Fashion Scout stands for raw talent, explosive colour, experimental shapes and provocative designs. Set up in 2006 by Founder and Creative Director, Martyn Roberts, Fashion Scout is renowned as a global showcase for fashion pioneers and is the largest independent event at London Fashion Week.
This season Fashion Scout is one of the biggest and most exciting ever, featuring more than 40 emerging and established designers from a host of countries including India, China, The Philippines, America, Scandinavia, Russia, Turkey, Japan, Dubai and, of course, the UK.
My top six picks are:-
Norwegian Edda Gimnes is the winner of Fashion Scout’s Merit Award for spring/summer 2018, which is worth £20,000 over three seasons. Edda, a graduate of the London College of Fashion, has already caught the eye of the New York Times for her bold, graffiti-doodle hand-prints and embellished knitwear. She has previously won the BFTA Saga Fur Award and was recently chosen by Alber Elbaz for the Designer for Tomorrow prize in Berlin.
Ji Won Choi graduated from Parsons in New York in May this year with an impressive collection which won the Kering Empowering Imagination award, the Yooxgen prize and the CFDA’s Future Fashion Graduate accolade. She steers a maverick course between ‘excessivism’ and ‘sustainability’, and her striking, season-less, genderless pieces led to her being selected as a Fashion Scout ‘One to Watch’.
Estonian Triini Pungits is renowned for her one-of-a-kind “coats of many colours”. A textile fantasist’s dream, she is passionate about fabric and print, and divides her time between working as a lecturer in fashion and textiles at Tartu Art College, and translating her fertile inspirations into new shapes, extreme silhouettes and intriguing cuts. She has previously been a finalist in the ITS (International Talent Support) competition in Trieste and last year was a semi-finalist at the Hyeres fashion fest.
NEO Design, founded in 2004, is the brainchild of Nevena Ivanovic, a forward-thinking Serbian creative who infuses global traditions of dress with futurism. Her clothes, jewellery and accessories are created from an impressive patchwork of textures and fabrics that evoke elements of Blade Runner. In 2016, she won the Elle Award for an outstanding catwalk show at Belgrade Fashion Week, and earlier this year, at the same event, she was awarded the Fashion Scout S.E.E (South East Europe) Award for 2017.
Katie Ann McGuigan is a bold, flamboyant young designer who graduated from Westminster University last year. Her final-year collection won her Fashion Scout’s Merit Award for A/W 2017, and she went on to scoop this year’s MittelModa Absolute Prize. She has worked in the design studios of both the Alexander McQueen’s McQ label, as well as Marc Jacobs. Katie is renowned for her use of colour, and specialises in extravagant collages of leather, knit, wool and print. @k_a_mcguigan
Starsica is the label set up last year by the young Korean Ike Seungik Lee, who studied first at New York’s FIT and then completed his MA at Kingston University. Intrigued by the movement of the stars and their affect on mankind, he translates this passion into experimental tailoring.
All six have their hearts set on emulating the success achieved by Fashion Scout’s illustrious line-up of alumni, which includes directional brands such as Peter Pilotto, Iris Van Herpen, Gareth Pugh, Eudon Choi, David Koma, Piers Atkinson, Agi & Sam, Roberts Wood, and Phoebe English, along with established designers Pam Hogg and Mark Fast – who continue to show on the Fashion Scout catwalk.
Words by Hilary Alexander OBE