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The Future of Fashion Program

Friday 17 January 2014

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Billed as ‘a truly exceptional springboard’, we’re very excited about The Future of Fashion Program, a collaboration between Who’s Next and Not Just a Label to coach 20 selected designers from all over the world (10 accessory designers and 10 ready-to-wear designers) over the course of two years to launch their labels as real businesses.

At the end, on top of being offered 4 seasons in a row at the Who’s Next trade show in Paris, two designers will get a business plan worth €20,000 to raise funds, as well as 6 extra months of coaching with the program partners.

The jury who will supervise the competition are all experts in a wide variety of fields:
• Stefan Siegel, founder and Not Just a Label CEO
• Salman Khokar from Koka Consulting, a group in charge of developing fashion concepts
• Olivier Arrighi from Fidancia, international payment and insurance company specialised in Fashion
• Pauline Savin and Camille de Pontcharra from Lambert & Associates, Fashion consulting and purchasing office, specialised in brand development
• Sylvie Pourrat and Sophie Guyot, the managers of Accessories and Ready-to-wear at Who’s Next

These 20 selected designers and their A/W 2014-15 collections will be exhibiting at Who’s Next trade show January 25th–28th at PREMIERE CLASSE in front of the stands PC 225 & 324 and in front of the stand E321 in the FAME area.

Meet the 20 Winners:

Dora’s passion for drawing is in her genes. Born in Hungarian Transylvania to a family of artists, the designer moved to Milan to study at the Domus Academy. She created her eponymous brand in 2009 and was awarded the Designer of the Year Prize at the Hungarian Fashion Awards and Design am Rhein trophy of the Düsseldorf Fashion Academy. Her collections, sold in the Middle East and Japan, have already been featured in magazines such as Vogue UK and Vogue China. Her baroque futuristic graphic designs, adorned with embroideries and exotic leathers are fur-free certified and in line’s with fashion’s ethical concerns.

Born in 1990, Claire Yurika is a London designer. After studying at the London Creative Arts, she founded her own brand of womenswear, Hanger, in 2013. Her minimalist and often monochrome designs stand out with their juxtapositions. Organic materials are combined with synthetic fabrics. Using traditional know-how, Hanger makes innovative and unique outfits in in bamboo silk, crepe or cotton that are individually hand-painted in London.

Dramatic, edgy and sophisticated, Inbal Gvili’s designs are under the influence of a symbolic work around nature and plants. The Israeli designer, who graduated from the Shenkar University in 2004, started out with prestigious brands such as Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. Created in 2007, brand Inbal Gvili features unique figures. Inbal uses delicate and flowing fabrics such as silk and organza. She skillfully plays with prints that are used to sublimate the body curves. Her designs, mostly made in Israel are sold in Chicago and London.

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Originally from Romania, Ioana studied at the London College of Fashion – University of Arts London before coming back to Bucharest. The designer was recently awarded the Designer for Tomorrow Prize under the patronage of Stella McCartney, and was one of the 25 finalists selected by Madame Figaro’s Carnet de Mode. Ioana Ciolacu manages to design structured and geometric outfits using flowing and diaphanous fabrics. The result: evanescent figures, half-way between street wear and Couture.

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After working for a Japanese artist during a stay in Osaka, Kelly went back to Australia, her native country, to study at the Raffles Institute of Design. The designer then moved to London where she successively worked for the couture brand Baccini & Hil and online womenswear giant Asos before launching her own brand, Kelly Love. These two radically different experiences gave her the opportunity to mix concept and ready-to-wear. Her Japanese experience made her especially sensitive to the importance of the concepts behind each piece of clothing. All her designs are made of Jacquard, wool, leather in Shenzhen, for affordable luxury products.

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A graduate of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Marius Janusauskas leads us into his fantasy-filled world. In one of his previous collections, the designer was inspired by Madame Grès’s pleated silks and Pablo Atchugarry’s sculptures. Marius Janusauskas designs a poetic yet ambivalent collection: his designs blend flowery collars with surgical corsets. The designer, anxious to reinvent himself each season, plays mainly with monochrome black for his Autumn/Winter 2014-2015 collection.

Maria Gluck studied Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country in Bilbao. After two semesters at the University of Applied Sciences of Berlin, and a work placement at the Museum of Art of New York, Maria returned to Germany in 2012 to found her HOWL label. Her collections, mainly produced in Germany, draw inspiration from sculptural art. Minimalist cuts on solid textures, Maria Gluck uses biodegradable materials from sustainable development to create a bucolic and futuristic universe.

Julie Paskal was born in Ukraine in 1989 and studied architecture in Kiev. Fascinated by the almost immediate aspect of fashion’s creative process, she left architecture for fashion with the intention of getting involved in every step of the design process. Elected “Best Young Designer in Eastern Europe” by Marie Claire US, Paskal is known for her minimalist and yet feminine style. The SS 2014 collection, light and summery, mixes pastel colors, fringes, laser cuts and perforated polka-dot patterns.

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Sneha Arora’s collections are an invitation to time-travel. After graduating from Kolakata’s National Fashion Institute in India, Sneha founded her own brand in 2011. Her designs are universal tales and stories. Her androgynous figures, always retro and sometimes austere, often play with patterns and reflect the brand’s very strong personality. Sneha Arora’s latest collection played with the traditional army codes: Mao collars, gold buttonholes, khaki fabrics, calf-length skirts, but also long shirts, sometimes adorned with vintage photo printings.

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Tom Van Der Borght, fashion’s enfant terrible, imposes his own beauty standard and questions the conventional ways of representing beauty. A graduate of the Academy Stedelijke voor Schone Kunsten Sint Niklaas, the designer created his eponymous brand in 2013: a means to shake up the canons of beauty by using vivid colors, psychedelic designs and stunning fabrics. Tom imagines his outfits like urban armors, under the influence of street wear and his partner Johannes Obers’ digital prints.


Behind Charkviani, two designers: Jenne O and Tengiz Chketiani.
Tengiz has a perfect sense of fashion that has been rewarded repeatedly. Maybe you are already familiar with his unique style? Finalist at the London Fashion Fringe competition, his work was even exhibited at the Northampton Shoe Museum, alongside Vivenne Westood and Manholo Blahnik, and last but not least, Vogue crowned him as a “super talented designer”. Based in London, the duo produces their shoes with the best Italian shoemakers so as to have amazing quality. Their style, easily identifiable, is a reference to their idols: Iggy Pop, Poison Ivy, Marc Bolan, Dita Von Teese, Farrah Fawcett, Juliette Lewis, Tina Turner… A dash of fetishism and burlesque, angular platforms, original curves: their first collection, launched in 2012, should be the start of a long career.

When Italian creativity is associated with Swiss precision, you get a collection signed by Francesco Lorenzi. He selects the most beautiful leathers, the finest fabrics and claims a 100% Italian-made production. De Siena was born in 2010 with a single ambition: “to create the highest and most feminine shoes, but also the most comfortable shoes ever created by a Swiss company!”. In his Zurich studio, Francesco works with a French and an Italian designer, who’ve already collaborated with the most famous brands: Sergio Rossi, Dior, Rodolphe Menudier, Nicholas Kirkwood… For De Siena, they’ve imagined shoes as true objects of desire. From Europe to Asia, everyone is desperate to lay their hands on them.

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Dinu, who graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2011 hasn’t always lived in London. Born in Romania, he started by studying graphic design and collaborated with theatrical companies to design costumes and stage settings. He later decided to focus on the nature of human anatomy: his hats are seen as an extension of the body. A concept that has already drawn the attention of avant-garde fashion buffs such as Lady Gaga.

GRETCHEN – GERMANY (Leathergoods)
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Gretchen is first and foremost a family business. The parents of Anne Schmitt, the designer, own a leather goods business in Berlin specialized in leather gloves. So even when she travels the world, Anne never completely forgets her background: she visited a Scandinavian tannery, tried selling bags in France, took part in Accessory trade shows in Milan and established herself as a designer in London. Anne Schmitt studied business but never wanted to study fashion, because, as she puts it: “you can learn how to make a collection… But you can’t learn about creativity. Either you are creative or you are not.” And it seems the designer is very gifted. After choosing hand bags as a new challenge, her style stands out with graphic and functional details: the handle fits your wrist to the perfection to let you… dance all night? The brand features belts, and of course, gloves, these tiny accessories that taught her everything.

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Ivana is a young Belgrade-based Serbian designer. During her studies at the University of Decorative Arts, she showed a deep interest for sculpture and costumes, two fields which later inspired her in her designs, both graphic and theatrical. Lamat stands out immediately: each bag is made of monochrome leather, available in a very architectural and futuristic shape.


Michal Taharlev collected old unused looms and opened his own weaving studio. His collection is a tribute to traditional weaving techniques. He has associated the fabrics with metal details, creating jewels that look like totems. Each item is hand-woven, all in one piece; and the designer thinks about them as a series rather than a collection. Colors change according to the materials used: copper, aluminum, steel, brass, tin… all the metals have kept their natural aspect, sometimes showing time-induced alterations.

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The Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London College of Fashion and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, nothing can resist Michelle Dianne. Now based in Manila, Philippines, she is praised as an outstanding personality on the local scene. When she doesn’t fight to promote the Philippine crafts as well as an ethic and sustainable fashion, she designs hats made of T’nalak, a traditional Philippine fabric made of hand-woven banana-tree fibers. Michelle Dulce is also synonymous with a unique style. Each detail is reminiscent of innocence and young age thanks to skillful pleats. The hats are often adorned with two tiny cat’s ears that have become the brand’s signature.

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New York-based PASIONAE is a contemporary label that uses fashion as an artistic means. The designs reflect an interesting use of colors, textures and volumes. The most cosmopolitan city, New York, is a major source of inspiration, shown through a both bold and spectacular diversity. Jewels are all hand-made according to a unique process: the various emerald pieces are associated with wood thanks to a silver link. Each piece is unique, and shows the sign of a dark “Pasionae”.

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Salomé Charly designs jewels that convey a powerful feeling of warmth and strength. The wood is cut into geometrical shapes presented under its various aspects… reminiscent of the designer’s flamboyant hair. The first impression is followed by a feeling of surprise: the necklaces are incredibly light. Salomé, whose father was a cabinetmaker, knows everything about wood and especially cherry wood. Born in France, in the Loire region, she quickly chose the arts and graduated in Decorative Arts and Fashion design in Paris. Soon after, she launched her jewel collection, tightly connected to nature. Very comfortable working with vegetable or animal materials, the designer draws her inspiration from ethnic and antic jewels, from cabinetmaking techniques and object design. The “wooden stones” are hand-made and signed by the designer as a token of their authenticity.

VäSka is a Barcelona-based brand. The designer chose a Swedish name for her brand,VäSka, meaning “bag”. Ann Sofi Storbacka, the designer of Finno-Swedish extraction, draws her inspiration from the North to design her collections but also favors a very Mediterranean sense of aesthetics.

In her tiny studio, she makes all the bags herself using the finest natural leathers and fabrics. The final result is a line of bags and accessories featuring minimalist and visually stunning pieces.