Fashion East is a non-profit initiative set up by Lulu Kennedy and the old Truman Brewery in 2000 to support emerging british talent. The scheme has launched and nurtured designers through its womenswear and menswear counterpart ‘man’ including: JW Anderson, Kim Jones, Jonathan Saunders, Roksanda, Richard Nicoll, Martine Rose, Christopher Shannon, House Of Holland, Gareth Pugh, Simone Rocha, Marques’Almeida, Claire Barrow, Ryan Lo, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Ashley Williams, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Liam Hodges, Craig Green, Wales Bonner and more. Topshop is fashion east’s headline sponsor. it is the single biggest supporter of young design talent in the industry and has sponsored fashion east since 2003. Greater London authority: Fashion East continues to receive invaluable financial support from the Mayor’s Office’s London fashion showcasing fund.
“Despite all our desperate, eternal attempts to separate, contain and mend, categories always leak.” ―
Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism
The Vietnamese word for “country” (Nước) also incidentally means “water”. In this land surrounded by water, swimming and drifting away becomes the norm.
ASAI’s nomadic woman traverses these waters, in fluid motion, wearing her travels and trials. Picking up wellworn cloth wherever she goes, that provides her with protection and assimilation into her new surroundings. She sails away from the port in a fisherman’s tangle, trailing, spiralling with hand embroidered cover stitching, plasticised and formed into the checks and cable patterns of her destination. Waterproof. Life-proof. Tie dye emerges from the water like a weathered second skin. When she arrives, she dons a padded headscarf. Quilted skirts of patchwork reclaimed shearling are refined and hunted. Outerwear codes of waxed jacket and trench coats are adopted temporarily. Living through that Cotswolds country life. The recurring nunchuck framed handbags are a form of self defence. Silver spoons clamp the mouth. They’re a reflection of privilege – who is entitled, who isn’t? Chopsticks in the hair. Don’t stab your food with them. Mind your manners. But then there’s another ocean to cross. The vast Atlantic. Cowboys and showgirls come calling with their upturned cuff jeans and beaded trim. Other worlds, other beginnings. We’re all swimming upstream. “There is no catching, no pushing, no directing, no breaking through, no need for a linear progression which gives the comforting illusion that one knows where one goes. Time and space are not something entirely exterior to oneself, something that one has, keeps, saves, wastes, or loses.” ― Trinh T. Minh-ha
For Autumn/Winter 2018 Charlotte Knowles’s woman is shrouded in mystery, her guise is her weapon and with it she gets what she wants; enigmatically evolving with her environment from day to night. The duality in the definition of the word “chimera” is taken as a starting point – at once a mythological creature that is a hybrid amalgamation of other forms and also the idea of something that is impossible to achieve and perhaps just an illusion. Continuing to critically address the limitations of womenswear, stereotypical staples of luxury fashion are reinterpreted and reimagined with a rock ‘n’ roll edge and an ostentatious emphasis on cut, embellishment and print.
Awoken from the sun-bleached dozy-daydream of warmer climes, the earthy autumnal colour palette is an ode to tortoiseshell and semi-precious stones, broken up with aubergine and flashes of Rizla green. Prints are developed from scanned guitar pickguards, digitally manipulated and over-saturated into a psychedelic abstraction of tones. Cuts are sharp and angular, with splits and v necks throughout the collection. Scale-like sequins cascade from translucent mesh dresses, slip tops and skirts like a suit of armour. Oversized printed Mylar sequins are individually laser-cut in aggressive shapes, but together the hostility is diffused as they reflect the light and move complicit with the body in motion. Tear-drop shaped beaded embellishments tremble and surreally drip from the body and the affixing threads are left raw, hairy and animalistic.
Graphic underwear subtly informs and underlies the collection, forming the foundations of every layered-up look. Diamond-shaped mesh bras are streamlined, traditional fastenings are abandoned in lieu of delicate clasps fastened at the front and paired with matching pants. The printed Lycra tops and shorts are inspired by thermals and girdles respectively and corset-like bustiers are minimal; creatively cut in high-tech fabrics, whilst the mesh slips and vests are finished with silk ribbons that recall the loops sewn in to help with the hanging of clothes.
Expanding on last season’s outerwear offering Knowles adds an airy raincoat, made from windproof tech fabric and inconspicuously enveloping capes. Fabricated from printed faille, the capes are adjustable from the inside using straps to bind the garment to the form and all finished with slanted collar stands with ties that evoke the drawstrings of a hoodie. Taking a stance again against the lack of functionality and attention to detail in luxury womenswear in comparison to menswear, like the fanny-pack skirts the coat and cloaks are finished with cleverly concealed hidden compartments and worn with “wraprons” – an adjustable amalgamation of a hoodie front pocket and a fur muff. Looks are coupled with tortoiseshell printed silky scarves and laser-cut gig-style wristbands, finished with evening gloves and a peppering of sculptural padded handbags
Supriya Lele founded her brand following the completion of her masters degree from the royal college of art in 2016. Recurrent themes in her work focus around an exploration of the female form via a personal dialogue between her indian and british cultural identity. Focusing on re-interpretation and re-contexualisation, lele subverts established notions of indian fabrications through unconventional materials rendered luxurious, creating a lo-fi and dynamic approach to luxury. Lele made her London Fashion Week debut with a static presentation with fashion east for AW17 before making her first catwalk appearance last season.AW18 will be her third season with the support of fashion east.
Symonds Pearmain is a fashion brand by designer and artist Anthony Symonds and stylist max pearmain. The brand operates on the fault line of art and fashion, exploring the economic and progenitive potential of this increasingly problematic distinction. Symonds Pearmain has shown for three consecutive seasons, SS17 and AW17 in London and SS18 in Berlin with Isabella Bortolozzi galerie, AW18 will be their first catwalk show in london. symonds pearmain has established a creative and conceptual dialogue working with likeminded creatives within the fashion and art world, including david sims, wolfgang tillmans and tyrone lebon. Symonds pearmain are currently represented and sold exclusively through cabinet gallery London and gallery Isabella Bortolozzi Berlin. Sales are made by personal application and produced in small numbered editions, each piece supplied with a certificate of authentication.