We caught up with Essie Buckman, the Founder and Creative Director of Fortie Label and recipient of the Merit Award for AW18, at her studio in London. With a reputation for urban 90's streetwear, and interpreting the style of hip hop icons through her work, Fortie Label is set to be an unmissable catwalk show. Selected from hundreds of applicants by an expert judging panel, the fierce aesthetic of Fortie Label, drew attention evoking an audacious perspective on fashion, creating an effortlessly cool yet equally extraordinary look. Read the our interview with the emerging designer below. 



How are the preparation going for your Merit Award AW18 show?

It’s going good. It’s very stressful but its going good. Just getting everything organised and just kind of pushing ourselves to the limit basically at this point. But its going good, we are on track!

What are you hoping will come out of your AW18 show?

Hoping to get buyers mainly! We want to take our business to the next level. That is where we have kind of tailored this collection towards. Getting that attention, rather than just putting up anything because you can, it’s more about putting out the right content, the right silhouettes that work for my customer. Defining that customer, who is our customer and just to get good press and you know, as a woman of colour just trying to push that as well.  Woman of colour in the industry is very slim, it’s just trying to push that and trying to show visibility of that aspect. 



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What is your primary inspiration or concept behind this show?

It's always about women- always reverts to women and woman’s rights. This year we are celebrating a 100 years of women’s votes, it's really important to me. I always like to find an element of a stereotype of a woman and try and flip it. So with this collection it’s all about video vixens.

They have a negative stereotype of being hoes or tramps or whatever you want you want to call it. But they were the actual main feature of videos, without them there is no imagery. It is also about how men view women as commodities, women on par alcohol, drugs, money. It is like those things, it becomes a commodity. You are not a human being, so I wanted to kind of like humanise that and make a uniform for that girl that is, strong and fearless and powerful. It is a uniform that brings integrity to to the wearer- not necessarily to that profession, but integrity to how these women are seen. Taking back ownership. 



Essie will be showcasing at 15:30 on Friday 16th February. Contact Nicola via for ticket requests.