As London Fashion Week goes, Fashion Fringe has always been a firm favourite on the show schedule. The competition, founded by Colin McDowell, has gained a reputation for finding and nurturing the best young talent the country has to offer. The list of former winners, which includes Basso & Brooke and MObama favourite Erdem, is evidence of that. In only three days submissions will close and the shortlist of ten designers will be chosen, which will then be narrowed down to three finalists who will get the chance to show their collections at fashion week.
If you're thinking of signing up, this is definitely the year to do it. The general prize includes a runway show and an £100,000 prize to go towards establishing a label. What makes this year special, though, is that Christopher Bailey is joining the panel as the initiative's new chair so along with selecting the final three, Bailey will also mentor the winner over the course of a two year development period. The Burberry designer needs no introduction so it's safe to say that his industry insight and support will prove invaluable to any new designer.
To qualify the minimum you need is a UK working visa and formal design qualifications are not necessary. So what are you waiting for? Make sure to send your application off by April 26th.
Britain is known for nurturing new design talent and over the years emerging designer initiative Fashion Fringe has been the one of the first ports of call to discover new talent. Basso & Brooke and Erdem are just two of the previous winners who have gone on to do great things after winning the award.
Next year marks its 10th anniversary and to help mark the occasion, founder Colin McDowell has brought Christopher Bailey on board to serve as the chair for the next two years. As well as selecting the three finalists and the winner of this year's award, Bailey will also mentor them too. 'I have waited some time before asking Christopher to be our Chair as I wanted the run up to our tenth anniversary year (2013) to be very special,' he said in a release. 'And I know that an association with Christopher and Burberry will make it just that and provide a perfect path to carry us through from one decade to the next.'
I always arrive at the Basso & Brooke show with a slight feeling of hesitation. Not because there's anything wrong with the brand but more out of a genuine concern about how they will manage to do their signature prints in a different and interesting way. Graphic prints have been the order of the day at many brands over the last few seasons so it's always interesting to see how the design duo will rise to the challenge.
This season simple geometric shapes were combined on single items in clashing prints and different colours. While they won't necessarily appeal to the masses, they were definitely styles that the Basso & Brooke customer will appreciate. A selection of floor length dresses were new this season but felt too heavy and wide around the middle.
As the collection progressed the shapes appeared on more structured pieces like a rigid short sleeved top and skirt that had more than an air of Marni about it. All was forgiven though with the introduction of lightweight knitwear this season, something we hope they will continue in seasons to come. Also new this season were a selection of floor length dresses that unfortunately failed to get the crowd excited and were not the most flattering cut on the models.
Over the last few years, Fashion Fringe has become a highlight and unmissable addition to the London Fashion Week schedule. Some of London's finest including William Tempest, Basso & Brooke, Michael van der Ham and Erdem have all participated in the competiton and now, they're on the hunt for the next big accessories designers.
Today it was announced that Roger Vivier will be the partner of the competition and the brand's creative director Bruno Frisoni will serve as the chair. The winner will join Frisoni for a six month work placement with the brand."I was lucky to be able to follow my dream," Firsoni said. "Therefore for me it is a privilege to play but a small part to encourage our next generation of yound designers to create their own vision - to set out on their adventures with confidence and conviction and with the support of Fashion Fringe Accessories these may become a unique reality."
If you want to be involved in the competition, sign up here.
You can always trust Indian designer Manish Arora to stick to his guns and not fall victim to following the crowd. Though his latest collection was full of eccentric prints and the bright colour palette that has quickly become the designer's signature - particularly on dresses and jackets that came in structured and cocoon styles - it was a lot more accessible and wearable than what we've seen from him in the past.
Dresses either came with cut-outs in black and blue or came in peplum-like styles, which were circular and voluminous starting from the waist. This season's cocoon shape appeared on interesting jackets in pink, blue and orange print. Structured shoulders appeared on jackets but thankfully moved away from the overdone '80s versions that we've been subjected to for the past couple of seasons.
Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke are taking us down the Silk Road for fall, mixing digitally created "power prints" with silhouettes from China, India and Persia. Always a fan of blending colours and designs, Basso & Brooke showed a collection of notice-me slimline dresses in both knee- and full-lenth varieties. Deep colours across the rainbow mimicked snakeskin, wicker and even marble, and the duo's subtle blending of patterns at times called to mind an ombré effect.
Besides mixing patterns, Basso & Brooke also mixed textiles - sometimes, with subtlety, sometimes by bashing fabrics together. They combined standards like gabardine and silk jersey with a wet-look silk-wool blend with space-age results. The standouts of the collection had to be the dresses, but the designers also turned out a solid range of parkas, double-breasted coats and beaded leggings. Although no one could ever compare to the late Alexander McQueen, it was touching to see in-your-face pops of colour, which for a fleeting second brought to mind the late designer's last full collection. While the fashion world still mourns, it's nice to have the distraction.
Louise Goldin is definitely having a golden moment. Following the success of her debut footwear collection for Topshop, her eponymous RTW line, and having only graduated in 2005, Ms Goldin has beaten Christopher Kane, Erdem and Marios Schwab in the battle for the British Fashion Council's annual Fashion Forward scheme. Not only did she manage to break the trio's three-season winning streak, but she also managed to win over the judging panel - made up of Emma Elwick, the BFC and Vogue's market editor; Simon Ward, the BFC's joint CEO, and Style.com'sSarah Mower - and pipped the likes of Basso & Brooke, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Emilio de la Morena, Osman and Todd Lynn to the winning post.
I've been a sucker for hats since mine disappeared at a show during couture week in Paris. (Ivana Trump, if you saw anyone walk off with it, email me.) So when I spotted these lovelies outside the Basso & Brooke show at London Fashion Week, I had to get a snap.
The trend to wear vintage hats blew up when Dita von Teese became a household name, but I like that these aren't the typical go-to options.
What do you think of the headwear - and the whole looks?