Lulu Kennedy, founder of talent incubator Fashion East, has given many young designers a home for their collections and ideas. Her roster has included Charlotte Knowles, Nancy Dojaka, Roksanda Ilincic and more – all designers who now appear on the official London Fashion Week calendar.
So it’s no surprise that the three young designers she represents this season – Standing Ground, Jawara Alleyne and Karoline Vitto – have all decided to focus on the idea of a home away from home.
Michael Stewart, the man behind Standing Ground, stood his ground by presenting an independent presentation before the shared runways, which has become a formula for Eastern Fashion designers. His models stood like columns of statues in the middle of an empty concrete room in draped dresses.
“I’m inspired by very ancient landscapes and objects, especially from Ireland, where I’m from, they’re set in the landscape,” Stewart said.
Jamaican-born designer Alleyne wrote a story about his collection about a yacht colliding with a pirate ship to comment on the current clash of cultures taking place.
“I feel like it fits London and the state we’re in globally in the world right now, where everything is colliding, from Brexit, COVID to the Queen dying,” the designer said backstage.
The light and airy chiffon dresses he showed were an ode to the clothes many people in his country wear.
“The way we dress in the Caribbean is very easy, and we have a lot of upcycling, repurposing and versatility in the way we live,” said Alleyne, adding that he has collected fabrics from friends, thrift stores and thrift stores.
Brazilian designer Vitto made London her home when she moved more than five years ago to study at Central Saint Martins. Her work has always been personal before it was about profit. She founded her label in 2020 and has since been pushing to create the most sensual clothing for plus-size women.
“Brazilians are known for showing skin and thinking about beach bodies, which was always a problem for me growing up,” Vitto said candidly, revealing that she is a size 14 or 16 as she gravitates between both of them.
Her mission was to understand how the clothes felt on her body before she could offer them to her friends and family.
“It started out as this dress-up experience that turned into an image exercise,” she said.
Vitto primarily works with silk yarn and silk jersey for movement purposes – she wants her clients to move freely but still embrace their body shapes.