It's no secret that London is a hotbed of young fashion design talent, and the British Fashion Council -- the UK's equivalent of our CFDA -- does a good job of bringing to the forefront the most promising names. One way is through the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, which provides one designer, narrowed down from a shortlist, with a year of mentoring and a £200,000 grant.
2015's shortlist was released Wednesday and it's going to be tough competition. Read on to learn a little more about each one. Who do you think will be the next Peter Pilotto?
Since launching her line in 2008, Emilia Wickstead has made a name for herself with very ladylike dresses and separates in pretty colors that at once feel traditionally British and modern. Alexa Chung is a big client, while everyone from Kate Middleton to Allison Williams has worn her wares. She has a store in London and bas been shortlisted for this prize for the last two years.
One of London's print masters, Holly Fulton launched her eponymous label in 2009 and has become known for bold, 3-D graphics and Perspex embellishments on modern dresses.
Greek-born Mary Katrantzou launched her label in 2009, and her digitally printed dresses quickly became an international sensation, landing her collaborations with the likes of Topshop and Adidas. In recent seasons, however, she's moved away from easily imitated prints in favor of more intricate looks in guipure and embroidered jacquard. She's also won several awards, but not this one, though she has been shortlisted in the past. This could be her year.
Michael van der Ham
Dutch native Michael van der Ham launched his eponymous line in 2009 and is known for mixing prints and textures beautifully. He's beloved by critics and has done a collaboration with Topshop, but has yet to take his business to the next level.
Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl was founded in 2002 by Maia Norman, a fashion stylist (and the former long-time partner of artist Damien Hirst), and Sue Foulston, a designer who also teaches at Central Saint Martins. The label has enjoyed new momentum in recent years under Amy Powney, who became the brand's creative director in 2010. U.S. buyers from Bergdorf Goodman to Opening Ceremony have taken note, attracted by the label's sporty, easy-to-wear silhouettes, feminine prints and embellishments, and wide-ranging prices ($400 for slip-ons, $1,500 for a coat). The label will host its first full-fledged runway show at London Fashion Week later this month.
With his simple, structured silhouettes and fresh, appealing color choices, Osman Yousefzada has become a breakout star on the red carpet, seen over the past year on such wide-ranging stars as Tina Fey, Emma Watson, Lupita Nyong'o and Lady Gaga. (A trip to Hollywood with the British Fashion Council in 2013 helped kickstart things.) His line is already carried by many of the UK and Europe's top department stores, including Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Galeries Lafayette, but he has yet to build a sizable business in the U.S.
With their polka dots, zig-zags, lace-ups and pom-poms, Sophia Webster's shoes are unmistakable. Easily one of the most established designers on this list, the Nicholas Kirkwood protege has been nabbing up a flurry of red carpet credits over the past two years, and has gotten a lot of buzz for her ongoing collaborations with J.Crew and the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Note: Sophia Webster is represented by Heather Magidsohn Consulting in L.A., not Starworks Group, which handles the brand's U.S. publication relations. We have updated the article to correct our error.