Meet The New Graduates Shaping the Future of Fashion

Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Jonathan Anderson: these designers and so many more came through London's renowned fashion school system. The city is a breeding ground for the most imaginative designers in the world, so we scoured the recent graduate collections to pick our favorite 17. These are the designers who will be shaping our closets in the not-too-distant future. You heard it here first!

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Fashion loves a new name. And every year we're given a whole cache of them as graduate season—one of the most exciting times on the fashion calendar—rolls around. Who will make the transition from college runway to catwalk runway? Who will land a spot at Fashion Week?

Well, a new batch of graduates has just been freshly unleashed into the world, and the next round of ready-to-wear shows are already lurking on the horizon (September, scarily enough, will be here before we all know it). So we turned to the best fashion colleges in the U.K. and watched countless collections on countless runways to pick out the names you need to be paying attention to.

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Here they are, in their own words—intriguing and sometimes offbeat inspirations and all.

The New Names in Knitwear

Photograph courtesy of Nottingham Trent University
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Name: Kendall Baker

Studied: Fashion Knitwear Design with Knitted Textiles at Nottingham Trent University.

Your collection in a sentence: Menswear with a spin on traditional knitwear.

Inspiration: I looked closely at the life cycle and movement of butterflies. I wanted to capture the fluidity of their movement, the delicateness of their wings, and the vibrancy of their lives.

What's the first thing you ever made? When I was 15, I designed and created a ball gown out of music paper along with origami balloons and birds...inspired by Gareth Pugh for Lady Gaga!

Photograph courtesy of Central Saint Martins

Name: Adnan Jalal

Studied: Fashion Knitwear at Central Saint Martins

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Your collection in a sentence: Eclectic maharajas drowned in sunflowers.

Inspiration: Gandhi, the maharajas, Mughal India, English eccentricity, Juergen Teller, ugliness, sunflowers, myself, a combination of the way I dress and how I would want to dress.

What's next: The MA in Fashion Knitwear at CSM.

Photograph courtesy of Central Saint Martins

Name: Kota Gushiken

Studied: Fashion Knitwear at Central Saint Martins

Your collection in a sentence: I visualized the idea of a polyrhythm [a combining of rhythms common in African music] as a fashion collection.

Inspiration: American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat: his work is often criticized as a visualization of jazz as he randomly puts so many different elements and colors in his paintings. So I started with these elements.

Did you always want to be a fashion designer? No. When I was a small kid, about eight, I wanted to be a gymnast.

Name: Lauren Hae in Jin

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Studied: Womenswear at Royal College of Art

Your collection in a sentence: The circularity around the female body, which creates softness and emphasis on the subtlety of second-skin colors.

Inspiration: My collection started from a figure drawing I did of myself and an exploration of my ideal woman.

What's next: To be honest, I don't quite know what will happen to me, which is scary but pretty exciting at the same time!

The New Names in Tailoring

Photograph courtesy of Simon Armstrong/Hazel Symons
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Name: Hazel Symons

Studied: Fashion Design at De Montfort University, Leicester

Your collection in a sentence: A womenswear collection that incorporates reinventions of classical menswear pieces with innovative seam construction and hand-painted and embroidered textiles.

Inspiration: Packaging templates—how boxes are constructable and deconstructable. My garments are fully deconstructable and are physically screwed together.

What's been your fashion school highlight? Definitely winning the two prizes—the Creative Catwalk Award and Gold Award [the top prize]—at Graduate Fashion Week (the U.K.-wide student showcase).

Photograph courtesy of Central Saint Martins

Name: Imogen Wright

Studied: Womenswear at Central Saint Martins

Your collection in a sentence: A wardrobe of tailored pieces focusing on details.

Inspiration: The modern creative woman.

What was the first thing you ever made? A plastic shoe after going to a graduate fashion show with my mum when I was about seven.

Name: Dora Nachilima

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Studied: Fashion Design at Northumbria University

Your collection in a sentence: To show women's desire to wear men's clothing.

Inspiration: The '40s Zoot Suit movement along with the 1992 movie Malcolm X.

What was the first thing you ever made? Probably Barbie doll outfits in my aunt's sewing studio. If that doesn't count, I would have to say a children's play mat in high-school textiles.

Photograph courtesy of Simon Armstrong

Name: Victoria Hopcroft

Studied: Womenswear Fashion Design at University of Westminster

Your collection in a sentence: Captivating contemporary eveningwear.

Inspiration: I began by looking at the work of tabloid photographer Weegee from the '30s to the '60s. His images of car crashes showing scrunched-up metalthe idea of metallic materials and layers of different textures. This then led me to the idea of dissecting layers to create ruffles of different textile and print. Black, cobalt, and silver, embroidery, sequins, and foil prints are all mixed for a striking effect.

What's next: To get involved with designing print and fabrication for a company or independently designing and selling my own.

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The New Exhibitionists

Photograph courtesy of Central Saint Martins
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Name: Camilla Mecacci

Studied: Womenswear at Central Saint Martins

Your collection in a sentence: 12 tilted pleated skirts.

Inspiration: The softness of Vanessa Beecroft's marble sculptures at the Venice Biennale last year and subverting the nature and perception of materials—hard versus soft. The case study is the pleated skirt, a garment I identify with; the design is proposed in various ways throughout the collection and adapted in different fabrics

What's next: I want to keep learning and working with clothes.

Name: Hanni Yang

Studied: Womenswear Fashion Design Technology at London College of Fashion

Your collection in a sentence: Lots of leather and weirdness.

Inspiration: I'm really inspired by the idea of the beauty of ugliness, so I did a lot of research into artists and performers who share the same concept, like the Vienna Actionists [a group of artists who were part of an explicit and taboo-breaking art-performance movement in the '60s] .

What's next: The MA menswear course at London College of Fashion, potentially.

Name: Jane Allcock

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Studied: Womenswear Fashion Design Technology at London College of Fashion

Your collection in a sentence: The complex and nuanced folklore of a family.

Inspiration: Folklore and conspiracies. My grandmother was from a very big Irish family; she and her siblings all have such amazing stories. I really liked the idea that the collection would read like a kind of aged-modern folktale. Taking inspirations on what modern meant in the '40s when my grandmother was adapting to England, and '60s, when the clash of folk and counterculture came into being.

Did you always want to be a fashion designer? Pretty much. I think I decided I wanted to be a costume designer at first, when I was about 10 years old. The first Lord of the Rings film had just been released, which had some spectacular costumes, and I was fascinated with trying to go inside that world.

Photograph courtesy of Simon Armstrong

Name: Emma Hart

Studied: Womenswear Fashion Design at University of Westminster

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Your collection in a sentence: A crude collage of silks and canvas on a countryside girl.

Inspiration: American Artist Robert Gober, alongside images of the rural English countryside, influenced the development of the embroideries. The rough materials he uses in sculpture oddly correlated to imagery I have of the countryside landscapes I walk when I'm back home, full of beautifully rugged, unfiltered aesthetics.

What's been your fashion school highlight? Getting an internship at Céline was a great moment and my first insight towards what it would be like working for a large designer brand.

Photograph courtesy of Simon Armstrong

Name: Christopher Pak

Studied: Womenswear Fashion Design at the University of Westminster

Your collection in a sentence: Handcrafted and sculptural clothes inspired by outsider art.

Inspiration: The work of artist James Castle, who made a lot of beautiful paper collages by stitching them together by hand. I wanted to carry that same process into my collection. Other influences included couture from the '40s and '50s, Robert Rauschenberg's cardboard sculptures, the work of sculptor Eva Hesse, and artist Phyllida Barlow.

What's been your fashion school highlight? Just being in the studio working with all my classmates. We're all so different in our styles, so it was such a pleasure to learn from them and watch them grow.

Photograph courtesy of Simon Armstrong

Name: Liam O'Sullivan

Studied: Womenswear Fashion Design at University of Westminster

Your collection in a sentence: Girls at the back of the bus who equally terrify you and you're in awe of, from Romford and Dagenham where I grew up.

Inspiration: Mistakes, rejection, and girls at the back of the bus.

What's been your fashion school highlight? Finishing. Seriously, being around 26 other incredibly talented people every day, some of whom became my closest friends, and getting through the hell of final collection listening to lots of crap pop music.

The New Names in Streetwear

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Name: Andrew Ko

Studied: Fashion Design and Development at London College of Fashion

Your collection in a sentence: Serious, timeless, new, and original!

Inspiration: The '80s Japanese fashion photobook, Sonomama Sonomama: High Fashion in the Japanese Countryside and a Japanese traditional fabric divider called noren.

What's next: Trying to get a job in fashion!

Name: Sam Thompson and George Oxby

Studied: Menswear and BA Sportswear, respectively, at London College of Fashion

Your collection in a sentence: The menacing figure of an urban vagabond threatening violence.

Inspiration (Sam): We actually came at the collection from quite different perspectives that came together in a really beautiful way—I became really engaged with the idea of creating threat and violence in the clothes. It sort of comes from having quite a dark sense of humor. (George): I was struck by one particular image, "Vagabond à Ouagadougou" by Roman Bonnefoy, which has a genderless, layered beauty that tells a story of survival, pride, and human resilience.

What's been your fashion school highlight? (Sam): It's hard to top winning 'Collection of the Year' for a collection into which we poured so much energy, love, and also anger and frustration!

Name: Sanglak Shon

Studied: Fashion menswear at Royal College of Art

Your collection in a sentence: Casual and self-sensual.

Inspiration: Capturing the sensual moment in real life—fabrics that are more related to sensuality, such as lace and thin jersey.

What's next: I want to have my own label.

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