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Net-a-Porter launches emerging talent platform

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

30 Aug 2018

Luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter has announced it is launching the Vanguard, an emerging talent platform to “nurture and develop” fashion designers for its global clientele on September 6.

The Vanguard will act as an incubator and accelerator, offering emerging fashion designers access to Net-a-Porter’s expert team of specialists who will provide them with mentoring, practical advice and marketing support to enable them to develop a long-term successful business, said the luxury e-tailer in a press release.

Each season, Net-a-Porter’s buyers will select brands who they predict will make a “lasting impression on the future fashion landscape,” with up to four new brands being welcomed into The Vanguard for the spring/summer and autumn/winter each year, with brands graduating from the platform once their businesses have “sufficiently matured after a few seasons on site”.

For autumn/winter 2018, Les Rêveries, Martinez, RŪH and Gu_de will take part in a mentorship programme that Net-a-Porter has developed to outline a 360-degree approach to building a successful and sustainable business in today’s industry that goes beyond design.

With each brand set to receive mentoring sessions on buying, business strategy, marketing and PR, social media, and tech as well as advice on entering new markets and territories.

Net-a-Porter accelerator The Vanguard to "nurture" emerging brands

Alison Loehnis, Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter president, said in a statement: “Net-a-Porter has always taken a long-term approach to nurturing new designers, and I see The Vanguard as formalising this commitment in a way that will make a real difference to young brands.

“As a business, we have so much to offer by way of expertise, not to mention the invaluable exposure to our global audience. It will be a delight to see more talent flourish through this exciting programme.”

In addition, The Vanguard will be supported with a visual campaign that mirrors the theme of promoting emerging talent by working with up-and-coming photographers, models and creatives.

The four brands span across womenswear, bags and footwear, and come from New York, South Korea, Naples and Spain. Les Reveries is a New York-based brand founded by two sisters, Wayne and Ai and offers dresses and knitwear, while RŪH is a womenswear brand founded by Sonia Trehan that focuses on craftsmanship and partners with a family-run factory in Naples.

The final two brands taking part for autumn/winter 2018 are Martinez, a footwear label founded in 2017 by Julien Martinez, a French shoe designer of Spanish origin, who uses hand lacing in his classic silhouettes, while bag brand Gu_de, founded by Ji Hye Koo in late 2016 is inspired by the 1970s and produced in South Korea.

This isn’t the YNAP group’s first emerging talent project, Yoox launched its first fashion talent scouting programme in 2004 and continues to support new talent through initiatives such as The Next Talents project, established in 2011 with Vogue Italia, which supports young designers and YooxYGen awards in partnership with Parsons School of Design which focuses on promoting responsible fashion practices.

Images: courtesy of Net-a-Porter