Fashion

The Kids Are Alright: 4 rising designers to keep an eye on

Find out how Telfar Clemens, Marine Serre and more got the fashion world buzzing with excitement.
Reading time 6 minutes

Fashion’s most exciting new names right now make changes, not just clothes. With a strong sense of community and inclusivity, these budding fashion designers bring the real world to the runways.

From Telfar Clemens to Marine Serre, these designers are definitely the ones to watch this coming 2019.

Scroll down to find out how they got the fashion world buzzing:

Telfar Clemens of Telfar

Long before genderless fashion became a buzzword, Telfar Clemens was already quietly, steadily honing his vision of intelligently recalibrated streetwear, workwear and American classics – freed of conventional constraints like gender.

But it was only when he won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize in 2017 that the rest of the fashion world sat up and took notice – and Clemens gave them plenty to look at.

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Telfar Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection

In a relatively short amount of time, he has built a reputation for the singular way he incorporates art, music and other diverse strands of the larger cultural conversation into his work. 

In recent seasons, his fashion shows have become performances – in the best sense of the word – with clothes modelled by his singer and musician friends, who would write and perform original compositions for Telfar shows, giving his shows the throbbing energy of a rock concert.

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Telfar Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Clemens might be much lauded by the fashion elite now, but he remains grounded and democratic; recent projects include making uniforms (which were later cleverly made available for purchase) for the White Castle burger chain – a staple of his Queens childhood – as well as doing a pop-up in discount store Century 21.

Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss

As property enthusiasts would know, it’s all about location. It was definitely one of many winning factors in Kerby Jean-Raymond’s S/S ’19 show for Pyer Moss, but for more profound reasons. 

It was held at the Heritage Center of Weeksville, a Brooklyn neighbourhood that became one of the first free black communities after slavery was abolished in the US.

Titled “American, Also”, the collection was a look at the history of America through a black lens, told in clothing. 

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Pyer Moss Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection

It shined a light on how black accomplishment has often been left out of history and pop culture. Modelled by an all-black cast and soundtracked by a powerful gospel choir, there were slogans that asked defiantly, “See Us Now?” Jean- Raymond also collaborated with artist Derrick Adams on a series of prints depicting black people beautifully going through the simple motions of life. 

Jean-Raymond is no stranger to using his platform for empowerment and resistance – he screened a film in support of Black Lives Matter at his previous show – but he also uses it to pay tribute to POC designers and brands before him. For S/S ’19, there were shout-outs to Daymond Johns’ FUBU while the season before nodded at Cross Colours.

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Pyer Moss Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Marine Serre of Marine Serre

Marine Serre is one of those names on every insiders’ lips, but this is a rare instance where the hype is proportionate to the talent. The Pulitzer-winning Robin Givhan wrote in The Washington Post that Serre’s S/S ’19 collection was “a mesmerizing riff on… all the ways in which fashion can be inventive and strange and wonderful”.

Indeed in Serre’s hands, themes that can seem tired and gimmicky when employed by lesser designers – sportswear luxe, modern couture, sustainability – are made personal, directional and ultimately very desirable. 

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Marine Serre Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection

In the span of 2 runway shows, she’s established a signature – melding old-school couture tropes like opera coats, fish-tail skirts, ball dresses and ruffles with extreme sports elements from the worlds of scuba, motorcross and Formula One.

Her clothes strike notes of whimsy and fantasy, but remain rooted in the realities of everyday life – these are garments made to move, drive, stride and run in regardless of age, size, religion and as of S/S ’19, gender.

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Marine Serre Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Her casting this season expanded to women of all ages (including our own Atikah Karim), a few toddlers and children, and several boys in her signature crescent moon prints and converted fleece blankets. That is another talent of Serre’s – an utterly fresh approach to found materials and upcycled garments.

White t-shirts and fishing vests are believably turned into couture-level confections – a continuation of last season’s sensational scarf dresses.

Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby of GmbH

Though the name is rooted in banality (GmbH is the German equivalent of LLC or Pte Ltd), the clothes are anything but. 

The label founded by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby started life as a menswear brand but its aesthetic of industrial Berlin cool and high-impact workwear quickly found a strong female following as
well. 

For S/S ’19, the designers mixed the vibrancy of sari colours and embroideries (springing from Huseby’s memories of his Pakistani mother) with sickly synthetic shades and textures, plus the clinical hardness of medical orthopedic support.

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GmbH Spring 2019 Menswear Collection

If that seems a little bleak, it’s because they have woven their personal experience and identity of being migrants and brown-skinned amidst Euro-centric ideals and these nationalist times. 

The result was Survival Stories – a collection of clothing that offered and conveyed grace and power, strength and vulnerability in equal measures. The models they cast are the physical embodiments of these qualities. 

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GmbH Spring 2019 Menswear Collection

In a few short seasons, they’ve made a splash for casting men that go against the grain; not just in terms of skin colour or age, but also for their powerful muscular builds – a rarity in an industry full of lanky boys.

Their approach now that they’ve significantly expanded their womenswear offering remain consistent – powerful women who don’t fit into conventional ideals of beauty, including Malaysian-German artist/model Soraya Jansen.

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