Each year, the Vogue Fashion Fund — both stateside and across the pond — makes our lives and wardrobes more interesting by rounding up the finest, freshest design talent the industry has to offer and asking them to compete in a variety of challenges. In the process, designers forge relationships with one another, exchange ideas and know-how — and grind. It’s as stressful as it sounds, but the winners are well rewarded for their efforts (in the form of industry mentorship and cold hard cash).
Today, the British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund announced its 2017 finalists. Some names, like red carpet regular Osman, will ring a bell. Others, like cult label Toogood, not so much. That’s the beauty of the competition. “This year’s shortlist is an excellent demonstration of the breadth of fashion talent in this country,” stated Vogue UK editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman, head of the judging committee. “Any one of them will be a worthy recipient of funding that is specifically designed to help their business in a very targeted way so that it can grow into a greater role on the global fashion stage. I congratulate all of the shortlisted designers for the tenacious creativity that has got them to this point.”
For their next assignment, the designers will come before the BFC/Vogue panel on February 2 and present their vision for their brand’s future. The winner(s) will be announced on April 4. In the meantime, get familiar with your new designer (and Instagram) obsessions below.
Chinese-born designer Huishan Zhang launched his namesake label back in 2011. Anyone familiar with Zhang’s feminine yet edgy designs will be unsurprised to hear he got his start in the Dior Haute Couture atelier.
Mother of Pearl
Amy Powney of Mother of Pearl is famous for her innovative fabric pairings and unique prints. Her collections serve serious vintage vibes. To wit: inspiration for her Pre-Fall 2017 line came from an old photo of her father rocking his 70s biker dude best.
A favorite of celebs from Beyoncé to Emma Watson, Osman Yousefzada’s semi-eponymous label is known for architectural, romantic pieces.
Two words: Dramatic. Shirting. Central Saint Martins alumni Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding (aka “the shirt boys“) are masters of innovative tailoring and unconventional silhouettes. In search of an office-friendly(ish) button-down that doesn’t stifle your personality? Look no further.
Hannah Weiland of Shrimps is the mastermind behind those technicolor faux-faux jackets the fashion set can’t seem to get enough of. (Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe and Adwoa Aboah are big fans.) Her designs ooze an irresistible sense of fun.
Sophie Hume’s bright, hardware-heavy accessories are informed by her surroundings — the British designer lives in a converted toy factory.
“Sisters Faye and Erica Toogood were raised amid the furrowed fields of the English countryside. Their grandmother was a tailor who, during the War, made underwear out of parachutes,” explains the brand’s website. The duo went on to design unisex workwear and outwear that caught the industry’s eye due to their “audacious” tastes in fabric and shape.
[ via Vogue UK ]