Next generation of designers are changing the fashion game

1 week ago 29

The fashion agenda today is being set by a new generation of stars who are refreshing and reinventing their respective corners of the industry.

In womenswear, there is Nensi Dojaka, 2021's LVMH Prize winner, who is redefining what sexy looks like. Bianca Saunders, the 2021 recipient of the Andam Fashion Award, also casts a female gaze but on menswear - where she has created a distinctive look that is off-kilter yet graceful.

And then there is Harris Reed, the non-binary designer pushing gender fluidity to its most expressive, extravagant heights with his demi-couture creations.

Dojaka is currently the darling of the industry, her work beloved not just by the establishment (evident by her LVMH Prize triumph), but also by some of the most photographed women in the world.

Trendsetters, such as singers Rihanna and Dua Lipa as well as models Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski, have been spotted in Dojaka's signature lingerie-inspired looks.

Soft but strong, sexy yet never trashy, the designer's aesthetic dovetails perfectly with our current cultural moment - one in which sex has returned to the forefront of fashion and the pent-up demand for party dressing is close to boiling point.

With their delicate criss-crossing straps and cleverly placed French-seamed panels, Dojaka's dresses brilliantly straddle the line between underwear and eveningwear. The clothes are barely there, but what is there is impeccably constructed and engineered to caress the body in all the right places.

In a conversation with Zadrian Smith for Harper's Bazaar UK, Dojaka said: "What I love is to make women feel empowered, but also to keep it very fragile because that's what makes us women. We are strong, but there is also that lightness and fragility, which is something really beautiful."

The tension between strength and softness is also something that colours Saunders' work. Her vision of menswear is undeniably masculine, but not in the traditional sense. There is something quiet but powerful in the way she reimagines foundational menswear garments such as tailoring, sportswear and workwear.

There is nothing campy or overwrought about her work...

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