Since its inception 15 years ago, Lulu Kennedy’s non-profit initiative Fashion East has helped catapult the careers of designers such as Meadham Kirchhoff, Simone Rocha and J.W.Anderson into the fashion stratosphere. As February’s shows draw ever nearer, Kennedy and her team have announced the four emerging designers they are working with this season.
They’ve selected Dazed favourites Richard Malone and Caitlin Price for the second and third time respectively, but for the remaining two – AV Robertson and Mimi Wade – it will be their London Fashion Week debut. Both these designers are fresh out of Central Saint Martins – Robertson recently graduated from the BA Fashion course and Wade from Fashion Print.
Since graduating last year, Robertson has worked for Marc Jacobs and gained the attention of LOVE magazine’s editor-in-chief Katie Grand and former Marc by Marc Jacobs designer Katie Hillier who recommended her for the programme. Specialising in embroidered women’s clothes and accessories, her graduate collection was adorned with flowers made (by hand) using iridescent fabric, Swarovski crystals and pearl stigmas.
As for Wade (full name: Mimi Xenia Tallulah Wade), her graduate collection was inspired by heroines in low-budget 50s horror films because, in her words, it’s “one of the few genres where female actors were able to ‘act out’”. As well as catching the eye of Vogue’s international editor Suzy Menkes who posted a picture of this collection on Instagram, Wade has caught the attention of alternative modelling agency Anti-Agency who currently represent her.
“The new applicants were especially strong this season, with Amie Robertson even being recommended to us by Katie Grand and Katie Hillier,” commented Fashion East’s director Lulu Kennedy. “The selection process was getting impossible, until panel member Mandi Lennard suggested we award four designers instead of our usual three. I am more excited than ever to reveal the talent we have chosen – it’s the most brilliant lineup yet!”