A new generation of designers are injecting fresh energy and creativity into the constantly evolving landscape of fashion. From sustainable handbags to provocative lingerie, these up-and-coming designers are challenging the way we think about fashion. Discover four emerging designers that are pushing the boundaries with their innovative designs and unique perspectives.
Consume with intention. That’s the guiding principle that shapes the development of Wanze Song’s pieces. The Chinese-Canadian womenswear designer started her career working globally with Canadian fashion label Beaufille, Bulgarian menswear designer Kiko Kostadinov, and Chinese knitwear specialist Xiao Li. “I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, and I’ve always been curious to learn about the making and construction element of garments,” explains Song.
Focusing on innovative pattern cutting, high quality fabric, and considered functionality, Song’s label directly opposes the fads of fast fashion. Through her clothes, she hopes to help reframe how society consumes fashion, while shifting purchasing behaviours to become more thoughtful, sustainable, and connected. Song’s brand is built on the belief that formal and casual wear can exist in cohesion, rather than as distinct codes. As she continues to explore this symmetry, she unearths a style that is both seasonless and current.
For her first collection, Song explored the intimate relationship between her, her mother, and her 8-year-old sister. Looking at the complexity of the multiple roles she embodies at home—maintaining a sister-like relationship with her mother, and a motherly relationship with her sister—she discovered her identity through polarity: mature and immature, serious and frivolous, constrained and free. The garments she created reflected these juxtapositions by pairing well-tailored attire with playful accents. For Spring/Summer 2023, Song continues to explore the fluidity of dualities, this time focusing on the modern individual and the balance of work and play.
London-based body-morphing artist and couturier Michaela Stark, has been quietly making waves in the fashion industry for years with her provocative one-of-a-kind lingerie and corsetry. As a kid growing up in Brisbane, Australia, Stark first sparked her interest in fashion by playing with tutus, bows, and fairy wings. Now she uses that same sense of whimsy and fun to create garments that feel both playful and sensual. Often self-modelled and working with hand-dyed fabrics, noble materials like delicate silks, and embellishments, Stark’s pieces sculpt the body to create the illusion of imperfection. Each of her pieces are meant to celebrate the female form in its entirety, while simultaneously challenging the ideals that typically dictate what is considered sexy or desirable in society.
Stark’s bold approach, artistry, and quality craftsmanship has led to collaborations with luxury houses like Marni, and Jean-Paul Gaultier. Stark has also designed custom pieces for Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo and worked as a costume designer for Beyonce’s award-winning visual album Black is King.
Her spring 2023 collection features a range of vibrant colours with accents of French lingerie, ballet aesthetics, and bridal wear. In addition to her acclaimed corsetry, this collection features a series of soft flowing garments: bloomers, garters, bows, and a garter skirt all made of silk. The collection is available on a made-to-measure basis, to best honour each individual’s body and figure. It’s an ethos she hopes to carry through to future collections and commercial ventures.
Founded in 2018, Amir Taghi is an eponymous women’s luxury ready-to-wear brand produced in New York City. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Taghi was captivated by fashion at a very young age and presented his first womenswear collection of made-to-measure pieces at just 15-years-old. Taghi went on to study design at Central Saint Martins in London, and Parsons School of Design in New York. Choosing to remain in the city, he grew his skills working at some of luxury fashion’s biggest houses, including Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta, Monse, and Adam Lippes.
Now as an independent designer, Taghi’s work accentuates the beauty in clean, sculptural lines; creative draping; and custom prints. His creative vision is eclectic. Doused with classical Persian references and tailored with southern charm, Taghi produces sophisticated designs for women who are unabashedly bold, powerful, and feminine. His pieces have been worn by the likes of Empress Farah Pahlavi, Olivia Colman, Emily Ratajkowski, and Winnie Harlow.
His Spring 2023 collection was inspired by the colours and culture of the Qashqa’i Nomads in the highlands of Iran. He worked with fellow Iranian artist, Haus of Milad, to create two distinct prints, and accented his pieces with layers of macrame and gold beads.
Fane is the brainchild of Laurie-Anne Braun and Margot Baudequin, two friends who had no formal background in design. “I’ve always felt attracted to art and creation, but I was late to take an interest in
fashion,” says Baudequin. Meanwhile, Braun was always intrigued by fashion, but chose to study law and business instead. When the two met in Paris in 2013, they decided to venture into the world of fashion together. “I was obsessed with bags since I was a teenager, [so] we opted for a handbag brand,” explains Braun.
For Baudequin, the idea of creating a handbag was an interesting challenge. Prior to Fane, she never carried purses—she didn’t like them. She found they were too busy, not practical to carry, or poorly made. She would often sew additional pockets into her jackets and clothes to avoid using bags.
Launched in the fall of 2020, Braun and Baudequin describe Fane bags as pure. Focusing on expert craftsmanship, linework, and minimalism, each bag is elegantly understated. With a focus on timelessness, the duo crafts each purse to be complementary to a wearer’s outfit, not the focal point. Affectionately referred to by the co-founders as a brand for women who don’t like handbags, Fane has captured the attention of celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, who have each been spotted with Fane bags on their arms.
The Spring/Summer 2023 collection features some of their most popular bags released in brand new colourways. Each bag is created sustainably and is produced in family-run ateliers in the Drôme region of France.