We are delighted to announce the four winners of The Ones to Watch Award for London Fashion Week AW18; Maddie Williams, i-am-chen, Susan Fang and Kristel Kuslapuu.
Selected from a long list of emerging designers, the Ones To Watch winners receive the opportunity to showcase during London Fashion Week. The Ones To Watch provides a unique platform for the brightest new designers, with many going on to become established labels in the international fashion industry.
For the first time in the history of the award, the AW18 winners are presenting in two different formats with Maddie Williams, i-am-chen and Susan Fang exhibiting in a group showcase in the Vestibule Catwalk Hall and the final winner Kristel Kuslapuu showcasing within the Fashion Scout Presentation studio.
The judging panel consisted of six industry experts including Martyn Roberts - Fashion Scout’s Founder and Director, Hattie Crisell - Acting Fashion Editor at The Times, Ida Petersson – Womenswear Buying Director at Browns, Emma Firth – Online Fashion Editor at Hunger, Kendall Robbins – Fashion Programme Manager at The British Council and Fabio Piras – MA Course Leader at Central St Martins, gathered to make the decision at Selection Panel in November 2017.
Graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, British designer Maddie Williams presented her eco award winning graduate collection in June 2017 at Graduate Fashion Week scooping the Catwalk Textiles Award and Dame Vivienne Westwood Ethical Internship Prize. Through her work she shows that ‘eco’ fashion can still be exciting and avant garde, aiming to dispell the assumptions of it having to be minimal. Her work plays with silhouette and texture and crossing the boundries between fashion, costume and fine art. Maddie Williams has been featured in Vogue, Vogue Italia, Hunger, Schon, Marie Claire, You Magazine and The Evening Standard to name a few.
“Receiving this award was something I was 100% not expecting, and took me completely by surprise! It was a very good surprise though and I am really humbled and excited to have been picked, it’s a great opportunity to get to generate some new work and show to a wider audience! I want to thank Fashion Scout for being so supportive of me and my progression as an emerging designer!”
Three years out for university, Susan Fang has continued to develop her eponymous label whilst working under major design houses. Her brand presents original alternatives to the usual garment, exploring the interaction of the body with clothing, through the exploration of new colour dimensions and fresh silhouettes. Her 2015 Central Saint Martins graduate collection was widely applauded by press and was featured in Dazed, Dezeen and The Evening Standard.
Her new AIRWAVE AW18 collection will present an entirely new air-weave technique that allows the fabric itself to float between the two and three dimensional. This new technology leads to a design and textile innovation that presents interdimensional colour and mirage movement, creating a ceaseless illusion of wave between colour and form with the wearer’s natural body movement. This allows the garment or accessory to be accessibly worn in uni-size, as it can expand to any size and shape of human body as well as transformed entirely flat in 2D when unworn.
“It's a great honour to be awarded for Ones To Watch with Fashion Scout this season. For an emerging designer and brand, Fashion Scout is a great platform and show to immediately be seen by such an wide audience and the press, as well as generous support from the Fashion Scout team and sponsors. I am extremely excited for this amazing opportunity to showcase my labels debut collection.”
Hong Kong based designer Chen Zhi, is behind knitwear label i-am-chen now in its third season. i-am-chen strives to bring the fun and light-hearted spirit to people who embrace an eternal sense of childish playfulness. Focusing exclusively on knitting, I Am Chen aims to challenge the definition of knitting by creating garments made by advanced machines with new techniques, using unconventional yarns. By playing with different machines and yarns, Chen creates unique garments full of eye catching shapes and wearable colour combinations.
Upon graduating in 2014 from Donghua University in Shanghai, Chen continued her studies with a scholarship at Parsons School of Design in New York and completed a Masters at London College of Fashion.
“It is truly an honour to be awarded Ones To Watch among so many top fashion talents in the world. While I do believe in myself, the recognition by Fashion Scout is tremendously reassuring and encouraging. It strengthens my belief in knitwear. I am extremely excited about the runway show; it is going to be the first time I come back to London after I graduated.”
Estonian based knitwear designer Kristel Kuslapuu’s eponymous label is joining the Fashion Scout schedule, after having caught the eye of the judging panel showcasing at Talinn Fashion Week.
Following graduation in 2017, Kristel continues to develop her award-winning label, which has scooped the prizes of 2008 and 2009 SuperNoova in Estonia, Lithuania Fashion Injection and ERKI Fashion Show, alongside being showcased for Estonia at London Fashion Week in the International Fashion Showcase 2014.
Her collection is about dark secrets, phobias, social anxieties and traumas. The pieces try to talk about serious and inconvenient subjects through highest levels of self-irony. Most of the bold, colourful designs in the collection are hand knit as a protest against fast fashion. A twist is added by portraying serious topics with cute and fuzzy materials such as yarns from alpaca, camel, goat and sheep. Flirting with sculptural forms, bold colours, unique patterns, the collection shares provocative messages, transcending traditional gender conformity.
“For me winning was a reassurance that I am at the right place doing the right thing. The excitement of fulfilling one of your dreams is indescribable. I really do feel like I have found something that I am meant to do. Whilst years are passing I feel more and more obliged to give back to mother earth and having this opportunity to share my art with the world is as given from above. I feel very grateful.”
“This season’s Ones to Watch truly demonstrates what the award was created to showcase and we are excited to have expanded the award across the catwalk and presentation studio to fit with our winner’s creative views. We have a bold and colourful eclectic mix of designers from diverse cultures, making Ones To Watch the highlight of the A/W 18 schedule."
Fashion Scout Founder and Director Martyn Roberts
The Ones to Watch Catwalk Show takes place during London Fashion Week on Saturday 17th February at 1.00pm in The Vestibule Catwalk, and the Ones to Watch Presentation takes place on Sunday 18th February at 12.00-1.30pm in the Presentation Studio, Freemasons’ Hall, London.