The fashion industry has had a difficult time in the last two years. Following a year of cancellations, adjustments, and postponements in 2020, 2021 was expected to be a bit more straightforward. Spoiler: it wasn’t.
However, now that the new year has arrived, optimism is in the air and we are on the lookout for 2022’s up-and-coming designers. In a fast-paced industry where labels rise and fall faster than celebrity couples, we, as consumers, might be wary of designers who are just getting underway. But, if prior entrants like Alexander McQueen and John Galliano provide any indication, then it’s a risk worth taking. Plus, there’s nothing quite like sporting a brand before anyone else.
Below are five designers that we are most excited about this year.
Sunflower presented for the first time at Copenhagen Fashion Week for the first time for Fall/Winter 2019 after launching its debut collection a little over three years ago. In that time, the brand has developed a reputation for a brand it describes as “understated, intelligent design with a respect for tailoring traditions.”
Sunflower’s aesthetic has previously been expressed through chunky knits, loose shirting, and modernised outerwear shapes. Over the last three years, the label’s tailoring and denim have also become major categories in their own right. However, the label’s Instagram shows their seventh collection (which is now available) to feature leather pieces, printed jeans, and graphic tees all feature alongside a returning cast of everyday staples.
We are sure you’re familiar with South African designer, Lukhanyo Mdingi, who is an LVMH finalist as well as one of three Karl Lagerfeld Prize winners. Mdingi is recognised for working with local artisans and paying close attention to detail when crafting her pieces. She is a master of patterns, typically employing bright colours in her work. We believe that being bold will be one of the biggest fashion trends this year, and Mdingi’s designs certainly fit the bill.
Harris Reed has become a household name among fashionistas. Reed was discovered by stars like Harry Styles, Solange Knowles, and Alessandro Michele of Gucci while still a student at Central Saint Martins, and is now one of the undisputed pioneers in fluid fashion. The brand describes itself as ‘nonbinary Romanticism,’ with innate beauty and drama that transcends gender and promotes inclusion.
Inspired by aristocratic style, the Renaissance period, and the 1980s (flared suits have become a Harris Reed hallmark), the designer has given clothing a new lease of life, sparking debates about gender roles and what it means to be a man. With collaborations with Missoma, Etro, and MAC already under his belt, Reed isn’t going anywhere.
The world of couture is notoriously difficult to get into, but for Andrea Brocca, a 25-year-old Italian-Sri Lankan designer, it’s been a whirlwind ride. He not only completed his education at the renowned École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and Central Saint Martins in London, but he was also named the youngest couturier in the Guinness Book of Records at the age of just 16. He’s since worked at Temperley, Prabal Gurung, Ellery and Bottega Veneta and dressed everyone from Lady Gaga to Rina Sawayama. The debut collection he presented at Paris Couture Week this summer, was made completely of deadstock textiles like silk moiré, organza, and sustainable leather, and was even worn by Jourdan Dunn, who sported his spiral rose gown to the 2021 British Fashion Awards in November.
After finishing at the Danish School of Design, working as a design assistant at Erdem, and freelancing at Christian Dior, Cecilie Bahnsen unveiled her spring/summer 2016 collection. Shortly after, it was sold exclusively at Dover Street Market, and now it looks like she’s on her way to conquering the fashion world, one sumptuous, frothy design at a time. Watch this space.