Fashion

The 5 New Designers To Know From London Fashion Week

When it comes to boundary-breaking, exciting fashion, no city does it better.

By Isabelle Truman
A week out from London Fashion Week and one of those 'you can't make this up' moments happened: the Queen of England died. Immediately, the industry turned to chaos: Burberry pulled its show and soon after, Raf Simons did too. For a short time, it felt like the entire week would be canned. But following a pause — and alleged rather tense designer-filled Zoom call — the show, thankfully, did go on.
London is often overlooked as a fashion week, upstaged by big name designers in New York, Milan and Paris. But what makes the city better than all the rest is the unparalleled amount of young emerging talent that continues to push the boundaries, experiment and bring all the energy and excitement you want from a runway show. Despite the drama (and lack of parties), this season was no different. Fashion East's runway, yet again, delivered a slew of new names that will soon be at the very top of your SSENSE wishlist and highly anticipated debuts were made by Dua Lipa beloved designers, Chopova Lowena and Chet Lo, while KNWLS continued her reign as the city's coolest creative.
Below, the five new designers you need to have on your radar, courtesy of LFW Spring/Summer 2023.

Karoline Vitto

Karoline Vitto SS23. Instagram
The runways have been progressively becoming more inclusive and this season, thankfully, even when battling the return of low-rise and '90s aesthetics, designers continued to champion bodies above sample size. No one more so than Karoline Vitto, who showcased as part of Fashion East and who featured a line-up of exclusively 'curve' models.
The Brazilian designer, who moved to London to study fashion at Central Saint Martins, grew up hyperconscious of her body, and, instead of looking away from the areas deemed disgusting by society — bulges, back rolls, excesses of flesh under the armpits, Vitto began to highlight them, using moulded metal frames to accentuate the parts of the body traditionally covered up. At the same time, creating a strong brand identity and proving size inclusivity really is possible if a young, unestablished designer can do it in the process.

Paolo Carzana

Paolo Carzana SS23. Supplied
After releasing an entirely self-generated and photographed collection he made alone during lockdown in his Cardiff studio last year (that had his talents compared to the likes of McQueen and John Galliano), Welsh-Italian designer Paolo Carzana's debut show was one of the week's most highly anticipated. And though anyone's nerves would be wracked when expectations were so high, Carzana didn't disappoint. Naming the collection, Imagine We Could Be The Ones To Change It All, each and every piece Carzana sent down the runway — from layers of gossamer organza to densely-layered outerwear — was etched with meaning. This presentation alone could be held up as proof of why it was essential for London fashion week to solider on. As the show notes read, "Fashion can still mean so much. It does to us."

Sinéad O’Dwyer

Sinéad O'Dwyer SS23 Supplied
It's hard to believe that Australia was leaps and bounds ahead of London when it comes to runway inclusivity, holding an entire runway show dedicated to adaptive fashion at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week in April. At Sinéad O'Dwyer's debut the Irish designer sent two wheelchairs down the runway — a first for an on schedule show in the city — amid a slew of diverse body shapes wearing her signature shibari-inspired panelled cut-out leggings, tops and tight dresses, and rushed satin short shorts. White shirts, blazers and colourful tops accentuated model's breasts, while stirrups were added to naked pink dresses. The footwear, too, is O'Dwyer's own, made up of the perfect trending trio: Mary Janes, square-toed ballet slippers and delicate kitten heels.

Feben

Feben SS23. Supplied
One of the most exciting young designers in London right now, Feben Vemmenby released her third collection as part of London Fashion Week's NEWGEN cohort, sending models down the runway in club-ready corsets, bright, bead-encrusted minis paired with patent thigh-high boots, and graphic-printed skintight dresses. Feben has created menswear piece before, but this season the designer honed in on her craft, creating quilted-detailed trousers and oversized blazers — no doubt to be worn by both women and men — that worked to perfectly juxtapose the colourful beaded bras and latex on offer.

Masha Popova

Masha Popova SS23
Since Dua Lipa debuted a Masha Popova butterfly top on her Instagram last year, hype — and demand — has been huge for the Ukrainian born London based womenswear designer, who was based back in her home country until Russia's invasion. Popova is best known for her denim creations and for her debut show, she further lent into the fabric, creating full-length dresses, early aughts-era midi skirts, and a cut-out shorts and cropped jacket look that will no doubt end up in the closet of Julia Fox. Instagram will be pleased to know, Popova also added two new variations on her viral butterfly top, this season in the shape of a scorpion and a dragonfly.
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