Born in America, raised in London and originally from Ghana, Essie Buckman, the designer behind Fortie Label, has been creating pieces inspired by a clash of cultures since the labels inception in 2016.
In February, we awarded Fortie Label the AW18 Merit Award, securing the brand a show on our platform during London Fashion Week. Having worked for prestigious names in the streetwear scene, such as Hood by Air and those highly regarded in the industry such as Wales Bonner and Marc Jacobs, Buckman embarked on her career during her final year at Central Saint Martins.
As Fortie Label is shortlisted for the ASOS Fashion Discovery award, we’re looking back at the labels evolution so far- and why Essie will never stop fighting for visibility for women of colour in the industry.
Beginning with an education at one of the fashion world’s most respected fashion institutes, Central Saint Martins, Buckman fostered her passion for design by earning a degree in Fashion Design & Marketing. In the final year of this pursuit, Buckman showcased at the CSM BA Press show, receiving sponsorship from Nina Stewart, Swarovski and Sophie Hallette.
Not many extraordinary emerging designers find themselves thrust into the limelight immediately after graduating, but Buckman remained authentic by encapsulating her brand, continuing to design for the ‘Fortie Girl’ that she saw in herself and her peers, including musicians Jorja Smith and Ray Blk. It became clear to the industry that Fortie Label was set to skyrocket when Rihanna took to the stage adorned in the caramel drapes of Buckman’s designs- cementing the fierce pieces on the international fashion scene.
“I’m inspired by strong women of all kinds: mothers/single mothers CEO’s, bosses; just badass females that know what they’re about, own their own s*** and don’t let society’s norms of what it means to be a woman or ‘normal’ ideas of femininity ruin their life”
Ahead of the brands show for AW18 this February, we caught up with Essie in her studio to see what she envisioned for the show, which was later described as
“nostalgia with a modern edge.”
Vote for your favourite in the ASOS Fashion Discovery here.