Meet The Newgen, Then Get A Sneak Peek Of Their LFW Collections
The Debrief: We caught up with Danielle Romeril, Ryan Lo and Faustine Steinmetz to probe them on their new AW15 collections before LFW
Everyone pretty much knows that the Newgen sponsored designers who show at London Fashion Week are guaranteed to go onto big things. Christopher Kane? Erdem? Mary Katrantzou? Alexander McQueen FFS? All Newgen. This annual bunch of cool young thangs are basically the life blood of London's fashion industry, they're what put us on the map and made Anna Wintour want to actually come to our shows. So this year's set are worth paying attention to now, even if you haven't heard their names yet.
We were given a sneak peak into the busy busy studios of three Newgen designers - Danielle Romeril, Ryan Lo and Faustine Steinmetz - as they prep for this weekend's all important shows. Here's what they told us to expect from their AW15 collections.
Danielle graduated from The Royal College of Art in 2010 and set up her own label two years ago, after a stint working for Alberta Ferretti. No biggie. Her SS15 collection was an awesome blend of camo print, khaki and sheer lacey panelling, so we're intrugued to find out what she's cooking up for autumn.
So you're prepping for your show - what is it like in your studio right now?
Busy! Lots of last minute decisions being made, music running, long days, late nights, lots of interns! It's the most exciting time though - seeing months of work coming together is awesome.
What is the most exciting thing about showing at London Fashion Week?
Seeing my name on schedule is really exciting! The day itself passes in a total blur - people tell me I seem really calm - my fashion week mask must be a good one! Inside my heart is racing and I am always leaving all my belongings behind me while running after a model with a loose thread on her dress…
What can you tell us about the collection before we see it?
The collection is called 'Survive', there are hybrid garments, protective layers and life-jacket references. I was looking at the shelters migrants build across the world.
Will anything surprise us?
This collection is more sculptural than the others and I am using a really traditional winter cloth (I'll keep it under wraps for now...) which I think people will be surprised by.
What has been the hardest part of designing this collection?
I moved studio and changed my team, AND moved flat AND moved my boyfriend to London - so doing it with all that going on has been pretty intense!
As one of the last designers to graduate from Central Saint Martins' fashion MA under the guidance of professor Louise Wilson (aka the woman who got virtually every banging designer where they are today) before she sadly passed away last year, Faustine had already been flagged up as a designer to watch. She set up her own label in 2013, and her spring collection showed off her crazy textiles skills - think felted, recycled denim with sporty slouchy shapes.
What is the vibe like in your studio right now?
Chaos! But that has nothing to do with the show, that's just how it always is.
What is the scariest thing about showing at LFW?
Last season we only finished building the set 15min before we opened the doors, and the collection was only finished a few minutes before that... so that was quite scary.
Does there feel like there is a lot of pressure when you're one of the new, talented crop of designers at LFW?
I don't really think of myself in that way but still there is a great deal of pressure knowing that so many people are going to come to your show and look at all your hard work... I get so nervous when we get a request for tickets from a big magazine, it's actually a bit of a studio joke that I would prefer if no one came to our show!
What can we look forward to in your new collection?
For this collection I worked on the merging of old traditional textile techniques and new digital crafts. There is actually not that much denim compared to last season where it was just denim!
How does it feel showing on schedule alongside London's most established designers?
London was the fashion week which I always wanted to see when I was younger so it's really amazing to be on schedule along side some designers that have really influenced my work while I was studying. To be honest I love to go on the BFC's website to look at the schedule and see my name in between big names, I do it sometimes when I feel down, I still can't grasp that it is actually for real.
What stage are you at with the collection?
There's quite a bit left to do! I always seem to be designing right up until the last minute. When everything is made, that's when you see which ideas work and which don't. I constantly readjust each silhouette until the last minute. That is also the moment when I start meeting with my stylist Lola Chatterton, and it is a very important moment because it is when I show the collection to someone for the first time.
Ryan was born in Hong Kong and taught himself to knit via YouTube - maybe not the most impressive part of his CV, but we love him all the more for it. Another reason we love him? His Twitter Bio: 'A hyper-romantic clothing line in a super-real world by the dreamy designer. ♥Dreamy'. Ryan was given Fashion East sponsorship when he had only just graduated from his BA course (it's usually MA students who are picked up for the prestigious platform) and we're excited about seeing the latest installment of his uber feminine designs.
What was the inspiration for your new collection?
The Japanese anime Queen Millennia, which plays heavily on the theme of rebirth. Also Anna Karenina… Call it Russian, Ballet Russe, Swan Lake, or Winter wonderland, the fairytale of a Snow Queen…
What is the most exciting thing about this show season?
We are actually on schedule this season... It doesn't happen often for us! We can now spend more time sorting out details for the show... The set, invites, the official NEWGEN stickers to be handed out, and the showcase at Somerset House during fashion week. The freedom and amazing support to make a show of your own is really exciting. We are left to our devices to grow and become who we want to be.
How does it feel to be showing on the official LFW schedule?
It's really an honour and it propels you onto a different level. I think we are ready. I really hope people will see that after they see our new collection on the runway.
What has been the trickiest bit of the design process so far?
Editing, editing and editing. I have had to be as decisive as Anna Wintour.
Is there much left to do before the show?
It's never done! We are just about to start styling the collection with our stylist Robbie Spencer. And talking make-up and hair with Isamaya Ffrench and Tina Outen. And we have the bigger show pieces to worry about! The DRAMA…
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