London is renowned for being the place to be if you're a 'bright young thing'. Just take Fashion East for example, the talent incubator founded by Lulu Kennedy in 2000, which gives emerging designers a slot on the fashion week schedule and invaluable industry exposure. Kennedy can be credited with giving the likes of Kim Jones, Saul Nash, KNWLS and Simone Rocha their first start. However, despite the jam-packed co-ed schedule back in February, it's undeniable that London doesn't look quite so 'happening' this time around. In recent years, Craig Green, A-COLD-WALL* and Bianca Saunders have gradually peeled off to Paris and Milan, with heavyweights - essential for pulling in foreign press - like Burberry, now showing off-schedule or in New York, in the case of Victoria Beckham. But that doesn't mean the impact of British fashion can't be felt throughout the coming fashion month, with a bulk of the must-watch collections being designed by our very own. So, the question remains...who to look out for?
Robyn Lynch, Ahluwalia and Saul Nash are set to stay in the big smoke, and an off-schedule Martine Rose show has set the industry crowd tingling with anticipation. Meanwhile, Grace Wales Bonner has abandoned London to be Pitti Uomo's special guest in Florence, joining ample company alongside the Belgian Antwerp Six designer Ann Demeulemeester. Setting sail to French waters once again will be Craig Green and Bianca Saunders, whilst as JW Anderson makes his Milan debut for menswear, joined by Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY (albeit, digitally). Elsewhere, British names at the helm of foreign luxury brands also demand attention; Matthew Williams makes his standalone menswear debut for Givenchy in Paris, where Kim Jones will continue his Dior Men's takeover.
Unlike some of her contemporaries, Priya Ahluwalia's feet are still firmly planted on English soil. With the designer's A/W 22 collection, From Bollywood to Nollywood, marking her post-covid return to the runway (after releasing not just one but five films during lockdown; three for collection releases, one for Gucci Fest, and another for her collaboration with Mulberry), anything is a possibility for S/S 23. 2022 also marks five years of Ahluwalia, a milestone for the designer and all those who have supported her journey over the last half-decade. In recent years the rising star, known for their swirling prints and garments made from deadstock fabrics, has been receiving awards left, right and centre. From winning the Queen Elizabeth II award and the BFC/GQ prize last year, to also being a finalist in the LVMH Prize in 2020, Ahluwalia has more than proven her determination, talent and drive to receive a place on fashion's international stage, making S/S 23 a collection that's got a lot to live up to.
The Irish designer takes her own heritage and puts a spin on it each season. Marking the designer's 30th birthday, Lynch will be hosting a runway show on Saturday 11 June in London. Expect a sportswear spin on heritage - Lynch is renowned for splicing Aran knitwear with technical fabrications details like zippers and poppers, whilst season upon season making a nod to youth culture in Ireland, whether that be personal family photographs or Irish caravan camps.
No matter who jets off here, there and everywhere, you can always vouch on Martine Rose to stick to her London roots, and an off-schedule show in the capital this Sunday evening will see Rose return to the runway after showing digitally. After all, community is at the forefront of her label, demonstrated tirelessly through her inclusive shows often staged in locations where the public are free to join and watch from the sidelines, as was the case with S/S 19. Tackling fashion's digital realm over UK lockdowns, the designer invited the public into her world starting with her S/S 21 presentation What We Do All Day, which held a mirror up to the confinements of lockdown by taking viewers into the rooms of people decked out in Martine Rose, including Drake, via an interactive experience.
Rose professed at the time she 'didn't want people to feel isolated'; something that's felt in everything Rose does, with her clothes encompassing a feeling of ultimate togetherness, referencing rave posters from her youth to warped office attire. In the heat of a cost of living crisis, the Russian-Ukrainian war, Brexit and - to top it all off - the shit show that is parliament, community is more important than ever before. At least we can take comfort in the knowledge that Martine Rose knows this just as much as we do, indicated by her always pulling through for her home turf.
Not only does Wales Bonner's appearance at Pitti Uomo mark her debut at the Italian men's trade fair, it'll also see the designer present her first physical show post-pandemic. A 360 experience is key for Wales Bonner, as demonstrated through her 2019 A Time For New Dreams exhibition at the Serpentine; a first in a new Serpentine series that concentrated on music, fashion, art, design and the interplay between them. Using fashion as a means to communicate her broad and interwoven notions of identity and self-expression, Wales Bonner's unmistakable charm lies in her authenticity and honest approach towards carving her vision through beautifully-made clothes, helped by a few artist friends and collaborators along the way - so expect no less for her Florence debut.
CRAIG GREEN, A-COLD-WALL*, CHARLES JEFFREY
Then you have those who jumped ship a while ago; Craig Green is returning to the Paris schedule once again and joining him for their Paris debut is Sam Ross' A-COLD-WALL*. Escaping to Italy's fashion capital this season is new timer Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY; however, Jeffrey himself has said he's sticking to a digital presentation. For now, all we can say is watch this space.
Jonathan Anderson, although English by blood, has been based in Paris since he started showing his eponymous label there in 2019. Meant to show in Milan when the pandemic struck, the Loewe creative director kept his promise by still appearing on the Milan schedule, (just in digital format). The designer has since invested in a standout campaign that saw him flood the city's billboards with a travelling campaign earlier this year making up his A/W 22 collection, leaving Sarah Mower to comment in Vogue, 'As a device for creating a widely seen, soon to be endlessly Instagram-replicated public spectacle, it's just the latest of Anderson's super-smart manipulations of media—right in the middle of the Italian city where the institution of the fashion billboard has been part of the competitive pride of fashion week for years.'
Mr Williams is a menswear mogul. Previously SHOWstudio’s very own creative director, and co-founder of BEENTRILL with Virgil Abloh, Williams is the founder of 1017 ALYX 9SM, which he launched in 2015. Quickly renowned for their rollercoaster buckles - which Williams now collaborates on for Dior Men’s with Kim Jones - and impeccably cut tailoring, subculture-inspired collections and technical fabrications, the Milan-based brand has proven to be just the beginning for Williams, who took to the helm of Givenchy last year. This June will mark his first menswear-only show for the French couture house, having shown co-ed since his S/S 21 debut. Known for inviting collaborators from the worlds of music and art, like Josh Smith and Teezo Touchdown, this is one for the guys.