When you think of London Fashion Week, it’s hard not to let your mind wander to the big hitters: Vivienne Westwood, Burberry, Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Kane and the like. But if your sole focus lies on those with maximum exposure and notoriety, then you could be missing out of a whole world of emerging talent that London is globally known for. Whilst Victoria Beckham’s trousers may dictate the trends for the coming year, we in London march to the beat of our own drum by championing up-and-coming designers who harness a cult following that’s all their own.
From avant-garde Matty Bovan and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy to the cool-girl’s new squeeze, Ashley Williams, there’s been a number of smaller designer brands that are generating even more buzz – and definitely more excitement – than the household names. And this season sees another new name vying to make its mark: Katie Ann McGuigan. Rising through the ranks from Merit Award winner to main schedule showcase in the click of a finger, the Irish native and Westminster graduate is the word of everybody’s lips this season.
Known for her bold and decisive blend of sporting details, vibrant palettes and all-out prettiness, her aesthetic is distinctive, fresh and very now – and this season was no different. For this AW19 collection her signature colour-soaked knitwear took centre stage in tones of mustard, lilac and teal, accentuated by swathes of clashing check prints and punchy tie dye. Nothing felt one dimensions as fabrics juxtaposed and layered atop one another, creating unexpected and chaotic combinations that somehow felt carefully considered and like a natural fit.
Sporting elements such as supersized puffer coats and gilets, along with utility details spotted on a standout khaki boilersuit, added an unexpected streetwear edge. But nothing seemed more unlikely than the addition of tulle skirts and sleeves layered over the top of it. Where bigger names play to their strengths and deliver consistency, younger players like McGuigan are taking risks and finding their groove, meaning even they might not know what comes next. All we know if that we’re excited to find out next season.