Fashion Scout has announced the four winners of The Ones to Watch Award for London Fashion Week a/w 18 – Maddie Williams, I Am Chen, Susan Fang and Kristel Kuslapuu.
Selected from a long list of emerging designers, the Ones To Watch winners receive the opportunity to showcase during London Fashion Week. For the first time in the history of the award, the a/w 18 winners are presenting in two different formats, with Maddie Williams, I Am Chen and Susan Fang exhibiting in a group showcase in the Vestibule Catwalk Hall and the final winner, Kristel Kuslapuu, showcasing within the Fashion Scout Presentation studio.
The Judging panel consisted of six industry experts including Martyn Roberts, Fashion Scout’s founder and director, Hattie Crisell, acting fashion editor at The Times, Ida Petersson, womenswear buying director at Browns, Emma Firth, online fashion editor at Hunger, Kendall Robbins, fashion programme manager at The British Council and Fabio Piras, MA course leader at Central St Martins.
Ones to Watch is instrumental in raising the profile of emerging design on a global scale. Previous winners include Eudon Choi, Georgia Harding, Phoebe English, Typical Freaks, Joanna Berling, Helen Lawrence, EDDA and Typical Freaks, alongside s/s 18 winners Neo Design, Starsica, Ji Won Choi and Triinu Pungits.
A/w 18 winners at a glance:
Graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, British designer Maddie Williams presented her eco award-winning graduate collection in June 2017 at Graduate Fashion Week, scooping the Catwalk Textiles Award and Dame Vivienne Westwood Ethical Internship Prize. Through her work she shows that ‘eco’ fashion can still be exciting and avant garde, aiming to dispell the assumptions of it having to be minimal. Her work plays with silhouette and texture and crosses the boundries between fashion, costume and fine art.
Three years out for university, Susan Fang has continued to develop her eponymous label whilst working under major design houses. Her brand presents original alternatives to the usual garment, exploring the interaction of the body with clothing, through the exploration of new colour dimensions and fresh silhouettes. Her 2015 Central Saint Martins graduate collection was widely applauded by press and was featured in Dazed, Dezeen and The Evening Standard. Her new Airwave a/w 18 collection will present an entirely new air-weave technique that allows the fabric itself to float between the two and three dimensional. This new technology leads to a design and textile innovation that presents interdimensional colour and mirage movement, creating a ceaseless illusion of wave between colour and form with the wearer’s natural body movement.
Hong Kong based designer Zhi Chen is behind knitwear label I Am Chen, now in its third season. I Am Chen strives to bring the fun and light-hearted spirit to people who embrace an eternal sense of childish playfulness. Focusing exclusively on knitting, I Am Chen aims to challenge the definition of knitting by creating garments made by advanced machines with new techniques, using unconventional yarns. By playing with different machines and yarns, Zhi creates unique garments full of eye catching shapes and wearable colour combinations.
Estonian based knitwear designer Kristel Kuslapuu’s eponymous label is joining the Fashion Scout schedule after having caught the eye of the judging panel showcasing at Talinn Fashion Week. Following graduation in 2017, Kristel continues to develop her award-winning label, which has scooped a series of international prizes. Her collection is about dark secrets, phobias, social anxieties and traumas. The pieces try to talk about serious and inconvenient subjects through highest levels of self-irony. Most of the bold, colourful designs in the collection are hand knit as a protest against fast fashion. A twist is added by portraying serious topics with cute and fuzzy materials such as yarns from alpaca, camel, goat and sheep. Flirting with sculptural forms, bold colours, unique patterns, the collection shares provocative messages, transcending traditional gender conformity.
“This season’s Ones to Watch truly demonstrates what the award was created to showcase and we are excited to have expanded the award across the catwalk and presentation studio to fit with our winner’s creative views. We have a bold and colourful eclectic mix of designers from diverse cultures, making Ones To Watch the highlight of the A/W 18 schedule,” says Martyn Roberts.
Fashion Scout will present its Ones to Watch Catwalk Show during London Fashion Week on Saturday 17 February at 1pm in The Vestibule Catwalk, and its Ones to Watch Presentation on Sunday 18 February at 12 to 1.30pm in the Presentation Studio, Freemasons’ Hall, London.