Fashion Scout’s collaborative showcase, Ones To Watch, has a long reputation for propelling hot new designers onto the London Fashion Week scene and the three designers taking part for its spring/summer 2019 show were no exception, with Argentine brand Nous Etudions and Croatian Price on Request both showing their ethical credentials, while Greek twins Eirini and Dimitra behind Aucarre placed its emphasis on feminine power by elevating and giving a voice to all women.
The Ones to Watch platform was the starting point for numerous designers currently on-schedule at London Fashion Week from Malene Oddershede Bach to Eudon Choi, and FashionUnited chatted to the latest additions to the prestigious line-up following their debuts on the catwalk at their collaborative show at Fashion Scout’s Freemasons’ Hall location.
Founded by designer Romi Cardillo in 2014 in Argentina, Nous Etudions’ philosophy is linked to sustainability, veganism and non-gender traditions, and the spring/summer 2019 collection showcased its bold aesthetic of oversized tailoring and textured layering, as well as its experimentation of handmade textiles.
“For me, having a collection that is ethical is part of my life, as I’m vegan,” explained Cardillo following the show. “I worked with a company in Argentina where all their process are sustainable and I don’t use any animal skin, and in this collection I showcased a new Nous biotextile, which has been made from kombucha, which other sustainable brands including Stella McCartney have been using.”
Entitled ‘Creatures of the Universe,’ the spring/summer collection takes inspiration from nature, shapes and textures, as well as Cardillo’s love of her country, which the designer stated “really comes through in the colours” of the bold collection, where pastel hues are accented with a striking blue, yellow, green and gold colour palette.
As well as the striking colour palette and oversized prominent silhouettes, Nous Etudions really stood out in the emerging designer showcase for its use of experimental techniques and fabrications, such as its use of the Nous biotextile, a new textile that has been created in collaboration with Franco Nencini, who researched the development of a textile based on black tea, sugar, and a handful of micro-organisms that fermented and created cellulose.
This new raw material, an alternative to leather, was used across the brand’s deconstructed tailoring, highlighted beautifully on a pale pink oversized tailored coat and its complementary line of accessories, both featuring laser cut out detailing.
Cardillo added: “One of my favourite things from this collection are the bags, as I’ve had the problem where I can’t buy accessories because it is leather, so I decided to design my own, and I made them part of the outfits.”
Concluding the interview, Cardillo expressed her joy at showing during London Fashion Week, saying: “It’s a dream for me to be showing in London, because when I was little I visited here and I saw the people, and I loved how much freedom they had with their clothes, and it made me want to have a clothing brand to showcase here.
“It has been a dream come true.
Before launching Nous Edutions, Cardillo, a fashion design graduate from Universidad Argentina de la Empresa, founded menswear label Group 134, which was the first vegan brand in Argentina that worked with Greenpeace on their first peace campaign in Argentina on the production of the leather tannery.
With a background in bimolecular and genetic science, Greek twins Eirini and Dimitra Skalidaki, turned their attention to fashion design and went onto study at Central Saint Martins to pursue their dreams of becoming fashion designers. The design duo founded Aucarre, following internships at Mary Katrantzou, Gucci and Chanel, with the aim of showcasing a brand that emphasises feminine power by empowering women with its bold, romanticism silhouettes and dramatic aesthetic.
“We’ve always been into fashion, we love drawing, but science is more popular at home, and we have family in sciences so we wanted to follow in their footsteps,” explained Dimitra, following the Ones to Watch showcase. “But at the same time we still always had this creativity within us to make beautiful things and this led us to London and to Saint Martins, which was a really great experience and we found ourselves able to pursue our fashion dreams.”
Eirini added: “We do believe that science and art are the same, science can save a life, while fashion can save the soul and be empowering, and that’s what we hope we bring with our designs.”
For their spring/summer 2019 collection, ‘Feminine Surrealism’ the design duo were inspired by femininity and surrealism, creating bold silhouettes featuring oversized floral prints and patterns, and hand-drawn motives to present a fearless, dynamic, strong woman.
Dimitra explained: “Feminine Surrealism is a super-real world that creates the ideal woman stimulated by her everyday image, so we can create a different idea of what a woman is, by showing a refreshing look at her alter-ego. We created this by using elements like flowers, sparkle fabrications, prints and lace to symbolise her beauty and vitality.”
The designs had a cinematic appeal, with statement floral prints accented with dramatic ruffles, textured fabrications, as well as bold colours.
“This was our first show,” added the sisters. “It has been so exciting and the best experience- we can’t thank the Fashion Scout team enough for being super supportive and helping us make our mark in the industry.”
Based in Zagreb, Croatia, Price on Request is an award-winning multi-gender brand founded by Gala Marija Vrbanic, with the aim of designing clothes that “speak to courageous and bold” people in the Instagrammable age, while still making fashion accountable to the ever-growing waste it produces.
“Everything in this collection has been recycled,” explains Marija Vrbanic, as all the pieces have been selected from the archives of her mother’s 30-year-old Croatian brand Xenia Designs and then reinvented to make them “modern and appealing”.
Marija Vrbanic added: “I don’t have an exact sense of inspiration, I do things I like, things think people want to wear, and the only research I do, is whether I feel good while wearing it, as well as it being cool.
“I took the pieces that were unsold from my mum’s fashion brand, which were just sitting there and reverted them - changed the silhouettes, the prints and the function of the piece.”
For instance, a statement orange top was created using a thick thermal foil that was wrapped around a plain black shirt, which created its unique pattern once the first wearer wore it and stretched it apart, “the piece adjusts to the body - so it is always unique,” Marija Vrbanic explains.
Each garment is altered in a series of phases, the Croatian designer added, the first being to change the intention of the piece by turning it into a garment with a different function, followed by changing the silhouette, and then the final phase is to add decoration with embellishment and print.
“The main objective for Price on Request is to improve the functionality of garments, giving every piece a story and a journey, while also doing our best to stop pollution and waste within the fashion industry.”
Marija Vrbanic, a graduate of Zagreb’s School of Design, founded Price on Request in 2016 and the brand has been recognised with a 2017 ELLE Style Award in Croatia and the Fashion Scout South East Europe 2018 Award, which led to the brand being featured as part of Ones to Watch.
Images: courtesy of Fashion Scout