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Topshop at London Fashion Week

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Designers We Support

London Fashion Week has long been championed as the epicentre of innovative design. At the heart of this creative hub are Topshop sponsored initiatives NEWGEN and Fashion East, which nurture fashion’s best emerging talents, giving them the opportunity to show their collections on-schedule at London Fashion Week and join an impressive alumni that includes both Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen.

Meet all the designers below and get to know the NEWGEN class of AW16 that bit better as they’re interviewed by their fashion friends – from The Independent’s Alexander Fury to Love Magazine’s Harriet Verney.

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Tuesday 23rd February, 10.30AM-12:30PM GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

Hand-painted, playful illustrations, leather and silk feature heavily in Stockton-on-Tees native Claire Barrow’s designs. As much an artist as she is a designer, she uses her collections as a way to convey her views on British subcultures, politics and inner-city living.

Claire sat down with journalist and owner of girl power zine The Mushpit, Bertie Brandes, to talk about the effects of Instagram on the fashion world and whether there's a sustainable future for the industry.

Bertie Brandes: What are the overarching themes for your AW16 collection?

Claire Barrow: It’s about the fact we’re constantly getting information and imagery pushed at our eyeballs. Nothing seems new anymore, there are no subcultures and there’s no new way of making clothes. I wanted to explore how we make something that’s new now we have the internet in this way.

B: So it’s about being conscious of where things come from, even though they’re coming from a weird digital environment?

C: Well we know everything now, it’s like Google is God isn’t it? If people in the future start having glasses tied to their heads with Google on and you can just ask them a question and know the answer instantly, what’s life about?! I’ve called the collection Retrospective, I’m referencing every era of history and every country without giving a particular time frame.

B: How do you think your relationship with Instagram influences your work?

C: I used to hate that it did, but I can’t avoid it now, I’ve been sucked in! I screenshot images off Instagram as references. I talk about wanting to do something new and different but I’m not really, I can only play on it and maybe the result will be something quite fresh.

B: Something that’s fundamentally part of your identity is using factories and sourcing fabrics within the UK…

C: Yes but it’s getting so difficult! I’d like to make it so things can be sourced properly and be sustainable. I think that is the future of fashion, ethical fashion is considered to be such a dirty thing but if good British designers start taking it more seriously it could be exciting.

Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud.

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Sunday 21st February, 14.30PM-16.30PM GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

After a Royal College of Art masters degree and years of experience working alongside the likes of Alberta Ferreti, Romeril launched her own label in 2012. A fan of experimental textures and monochromatic colour palettes she draws inspiration from photography, music (DJ Tu-Ki curated her playlist last season) and her penchant for Chinese wooden ornaments.

TV Presenter Angela Scanlon visited fellow Dublin native Danielle at her East London studio to chat about the influences behind her AW16 collection and what it means to be a young Irish designer living in London.

Angela Scanlon: How do you start planning for the new season?

Danielle Romeril: I usually start by wanting to turn the last collection on its head but there are always threads that run through. Last season I was inspired by a series of photographs by Jackie Nickerson. This season I saw an exhibition at the National Gallery where Jackie had paired her work with more traditional oil paintings which ended up being my starting point for this season, it’s funny how one thing leads to another.

A: Does being an Irish designer have an impact on your influences?

D: I think it has to, you absorb what’s around you. I’m lucky that when I go back to Ireland I’m on holiday and in that relaxed mode where you’re very receptive to what’s around. Being Irish generally has influenced my interest in the craft side of fashion too, but in a new, unexpected way.

A: Why do you think London is the best place to be a young designer?

D: I think London punches above its weight in terms of impact. The best thing about it is that people aren’t afraid of a bit of fun or to try something different or stand out - that’s what fashion should be about.

A: What’s the best part about running your own label?

D: You learn every day. You’re always trying something new and that’s what I love, building new skills and challenging yourself and surprising people. I think that’s what’s amazing about fashion, people want to be surprised, they don’t want to see the same thing.

Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud.

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Saturday 20th February, 10.30AM-12.30PM GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

A self-confessed perfectionist, Parisian Faustine Steinmetz takes design back to square one, handcrafting original fabrics on traditional handlooms in her North London studio. Heavily inspired by art, her aesthetic is based on recreating classic shapes in new, experimental versions of denim and wool.

Faustine and her long-time set designer Thomas Petherick sat down at her studio to discuss the death of the catwalk and the importance of set design in the fashion world.

Thomas Petherick: Tell me how and why you create your presentations?

Faustine Steinmetz: I’ve always made a point of not doing a catwalk show. They’re such an institution in fashion but I just think everyone else does them, so they don’t interest me. I’ve always felt like they were missing something fun.

T: Do you think that’s because you wouldn’t be able to portray your character through a catwalk?

F: The catwalk is glamorous and that’s not me. The only time a catwalk ever did something for me was Tom Ford, but that’s very him. On a catwalk the artistic side is pushed off in favour of a girl and a look rather than the clothes, it’s not about craftsmanship or how beautiful a piece is.

T: In a presentation you get the whole feel of a show, you create theatre don’t you?

F: I think what’s nice about a presentation is that it’s like a stroll through our brains!

T: How do you think this season’s presentation has moved on from what we’ve created before?

F: This season was a little bit about growing up. After last season when we had models coming out of the walls I was worried I was going to have to come up with a gimmick every time! But it won’t be what you’re expecting this season.

Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud.

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Friday 19th February, 15.30PM-17.30PM GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

Polish-born Marta Jakubowski earnt her fashion stripes working under the likes of Alexander Wang and Hussein Chalayan following her Royal College of Art Masters degree. Known for her minimalist jumpsuits and cut-out swimwear she creates stand-out, structured pieces for strong, powerful women.

The British Fashion Council’s Sarah Mower headed down to designer Marta’s Hackney workspace to chat about her greatest influences and her journey within the fashion industry.

Sarah Mower: Tell me about the ideas behind your latest collection…

Marta Jakubowski: This season’s woman is super strong, she can overcome anything with her mental state, like it’s a superpower. There’ll be movement involved in the presentation and everything will be quite fluid. I like to create clothes that fit the body rather than the body fitting the clothes.

S: What’s always impressed me is the emotional meaning behind your work…

M: For me it’s the easiest way to work, I try to work with subjects that are really personal to me so the collection always has a message behind it. I wouldn’t be able to work with other people’s art or emotions.

S: You always have a very strict colour palette, why is this?

M: I always use red, white and black. To me, those three colours are really strong, they support the feeling and silhouette of my designs and they move beautifully. All my pets were black and white, there are loads of ladybirds in my studio and my first car was black with red seats! It’s just something that comes naturally.

S: You supported yourself through university, what struggles did you face?

M: It was hard during my master’s degree, I was in college five days a week and only had the weekends to earn money, I worked really hard. It helps to work with what you have - I was always borrowing fabrics and sewing machines - and have really good friends around you.

Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud.

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Saturday 20th February, 18.30PM-20.30PM GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

Central St Martins graduate Molly Goddard’s trademark tulle dresses and tongue-in-cheek presentations make her a coveted ticket at London Fashion Week. With a fashion fan base that includes Susie Lau and Bjork, her designs have now been featured in editorials for Vogue, Elle and Dazed and Confused magazine.

Molly and her boyfriend-come-business partner Tom Shickle sat down at their Fulham studio to talk about her design credentials and how the Molly Goddard brand works as a family business.

Tom Shickle: How does your creative process work?

Molly Goddard: I normally have my idea in my head for a long time before I start designing, there’s never one image or fabric, it’s always a general theme. I research loads and spend days in the library, then it’s about developing new fabrics and techniques and seeing how they all fit together.

T: You studied at Central St Martins, how does your degree influence your work now?

M: I studied knitwear and was never very good at knitting, nor had the patience for it. In my eyes manipulating a flat piece of fabric into something that had texture and its own form was a similar concept to knitting and that’s how I got around my degree!

T: You’re known for your unique presentations, tell us about your first one…

M: I just wanted to have more fun with fashion because I’d fallen out of love with it a bit. After I graduated I made as many dresses as I could in a month, got all my friends to come and try them on and then we had a big party with everyone wearing them. We danced, had fun, then the orders came in!

T: What’s the best bit of advice you’ve ever been given?

M: To always do what you’re best at and to always spend your money on expensive tomatoes and bed linen!

Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud.

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Friday 19th February, 15:00PM GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

Fashion East alumni Ryan Lo launched his career after learning to knit from YouTube Tutorials. Influenced by all things kitsch, his past collections have referenced everything from Sylvanian Families to Sex and the City.

Online editor of Love Magazine Harriet Verney spent a morning hanging out with Ryan at his studio to chat about his kitsch signature style, his upcoming collection and his endless love of the colour pink.

Harriet Verney: How would you describe your clothes?

Ryan Lo: Girly, princess-y, furry, but not too cartoonish or childish. The AW16 collection will have frills, butterflies and fringing!

H: Who is the Ryan Lo girl?

R: She doesn’t look like me! She’s quite fussy and quite annoying but in a way that we like.

H: Do you wear your own designs?

R: Only for work! I have a work mode and a casual mode. I’m like Cinderella, I dress up for the party and then when I leave it’s back to my normal clothes.

H: Do you remember the first time you saw someone else wearing your designs?

R: Yes, I think it was Susie Lau. It’s quite surprising because when I make the clothes I don’t visualize people wearing them, it’s a weird feeling but it’s good!

Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud.

Hear it


Friday 19th February, 10.30AM-12:30PM GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

Sadie Williams discovered her talent for design at an early age, creating homespun school disco outfits. She went on to complete a master’s degree at Central St Martins before joining NEWGEN three seasons ago. Recognised for her metallic, block-colour creations, this will be her first on-schedule presentation at London Fashion Week.

Ahead of her presentation Sadie invited Alex Fury, Fashion Editor of The Independent, into her East London studio to discuss the importance of craftsmanship and the inspiration behind her new collection.

Alex Fury: How would you characterise the Sadie Williams woman and your designs?

Sadie Williams: My stuff is always quite playful and youthful. I do this because I’m mad about clothes, pattern and colour and I always have been since I was a kid. I love being tactile and hands-on with craft elements.

A: I remember seeing your MA show at Central Martins and calling it ‘disco daleks’ because it was colourful and lamé with strong vibrant graphics on sleek shapes.

S: I like that mix. I’m quite like that, I can be quite feminine in big skirts but then I also like my tracksuits and quite boyish shapes. A lot of the time the textiles are so dramatic so I feel I have to keep a very clean shape so it doesn’t overkill.

A: This is your first presentation on the London Fashion Week schedule. What are your ideas for AW16?

S: I’ve got a ski theme. I found these great pictures of my parents skiing when they were younger and wore checked shirts with their skiwear. I wanted that clash and that personal touch! It’s not going to be practical skiwear in any way but it will be quite Sadiefied.

A: Can you tell us a bit about the scenography that’s we’re going to be seeing at the presentation?

S: My friend Joe Bond and Marland Backus are creating the installation, along with my flatmate. We’re creating this icy ski world surrounded by concrete – it’s going to be quite grey and then the clothes are going to pop out in front of it!

Listen to the full interview on Soundcloud.

Hear it


Tuesday 23rd February, 13.00pm GMT

BFC Presentation Space at Brewer Street Car Park

A former Westminster University and Fashion East graduate, Ashley Williams is best known for her use of bold cartoon prints, saturated colours and turning cuddly toys into accessories. She also counts the likes of Pixie Geldof and Daisy Lowe amongst her best friends, always guaranteeing an A-list front row.

We caught up with Ashley to talk about her AW16 inspirations, her favourite pieces and what she’d be doing if she hadn’t become one of the UK’s coolest young designers.

Q: Your designs have featured everything from cartoon sharks to speedboats, where do you find your inspiration?

A: Right now I’m feeling inspired by the people around me, spending time with passionate, thoughtful people is really motivating and exciting.

Q: You grew up in the UAE, how does that influence your work?

A: It definitely had a positive impact on my life, living in another country in a different culture was amazing. It most definitely has an influence on what I make and how I express myself. I don’t think I’d live in England if I wasn’t working in fashion, I’d like to be psychiatrist or a marine biologist!

Q: What’s your favourite piece you’ve created so far?

A: I like the ‘Bad Mood’ tiara from my SS16 collection, you can just put it on and let everyone know what the deal is - it’s ok to not be happy all the time! This season’s a continued development of my last collection, I’m trying to identify and grow the girl I’ve created.

Q: What’s it like being a part of NEWGEN?

A: NEWGEN has given me the support, confidence and platform I needed to start my business and do what I Iove. This kind of support is so important for new designers and I can’t imagine how hard it would have been without NEWGEN and Topshop.

Fashion East Designers

Saturday 20th February, 10AM GMT

Topshop Show Space

Caitlin Price


Born and bred Londoner Caitlin Price finds a continual source of inspiration from her teenage years living in the city. A former designer for British label Christopher Shannon, she creates sportswear-inspired pieces in luxe fabrics.

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Caitlin Price


Irish designer Richard Malone prides himself on creating the entirety of his collections alone. Inspired by strong, independent women (including his own mother), his collections are filled with statement colours and graphic shapes.

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Caitlin Price


Central St Martins alumni Amie Robertson cemented her status on the fashion industry’s radar after a stand-out graduate collection of Swarovski embroidered dresses. She’ll be making her London Fashion Week debut this season.

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Caitlin Price


Mimi Wade’s graduate collection of screen-printed dresses have been featured in Wonderland, Love and found their way onto Vogue writer Suzy Menkes’ Instagram. This season will be her first showing as part of Fashion East.

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