While established designers -- the Alexander Wangs and Marc Jacobs's of the industry -- may command most of the attention during New York Fashion Week, the biannual event can also act as a springboard for emerging talent.
A few very promising designers are making their official NYFW debuts this coming week. Some are more established designers hailing from Milan and London -- Gareth Pugh and Ostwald Helgason among them -- who are hoping to make a bigger impression on U.S. buyers and press this season. Others are local designers unveiling their wares for the very first time.
Here are the 12 to watch.
Husband and wife team Matthew Mellon and Nicole Hanley are debuting this "international lifestyle sportswear brand" after having already established themselves in the industry separately. Hanley helped develop Ralph Lauren's Rugby line and subsequently launched her own brand and boutique, while Mellon was the creative director of Jimmy Choo's men's line and subsequently launched his own men's shoe line, Harrys. Each Hanley Mellon collection will be inspired by a different global destination,
Designer Hillary Taymour has been making and selling her covetable, made-in-New-York bags to cool, stylish girls since 2008 and has recently begun expanding into clothing. Her show, part of Made Fashion Week in downtown Manhattan, will see the debut of her first full ready-to-wear collection.
New York-based Liang will debut her second eponymous collection in a presentation this week. Her first collection (which wasn't shown at NYFW) mixed pastels, fur, leather and exaggerated proportions in a way that made us swoon over just about every piece. It's the stuff fashion editors dream of and we have no doubt that her name will soon be on everyone's tongues.
Isa Arfen designer Serafina Sama is on the rise. Though based in London, she's shown in Paris for the past few seasons, and is showing in New York for the first time at Milk Studios after having already landed retail doors like Opening Ceremony and Net-a-Porter. The industry favorite's simple clothes have stood out in a London market dominated by bold patterns and digital prints.
Nolasco has already made a name for herself in her native Puerto Rico for her frothy gowns, and now she has her sights set on the U.S.
Meggie and Chris Kempner launched Kempner earlier this year, with their stylish late grandmother, Nan Kempner, serving as the main point of inspiration. The result was an assortment of sophisticated, casual, wearable separates and dresses that could mix in easily with higher-end designer pieces.
We don't know much about this young designer, except that he's based in Los Angeles, designs gowns and is part of the Getty family of oil heirs and heiresses.
Inspired by southern charm and Persian culture, Taghi launched his first collection at age 15 and has been showing and working in his native Texas ever since. He enrolled at Central Saint Martins this summer, but is clearly ahead of his classmates as he'll be showing in New York for the first time.
Edie Parker has had a NYFW presence for years, but only in the hands of street style stars. Designer Brett Heyman's whimsical clutches are everywhere these days, and have recently gotten her a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nomination as well as a spot on the fashion week calendar.
Earlier this year, the British Fashion Council chose Jordan, who usually shows in London, to take part in a program that offers contemporary (that is, mid-priced) designers to receive special mentorship. The Council likely pushed her in the direction of New York, where her utilitarian-yet-playful designs should certainly find some interested buyers.
Having shown in Paris last season, Maison Kitsuné is now focusing its eye on New York, where it has a store inside the trendy Nomad Hotel. The brand, an offshoot of a French/Japanese record label, comprises a very specific assortment of casual, retro-inspired clothes and accessories favored by cool kids in cool cities. This season's theme is apparently "effortless French," which also happens to be my life theme.
Devon Halfnight Leflufy
Born in Vancouver, Canada, and based in Belgium, Leflufy (his real name) is a recent Royal Academy grad who was a finalist for this year's H&M Design Award and has already been stocked at Opening Ceremony, where his bold, unconventional menswear probably fits better than it would anywhere else. He'll show as part of Made Fashion Week.