Saturday night in South Kensington saw the launch of the 2015 London Emerging Designer Awards. The showcase and network event was organised by Aisha Ferozee, a young designer herself, of Ferozee Yung an eco-friendly womenswear collection. Guests of the event included Miss Barbados and Gillian Mckeith as well as frows filled up by bloggers, buyers, and fashion writers for magazines such as Candid and Disorder. The judging panel for the evening comprised of Kent Baker, Vogue Photographer, Alan Enfield, fashion agent and former protégé of Jean Paul Gaultier, and Fay Heran, Noctis Magazine Editor.
Maurice Whittingham took us back in time to the 19th century with his collection which was a blend of military utility and Victorian-esque tailoring. These consisted of heavy overcoats buttoned to the neck, and a formal match of starchy waistcoats and hip pleat trousers. Maurice sees the shape of the garment as paramount to his collection and every item was uniquely structured. He first works with shape and proportion, and then works into the details. He incorporates different fabrics for different dimensions – jackets with leather trimmed edges, large construction patch pockets, and prominent military style buttons. The entire collection was a shade of blue, powder sky blue, royal navy blue, murky grey blue, and sinister dark blue, as blue was the inspiration for the collection.
Sonia Funnell exhibited a magical Middle Eastern collection inspired by Arabia. Garments had exotic Moroccan silhouettes with rich 1920s Jazz Age glamour. The collection featured elegant high neck lines and draped and swishy hems. Every piece exuded opulence and rarity created by the lavish fabrics, exotic textures and embellishment. Sonia expresses herself in her designs and stands out by inventing her own fabrics and couture hand crafting techniques. Sonia will go far with this unique collection as it evokes both mystery and dazzle.
Ashima Kaur showcased a wacky array of bold street style garments. The girls wore slouchy pants and oversized tunics, and the boys wore skin tight leggings and baggy vests. The designs conjured images of Rihanna’s 2010 Rude Boy music video with vibrant hits of block colour, prison bar stripes and catchy slogans – ‘not for sale’, ‘ it’s time for change’, ‘my life my choice’. Ashima’s whole collection had a retro Pop Art meets Punk Age vibe and was very fun and enjoyable to watch.
Winner of the night John Herrera gained the judge’s approval with his ‘wearable, stay look’ and went home with the 2015 L.E.D. crystal trophy. Some of the collection was cocktail party wearable – dresses featured short-short hemlines paired with long vampish jackets. Other items were almost minimalist and sporty – worn Lycra tight and all black with flashes of neon. They looked suspiciously like the design of celebrity guest Gillian Mckeith’s dress, who coincidently found her way onto the judge’s panel. The judges envisioned the collection on the street, but the inspiration came from Philippine folklore. The style was based on Asuang, a half witch, half ghoul, half vampire who feeds on the foetuses of unborn children.
So from 19th century warriors and Arabian princesses, to retro-pop music videos and Philippian folklore, the L.E.D. awards took us on a whistle stop tour through history. The star of the night for me was Sonia Funnell and her uniquely glamorous Moroccan designs; certainly a designer to watch out for. The take home advice for budding designers: do your homework and look what’s out there, but never lose your individuality either.