This year, Very are proud to be sponsers of Fashion Fringe Contest 2011. On Thursday evening, I was invited to the exclusive preview of this years finialists collections. Fashion Fringe was set up in 2004 by Colin McDowell, it happens once a year and the objective is to discover, support and expose fresh new talent. From a huge array of entries, 11 finalists were selected to have their abilities tested where it is then whittled down to 3 finalists. Finalists will show their collection during London Fashion Week followed by an awards ceremony to announce the winner.
Not only did I get to catch up with this years talented finalists, I also got to chit chat with past winners and finalists who were showcasing their new collections (they were all lovely!).
First up was JENA.THEO. The duo won the coveted award back in 2009.
JENA.THEO was founded in February 2009 by Jenny Holmes and Dimitris Theocharidis who were inspired to collaborate by a mutual respect and admiration for each others styles and saw that by working together they could create a truly unique collection. Jenny works on voluminous and challenging pattern cutting whilst Dimitris focuses on the silhouette and delicate tailoring. Both of them were super cool, with a laid back attitude which I personally loved!
Then I got chatting to JADE KANG, finialist of 2010. (super friendly and gracious!)
Jade Kang grew up being inspired by his mother’s sense of fashion and trends, and is motivated to inspire such heights of fashion in others. His signature style is a skilled combination of tailoring, futuristic urban femininity and contemporary romanticism. Known in fashion circles for his wild ‘big’ hair masking a delicate ‘small’ ego this edgy designer transformed his inner rebel into an outer uptown label by unleashing his own design culture in 2007.
Upon graduating Jade worked for Giles at Giles Deacon Studios on his 2006/2007 collections. Jade’s formidable skills also as a pattern cutter led to associated work with Alexander McQueen and Jonathan Saunders.
Finally I got to meet Eunjeong Hong who won in 2008
In 2008, Central Saint Martins Graduate Eun Jeong 33, won the Fashion Fringe prize with her “Go By a Secret Path” collection which was described by Hilary Alexander as “by far the most outstanding; it had tailoring, and the soft frivolous fantasy feel as well.” Since winning Fashion Fringe Jeong went on to exhibit in Paris as well as at New York Press Day sponsored by CFE, BFC and Vogue US. Unfortunately I was unable to get a quick snap of the lovely lady which was a shame! (boohoo!) Time was up, It was time to speak to this years finalists.
This Years Finalists:
FYODOR GOLAN is a duo of passion and opposites. Coming from very different parts of the world, Fyodor (from Latvia) and Golan (from Israel) learned how to explore differences rather than similarities in their design aesthetics, describing their ethos as “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.”
I got a preview of one of their dresses. The detail was breathtaking! A tough leather mixed with delicate cutwork mixed the hard and soft creating a visually magical piece.
The Duo on their collection:
“Our new S/S12 collection, ‘Flowers of Evil’, was inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s poems and the representation of nature by Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo. It is about a nymph that lives through a painful metamorphosis, grasping for support from the nature around her; gradually letting it consume her. It is a contrast of mind and physical beauty.”
The duo was extremely gracious and softly spoken, they were extremely sweet.
Nabil El-Nayal, the designer behind Nabil Nayal, was born in Syria in 1985. Invited by Christopher Bailey, Nabil worked as researcher reporting to the Creative Director at Burberry Prorsum and in 2009, River Island C.E.O. Richard Bradbury commissioned Nabil to create a capsule collection which sold out in just three days.Nabil’s SS12 Collection for Fashion Fringe is ‘All The Riches She Deserves’ – where the female protagonist is dramatically carried to safety as her opulent mansion house burns to the ground around her at dawn.Every element has been filtered and refined through Nabil’s fastidious, considered approach to his work. His love and passion for the Elizabethan era, Couture techniques and unexpected garment juxtapositions come together to convey the unique Nabil Nayal signature. His designs evoke a modern strength, femininity and empowerment with timeless elegance.Nabil was very friendly and his excuse to his amazing shoes were ‘Its Fashion Baby’.
The final finialist I met was Heidi Leung. Heidi grew up in California where her first step towards her dream of becoming a fashion designer began with an Apprenticeship at the Edmond Chow Designer Studios in San Francisco, where she returned to work every summer until 2010 – despite moving to London in 2006, where she studied Womenswear at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design.
Heidi’s Fashion Fringe Collection was inspired by Orientalism (East Asia/Middle East) and celebrity vacation photos from the 1960s. Like Orientalism in Fine Art, the Collection is a mix between the simplistic cutting of the East Orient with the Middle East, representing the positive side of cultural ignorance, resulting in beautiful visuals. The mood however is not so serious, and Heidi aims to retain some cool-but-goofy humour in her Collection presentation.
Heidi was super chatty, she has the downtown cool American girl vibe. Her own personal dress sense got us talking too. Very distinctive and original.
The winner will be announced on 17th September 2011 during London Fashion Week. The Judging Panel will be a collective few, consisting of:
All finalists wowed me with their talent and their visionary. The judges are going to have a tough time this year! I am really looking forward to the final, I can;t wait to let you all know who won 🙂