Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner has announced her first new initiative since joining the Condé Nast publication in October 2018. On Thursday, Teen Vogue debuts "Generation Next," a fashion-focused project that supports five specially selected emerging designers with everything ranging from mentorship and media exposure to an invitation-only presentation during New York Fashion Week, sponsored by Snapchat, on Sept. 9.
"I think fashion really needs something like this," Peoples Wagner tells Fashionista. "The industry has been progressive in many ways, [but] there's still a lack of resources to help younger, emerging designers when they’re just starting out, and that really affects the pipeline of diverse talent into the industry."
The inaugural class of "Generation Next," includes Dyke Sport from Sydney; designer duo Femail based out of Los Angeles and Seattle; New York's Slashed by Tia; Hanifa from Washington D.C.; and designer Elena Velez, who splits time between Milwaukee, New York and London. Peoples Wagner worked closely with Teen Vogue's Fashion and Beauty Features Director Tahirah Hairston to choose these labels to watch, digging through social media, as well as their own publication, to search for up-and-coming brands.
"The designers themselves are completely aligned with Teen Vogue — they're young and very clear with their vision, but they also care deeply about inclusivity and making this industry a better place, and that really comes through their work," says Peoples Wagner. "Each is so creative and offering something new and unique, and I'm excited for Teen Vogue to be a part of their future."
Through "Generation Next," Peoples Wagner wants to make sure that these young designers get exposure to the industry by offering business advice early on, as they generally don't have existing access, funds or a network of connections, especially during the first few years of launching a new brand. The Teen Vogue team has already provided tips on funding, navigating fashion month and styling and editing future collections.
"Mentorship is the thing that people always say will help your career, but it's incredibly hard to just ask someone to be your mentor out of the blue," says Peoples Wagner. "Mentorship is something I'm very passionate about, but it's a two-way street, so these are designers that I genuinely want to support. I love what they create and want to see their designs on Teen Vogue covers in the future."
And that's exactly what these brands could actually achieve. After New York Fashion Week, not only will Teen Vogue publish individual profiles and photo portfolios on each designer and their collections, but they'll have the chance to have their pieces featured on a future Teen Vogue Young Hollywood cover, expected to be released in February 2020.