel fashion into a new era. Based across the globe, these designers are: Ahluwalia, Stefan Cooke, Bianca Saunders, Ludovic De Saint Sernin, Wales Bonner, Chopova Lowena, Halpern, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Thebe Magugu, Harris Reed, Germanier, and Art School. You can more find info on the full list by heading here.

Today, though, we’re focusing on four of these emerging talents, picking out our highlight pieces from their recent collections.

It’s no secret that fashion has a waste issue, which is why many labels are putting sustainability at the top of their agendas. Ahluwalia is one of them, with Indian-Nigerian designer Priya Ahluwalia using deadstock materials exclusively across her collections. This resourceful, upcycled approach has resulted in beautifully mismatched garments and eclectic designs. This is seen particularly in the patchwork shirt above.

Bianca Saunders is a London-based designer with Black Caribbean roots. Themes of identity and cultural heritage shape her collections, which often center on staples that are transformed by Saunders’ craftsmanship and unique approach to tailoring. This spin on basics is seen in pieces like the slit-cuff, bleached denim jeans above.

British label Stefan Cooke is actually headed up by Stefan and his partner Jake Burt who, like Bianca Saunders, add their twist and vision to what we might consider everyday items. With upcycling and deconstruction both key parts of the Central Saint Martins pair’s design approach, highlight pieces include the printed denim jacket and the slashed sweater, one of this season’s finest knits.

Not only working within the realm of fashion, Grace Wales Bonner has also exhibited art at London’s Serpentine gallery. Drawing inspiration from post-colonial theory and black literature, the themes of race and gender are often referenced in Bonner’s collections. Classic tailoring and ornate details combine across garments, like the hibiscus-strewn cuban collar shirt above.

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