London Fashion Week’s New Designers to Watch for Spring 2024 – celebritiestalks
Heyun Pan’s label Permu, derived from “permutation,” reimagines menswear through a contemporary lens, through printed mesh tops with built-in gloves and jackets seemingly made from single strips of fabric woven around the body.
“We are dedicated to finding the connection between garment, the body and nature. The relationship between the body and the clothes wrapped around it can express different emotions and states. It is another language for us,” Pan said.
Pan founded his brand in 2022 following the warm reception for his graduate MA collection for London College of Fashion last year. He was quickly invited — and later invited back — to be featured in an exhibition at the Pitti Uomo.
Pan was also one of 10 creatives selected by Kering’s Material Innovation Lab to participate in the sustainable capsule project in Florence and Milan. He also presented a collection with Fashion East in June.
For the brand’s latest collection, the designer explored the complexities of how celebrity intertwines with modern-day beauty standards.
“This collection is called Natural Skin. I would call it: customization of life. In Guy Debord’s theory, people in society construct themselves according to the image, appearance and temperament of celebrities,” Pan said.
“However, I believe that the definition of beauty does not exist in the most immediate and dominant features of the visual appearance, but rather in the ability to accept oneself and to have the ability to customize.…I want to sculpt the contours of life’s curves and decorate the heart with custom textures that will reshape the human perception of aesthetics,” he continued.
To express this, new patterns were developed in order to expand the brand’s size range. The designer also worked with tactile and organic materials and dyes.
“Working with Kering, I have learnt a lot about the potential and properties of bio-pigment. We used natural and recycled materials and bio-pigment made from wood to design. It takes almost a month to make each garment using manual processes such as dyeing,” Pan said.
The designer is set on continuing his brand’s expansion, but most importantly, wants to use his platform as a way to communicate with his peers.
“I think every designer wants to have their own brand, a platform where they can have a dialogue with their counterparts. In this platform, there will be a continuation of design, a tribute to life, and even more self-exploration and reflection,” he said.
Through colorful patterns, silhouettes that pay homage to traditional religious, and sustainable fabrics, Tolu Coker explores the Black diaspora with her signature brand.
British, Nigerian, and Yoruba, Coker’s own identity is a key reference point in her work, especially within her upcoming collection.
“The collection is called “Irapada,” which means redemption in Yoruba, and it’s both redemption in a more metaphorical sense, but also in a really physical, material sense. I was looking at the idea of Yoruba spirituality and how it’s been preserved across the diaspora,” the designer said.
Drawing on her late father’s photographs of Yoruba matriarchs, Coker investigated how Yoruba religion was rejected in favor of Westernized ones during the colonization of Nigeria.
“Yoruba people are derivative of a religion and a way of life — a lot of that way of life and perspective was rejected when early missionaries came to Nigeria. Some of the early churches, Aladura churches, our white gown churches, that have adopted forms of Christianity, still very much have the culture ingrained despite the fact that many of them may have rejected this notion of Yoruba spirituality. I was just really looking at how that exists, not just in Christianity, but across Islam,” Coker elaborated.
The collection serves as a higher form of reclamation for the designer, an homage to preserving cultural heirlooms. As a part of the London Fashion Week lineup, Coker says, she’s able to amplify that message.
“It’s a microphone, a space which provides a big platform and visibility, which comes with its own responsibility. For me it’s not just about having a ‘good show’ or a ‘hot show’, it’s really about what I am saying when I’m being handed this microphone. How am I doing justice to the people, spaces, communities, experiences that have poured into me? How can I be a vessel to give back? It’s really beautiful. It means to have a level of power, to be part of this space and to be able to do it as much as possible on my own terms,” Coker said.
Sarabande alum Leo Carlton is a designer for the future: Fantastical designs straight from cyberspace come to life in their accessories, which are designed in virtual reality and brought to life with 3D printing.
Presenting via London Fashion Week’s Digital Lab, Carlton will show their collection–which, they argue, is not quite a collection at all — in a film directed by Luca Asta.
“It is less a collection and more an example of how the processes we use in a studio can be applied to others,” the designer said.
“The film follows a workshop where each participant is given a block of clay to sculpt and mold as they choose for a short time. The clay sculptures are then 3D scanned to keep a digital trace, and then the clay is squashed back into its original form so there is no physical evidence other than an ever changing lump of clay,” Carlton explained.
“The 3D scans can then be turned into AR filters and 3D assets that can then be used to adorn a body or to project into a space,” they said.
Pieces from collections past, such as amorphous headpieces that swoop and dive around the wearer’s head and ethereal earpieces that are reminiscent of fairy wings, speak to the models created in the film.
Sustainability is also at the forefront of Carlton’s practice, with the digital objects they design mainly printed in fermented plant starch, and occasionally mixed with other organic substrates such as crushed oyster shells and coffee grounds.
“The prints and printing support material can be ground down, heated and re-extruded into reusable 3D printer filament to make more objects. Alternatively, they can be industrially composted and the material will break down over the course of about five days in a controlled environment of heat and moisture,” the designer said.
Going forward, Carlton said they hope to share their unique process with other aspiring designers.
“The vision is to spread and teach these digital techniques into universities, but also highlight the wellbeing aspect of each. I also want to continue to pursue some projects with arts funding to support various communities,” they said.
Siyun Huang’s eponymous brand, which ecompasses Fashion, technology and art, responds to the ever-changing future through her garments.
But for Huang, becoming a Fashion designer was never a part of her dream.
“I started learning painting at the age of 4, and never thought to work in an industry other than the art field,” she said in an interview.
In the process of obtaining her BA degree from the Central Academy of Fine Art, the designer realized that she was keen to apply her desire to creatively innovate on new canvases. That newfound wish led her to obtain her master’s degree at the London College of Fashion.
“Now I am a PhD candidate that is dedicated to doing research on digital technology combined with Fashion art. Being a Fashion designer began with emotion and rationality…from 2D to 3D to 4D dimension, virtuality to reality, tradition to contemporary, technology to humanities. Starting a brand therefore became a natural process,” Huang said.
In her upcoming collection, titled “Immateriality,” Huang cites her Chinese heritage as an inspiration.
“The light of dragonflies, the poetry of lotus leaves in rain, the elegance of bamboo.…Listen to the rain and watch the clouds, and respect the heavens and things. These Chinese cultural metaphors implicit behind concrete natural objects are what Siyun Huang aims to explore,” the designer said.
“I’m also exploring digital innovations of traditional Chinese intangible cultural heritage. Some looks use a handmade textile from the Miao minority in southwest China. It requires indigo dyeing, attaching egg white or cow’s blood on the surface, and constant pounding and steaming, often taking months to produce a 45cm wide fabric,” she elaborated.
True to her first love, the collection is presented as what Huang describes as a “kinetic Fashion art installation.”
“This highly integrates Fashion, art and interactive technology, placing sensors, actuators and integrated circuits on Fashion to achieve the purpose of interacting with the external environment or a human’s behavior to change shapes.…Different from the static clothing, kinetic Fashion art brings dynamic affordance to the audience and provides viewers with a variety of psychological feedback,” she said.
Adrianne Weber is a London-based designer who aims to empower women through her clothing.
“I see clothes as the painting that the artist will apply on the canvas. For me the woman will add her painting, according to her mood, style, personality.…I am providing the painting, but the real artist is who wears the clothes,” Weber said in an interview.
Making her London Fashion Week debut on Saturday with a runway show, Weber described her primary inspiration as “the love of art expressed through garment making.”
“My most recent gallery visit was at White Cube to see Anselm Kiefer’s ‘Finnegans Wake,’ which inspired my color palettes and texture,” she continued.
The designer works primarily with leather, molding it to create boleros, cropped, boxy jackets, and hybrid trousers, which can also be transformed into shorts.
Yet, Weber acknowledges leather’s contentious status, given the material’s negative ecological and ethical impacts, according to Good on You.
“I mainly work with leather, a very delicate topic in the industry nowadays. Adrianne Weber is fully committed to minimizing waste and environmental impact. By utilizing deadstock fabrics, upcycling materials and embracing recycling, we proudly promote responsible consumption and production,” the designer explained.
“As advocates for the preservation of traditional artisanal techniques, we procure and manufacture each collection locally in England,” she continued.
The future is bright for Weber, who plans to continue the brand’s expansion.
“I envision Adrianne Weber expanding in parallel with the core values and pillars upon which it was founded. I see the label as synonymous with women[‘s] empowerment, a brand that will be associated with emphasizing one’s individuality through Fashion and art,” Weber said.
“As one of our most recent endeavors, we have launched the AW Monthly Online Magazine, in which we explore our affinity for all forms of beauty, creativity and art in depth. I want my customers to associate Adrianne Weber with refined craftsmanship, timelessness and a hint of avant-garde edge,” she said.
With contributions from Hikmat Mohammed and Tianwei Zhang
London Fashion Week’s New Designers to Watch for Spring 2024 – celebritiestalks