We Went Behind The Scenes Where Fashion’s Biggest Names Are Made
There are many reasons to be proud of London’s fashion industry – from heritage brands like Burberry to new-gen designers like Molly Goddard and Matty Bovan – but one thing that sets the capital’s style apart is its celebration of new talent.
Fashion East, a pioneering nonprofit established in 2000 by Lulu Kennedy, leads the pack. Each season, Kennedy and a panel of experts choose a new set of menswear and womenswear labels, nurturing the designers and helping them with everything from financial backing and show production to mentoring and PR.
Previous success stories include House of Holland, Gareth Pugh and Roksanda Ilincic, and this season, the showcase proved as exciting as ever. We asked the creatives behind the brands ASAI, Charlotte Knowles and Yuhan Wang about the soundtrack to their design process, the inspiration for their SS19 collection, and the funniest thing to happen at fashion month.
Click through to meet the designers and watch an exclusive backstage video, showing all the fun of fashion week and more.
London-born and based designer A Sai Ta graduated from Central Saint Martins (CSM), where he was headhunted by Kanye West’s Yeezy and interned at The Row. He launched his label ASAI in February 2017 with Fashion East, and looks to the nuances of his British-Chinese-Vietnamese heritage.
My SS19 collection was inspired by… My trip to Vietnam, which led us to develop a variety of new fabrics and techniques.
Being a part of the Fashion East family is… Really heartwarming, the dynamics are like a family – you’re supported, loved and truly treasured.
The funniest moment from fashion week was… Backstage after the show; everyone was having their rounds with the wigs and glasses from the show, catching the ASAI vibes.
My favourite place to dance the night away is… PDA in east London, it’s a real big family. The energy and vibes make it the perfect place to let loose and break a sweat, to just let your inhibitions go.
My partner in crime is… My wife Joni.
My party trick is… A surprise…
The place I’m inspired by is… Around London. I take long walks whenever I can.
The music that soundtracked my design process was… Mariah Carey, “My All”.
The Londoner doing great things you should follow is… Shy Girl.
Having interned at JW Anderson and Oscar de la Renta, Yuhan Wang showcased her debut collection at London Fashion Week in February 2018. Born in Weihai, China, she’s now based in London, studied at CSM and was runner-up in L’Oréal’s Young Talent Award. Her previous collections have explored Asian femininity in relation to Western culture.
My SS19 collection was inspired by… People’s curiosity, especially in regards to what happens “behind the curtain”. The show was a metaphorical dialogue between a woman dressing for herself versus how she dresses for public view. I based the concept on the portraits of regency women and the Qing dynasty Chinese women, I especially love the fluid layered dresses and delicate watercolours.
Being a part of the Fashion East family is… Feeling a lot of warmth and support, which is important on such a challenging new journey.
The funniest moment from fashion week was… That I couldn’t find my cat anywhere a few days before the show. In the end I saw him hiding in my collection, and I realised he had been sleeping inside the garment bags for days. I wonder if he was dreaming of my dresses while he was napping.
My favourite place to dance the night away is… Outdoors, especially in a field. All the nature and fresh air.
My partner in crime is… My friend Wooty.
The place I’m inspired by is… Parks and antique markets.
The music that soundtracked my design process was… Black Box Recorder, “The Facts of Life” and Zhou Xuan, “Cai Bin Lang”.
The Londoner doing great things you should follow is… I love Julie Greve’s photos and Faye Weiwei’s paintings.
Founded in 2017 by south London-based Charlotte Knowles and her partner Alexandre Arsenault after graduating from Central Saint Martins, the brand turns femininity on its head and explores the boundaries of luxury womenswear.
Our SS19 collection was inspired by… Our perception of femininity in a near future.
Being a part of the Fashion East family is… The best thing that’s happened to us! Starting a brand is an incredible but fast, intense and (at times) stressful process, so it’s amazing to have the support and advice from Lulu and the team. They are always there for you, and even in the most tricky situations they always stay calm and have a sense of humour.
The funniest moment from fashion week was… Raphaelle Moore; always the best entertainment at fashion week.
My favourite place to dance the night away is… We haven’t gone out much lately. We went to a random Cuban club near Waterloo one night where we really danced the night away.
My partner in crime is… Definitely Anna Pesonen, never a dull night! She’s always able to convince you to turn a casual evening into a night out.
The place I’m inspired by is… Spitalfields Market on a Thursday morning, and charity shops in general.
The music that soundtracked our design process was… Lately it’s been Princess Nokia and Lion Babe! Slim and Jules Barrett also introduced us to their son’s band Sorry, and Goat Girl.
The Londoner doing great things you should follow is… A lot of our friends are really talented, we feel like we can’t really name one! Check out our Instagram to see who we follow.
Behind the scenes at Fashion East SS19.
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