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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Newport International Runway Group: Michael Kors To Open Largest Flagship In Japan

U.S. designer Michael Kors has announced plans to open a new store in Tokyo's Ginza district in the fall.
The 7,800-square-foot flagship, located on Chuo Street, is the first free-standing Michael Kors store to carry menswear items.

The store's interior will utilize Kors' classic "jet set glamour" theme, which includes white marble flooring, zebra-skin accents, stainless steel fixtures and Macassar wood.

"Japan is a key market for our continued development in Asia," John Idol, chairman and CEO of the brand, said in a brand statement, according to Luxury Daily.

"The importance of Tokyo to luxury and fashion retailing makes this the right place and time to open our first store showcasing every facet of the Michael Kors brand. We look forward to offering the full breadth of our product assortment, presented with our signature glamour, chic and superlative service, to our Japanese customers and tourists traveling to Tokyo," Idol added.

Michael Kors already has many stores within Tokyo but this new location is in a prime shopping area, which will reach both residents and tourists.

The first floor includes large windows surrounded by Bianco Dolomiti marble and will offer handbags, accessories, watches, jewelry and eyewear; while a lower level will offer men's attire and accessories.
According to Luxury Daily, a video screen covers both the second and third stories.

Both Michael Kors Collection and Michael Michael Kors women's ready-to-wear will be housed on the third floor, along with a large shoe range.

In related news, Kors was named the 2014 Most Searched For Fashion Designer By Bing. The designer placed second on 2013's chart — he was beat by Victoria Beckham. She did not make the list at all this year, according to WWD.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Newport International Runway Group Latest Trends: Why Shopping has Turned into a Night at the Museum

When avant-garde designer Rick Owens celebrated the 20th anniversary of his eponymous label this fall, he did so on a grand and unusual scale, installing a towering replica of his torso, 25 feet tall and painted stark white, one arm raising a fiery torch, above the entrance to Selfridges in London. Created by frequent Owens collaborator Douglas Jennings and set against the department store’s columned facade, the sculpture, part of an art-meets- fashion collaboration called The World of Rick Owens, was a striking if slightly unsettling sight. Besides the designer’s likeness, Owens’s “world” also included elaborate visual installations in store windows, a capsule collection and a curated space featuring furniture and design pieces offering insight into the designer’s wonderfully weird mind. All told, it was one of the boldest displays yet of the merging of art and fashion outside of a museum space. And it was at the fore of a growing phenomenon, spurred by an effort to lure customers, generate buzz and compete against edgy online retailers nipping at traditional retail’s heels: the department store as art gallery.

"As luxury and retail is an extremely competitive space, it’s important for brands to continuously innovate in order to keep their relevancy,” says Dalia Strum, a digital strategist and instructor at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “Online shopping is on the rise and brick and mortar locations need to provide a value-add for potential consumers. These installations have proven to continuously draw attention and traffic due to their quick turnover.”

Merging fashion and art in the department store isn’t an entirely new phenomenon; retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys in New York have historically collaborated with artists on their window displays during the holidays, says Georgie Stout, founding partner and creative director of New York-based design consultancy 2x4. Selfridges is treading lightly into the New Year with its January street window takeover termed “Bright Old Things,” which spotlights an eclectic mix of well-known and under-the-radar artists, from an architect-turned-topiarist, to a punk musician/artist, and a furniture designer, all ranging in age from 40 to 80+.

Luxe retailer Bergdorf Goodman, meanwhile, has taken to elevating fashion as art in its legendary Fifth Avenue store windows all year long, starting this past May with a celebration of the Costume Institute’s Charles James exhibit. Bergdorf’s enlisted contemporary designers such as Ralph Rucci, Mary Katrantzou and Rodarte to put their own spin on James’ structured creations; those one-of-a-kind pieces, surrounded by historical references to the couturier’s work, could be purchased directly from the windows. In September, Bergdorf’s partnered with Sotheby’s to preview the auction house’s Contemporary Art Sale and created gallery-esque windows featuring works by the likes of Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Dan Flavin, serving as a backdrop to showcase the store’s fall fashion. Even Bergdorf’s recent holiday windows highlight art in all its forms, from architecture, to sculpture, painting and dance.

“Department stores have been transforming themselves from a merchandise-driven environment to an experiential setting of lifestyle goods, epicurean offerings and even services,” says Tom Julian, one of the directors of New York-based The Doneger Group, a retail and merchandising consulting firm. “Art can allow a traditional retailer to become more historical, more cultural, an edgy retailer can be more directional, and an emerging retailer can be seen as an innovator, all thanks to the art theme.”

Those experiences are progressively making the leap beyond the window display and inside – or, in the case of Selfridges’ Rick Owens exhibit – outside, the department store environment. In May, London’s Harrod’s department store presented the “Pradasphere,” an in-store exhibit taking up a wide expanse of store real estate on the fourth floor, tracing the Italian design house’s inspirations ranging from art, architecture and film. Iconic looks from the past 100 years were housed in glass cases, and a Prada-inspired café was created in which to ponder the brand’s intellectual approach to fashion. “Creating social spaces inside of retail, where the public can engage with a brand at a more intellectual level, and connect artists and other collaborators work to the fashion brand as well,” says Stout. Continue reading…

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Newport International Runway Group Latest Trends Going the extra mile for fair-trade fashion

Newport International Runway Group Latest Trends - On Christmas Day, Dean Newcombe and fellow Tokyo fashion model Sofi Bevan swapped the comfort of the catwalk for something considerably less glamorous: a weeklong 391-km trek across often-mountainous terrain in freezing weather. Newcombe trekked 14 to 16 hours a day, starting at sunrise from the beaches of Choshi in Chiba and ending up on New Year’s Eve by the shores of Niigata. Bevan kept pace, with a few days off to heal severe blisters and boot rash.

Why did they do it? “I started feeling like I would rather be giving to a charity than wrapping a gift under a tree. I would rather dedicate my holiday season to support a cause I believed in,” says Newcombe.

While the Briton has applied to register his trek as a new Guinness world record, the real motivation for the journey was to raise awareness of appalling garment factory conditions in Bangladesh, an issue that briefly captured the world’s attention after the devastating Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, which claimed the lives of more than 1,100 garment workers. Walk4Work, as the models’ project was called, was intended to send a strong message about the need to change the way clothing is manufactured around the world.

“This walk wasn’t an abstract idea. It was very close to my heart,” says Newcombe, who has been to Bangladesh, where he visited schools and met with workers at a local fair-trade NGO called Thanapara Swallows Development Society. Newcombe decided that more had to be done to raise awareness that where we buy our clothes has real consequences — an idea that the heart of a movement toward “conscious consumerism” that has been gathering momentum for the last 20 years, largely under the banner of “fair trade.”

“Fair-trade collectives produce everything by hand or by sewing machines — not automated machinery,” explains Newcombe. “I fund-raised for the Swallows foundation on this walk because they’re a perfect example of optimal conditions for garment workers: a small village where the workers all know each other; they live nearby; they work for a reasonable eight hours a day, five days a week; they earn wages that are substantially higher than the average Bangladesh garment factory worker; and they live at home with their families, not in urban slums — and, they make beautiful garments that are handwoven and hand-embroidered.”

To raise awareness of fair trade as an ethical alternative to sweat shops, Newcombe decided he would try to endure what millions of sweat-shop workers in the developing world endure every day: exhausting, relentless hard work.

“I think it’s amazing that he has the tenacity and physical stamina to do what he did,” says Safia Minney, CEO and founder of the People Tree brand, a pioneer in fair trade. “A lot of people don’t know about the suffering of garment workers.”

Most of the world’s clothes are the product of a system that relies on the exploitation of garment workers in developing countries, says Minney, whose book “Naked Fashion” tells the tragic yet ultimately hopeful tales of some of these garment workers. “It’s women 16-25 years of age who are exploited in factories in the developing world, and it’s the same age group buying the most from ‘fast fashion’ franchises.”

This issue made headlines in Japan last month after a Hong Kong-based human rights group called out Uniqlo — arguably the poster child for cheap-and-cheerful fast fashion — for sourcing garments from “unsafe” factories in mainland China.

In “Naked Fashion,” Minney writes as both an insider and pioneer of the “sustainable fashion revolution,” an informal international community of fashion designers, media professionals and retailers who want to use their experience and skills to change the fashion industry for the better.

When Minney asked Newcombe to be an ambassador for her company in 2013, he joined a select group of celebrities that include actress Emma Watson, voice actress Laura Bailey and model Jo Wood, who share an enthusiasm for raising awareness about fair trade and ethical living. Yet despite the celebrity endorsements, fair-trade clothing makes up only a minuscule 1 percent of the global clothing market, a fact Naoko Tanemori, general manager of People Tree Japan, sees as a reflection of the lack of awareness among consumers about the concept.

“We did a survey two years ago. We found out that while 50 percent knew of the words ‘fair trade,’ only 26 percent knew what it stood for,” she explains. “In England, more than 80 percent know that is a movement of responsibility.

“Fair trade works through the labels. It gives the consumer enough information attached to a garment they are considering buying to make ethical choices. On People Tree garments, the labels provide the name of the collective, its location and explanation about craftsmanship and organic materials that went into production.”

The People Tree store in Tokyo’s Jiyugaoka neighborhood is a beautiful light-filled space with classic high ceilings tucked away on a quiet backstreet. Where there’s embroidery, its handmade. Where there’s a print, it’s often silk-screened by hand and made with organic cotton, silk or wool. The designers are graduates of Japan’s elite fashion colleges, and it shows in the exquisite details and attention to quality.

But there is a rub. Fair-trade garments tend to cost more, and not only because the wages of the workers are higher: Being made of high-quality natural fibers and not synthetics adds to the cost, as does the fact that the garments are made in small batches, as opposed to being mass-produced.

Minney established Global Village, the forerunner of the People Tree shop, in 1991 based on the belief that given enough information, people would opt for fair trade. Guided by that conviction, she began educating her target audience here in Japan through newsletters and lectures.

“Since 1991, when we began, I’ve seen changes,” she says. “People are really prepared now to buy organic food and produce as a way of supporting social change. In Europe you have the younger consumers who are going vegan; their parents were vegetarian and they are going one step further.”

People Tree fashions can also be purchased online, with sales marking the end of each season.

There are many other options for conscious and ethical fashion consumption, Minney also suggests. These include buying less, buying at second-hand shops, swapping clothes with your friends, or even sewing your own. She also recommends putting pressure on your favorite brands by asking them for details about their ethical standards and sustainability.

While it’s People Tree’s mission to change the style-conscious fashion world from the bottom up — and in particular to change corporate practices completely — Patagonia, a U.S.-based outdoor clothing company, focuses on sustainability, choosing fabrics and recyclable materials that draw attention to saving the Earth’s resources. Patagonia provided the tough snow-proof clothing that got Newcombe and Bevan across the Japan Alps.

The total amount of money raised from Newcombe and Bevan’s walk — more than ¥700,000 — came from small donations by avid followers of Walk4Work, who logged on to Facebook, Twitter and the People Tree websites to catch the latest news and views from the couple’s trek.

The grand sum will enable around 25 women to enter the fair-trade fashion business, and continue to live with their families.

Newcombe, while pleased with the outcome, is not about to rest on his laurels. On Feb. 26, Newcombe will set off on his next challenge, Tokyo 2 Tohoku, a run, bike or walk challenge open to everyone and organized by Newcombe’s nonprofit organization Intrepid Model Adventures and Ribelie Media.

Newcombe will set off with a team from Tokyo, running an average of 30 km a day for two weeks. They are scheduled to arrive in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 11. Funds raised will go toward projects organized by Katariba, an NPO working in the children’s education sector in tsunami-hit Onagawa.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Newport International Runway Group Latest Trends: A Start-Up Incubator With a Fashion Focus

PARIS — The jewelry designer Sara Beltrán owes part of her success to a Jaipur rickshaw taxi driver she met when on a business trip. From helping her find her house, to production and business contacts, he made the introductions. But a local connection can take you only so far. The Council of Fashion Designers of America is helping Ms. Beltrán develop her jet-set beach-vibe brand Dezso into a profitable global enterprise with its in-house incubator program.

The C.F.D.A., known for its charity fund-raising campaigns — particularly for HIV/AIDS research — and scholarships, introduced the incubator for emerging designers in 2009 as part of the initiatives of the mayor of New York at the time, Michael R. Bloomberg, to develop and retain entrepreneurs there.

The original proposal was to partner with the Fashion Institute of Technology, but Lisa Smilor, the council’s executive director, said she did not want to stake her organization’s reputation on students fresh out of school.

Instead, the C.F.D.A. set admission guidelines strictly to American designers who have established businesses at least two years old, and who have received notable press and orders from top-tier retailers. For its current class, the third generation, the council accepted 10 brands out of 35 applicants.

After starting their business with $8,000 of personal funds and growing 30 percent annually over five years, Farah Malik and Dana Arbib, the designers of the jewelry brand A Peace Treaty, hit a wall. They were looking for an opportunity. The designers, who produce in 10 countries, had organized communities of older artisans to train younger generations in order to revitalize dying craftsmanship techniques, such as camel bone carving in Rajasthan. Ms. Malik said the kind of mentoring they had fostered was missing for their own business.

Before the incubator, the C.F.D.A. already had a designer development program in partnership with Vogue magazine, which has been responsible for launching such designers as Rodarte, Proenza Schouler and Alexander Wang. However the organization’s proprietary incubator is more of a slow cooker for young brands rather than the fast-paced cutthroat competition of the C.F.D.A./Vogue Fashion Fund, which is filmed as a Project Runway-like reality show.

Ms. Smilor describes the incubator program as less marketing for the organization and more “nuts and bolts” of supporting emerging designers. “The concept was to create a space where we can help nurture designers,” she said.

After applying to the C.F.D.A./Vogue Fashion Fund and making it through the first round, the designers of A Peace Treaty ultimately decided it was not right for the brand. Ms. Malik said they decided to focus on a “sure shot that would be more lucrative.” A friend and incubator designer Jonathan Simkhai suggested they apply to the two-year program.

The C.F.D.A. underwrites half the cost of a studio in a collective workspace in the heart of New York’s garment district, which Ms. Malik likens to being on a school campus. Before moving into their studio at the incubator, she said, the designers were “isolated” in their Midtown Manhattan office.

 “The excitement and creativity buzzes with us all there,” Ms. Malik said. “It’s nice to know we’re all struggling with the same business issues. That kind of sharing is really reassuring. We crack a lot of codes together.”

Ms. Smilor said that for 10 brands competing for the same investment dollars and editorial attention, the incubator is more of a community than a competition for the fellows. “They really are all for one and one for all,” she said.

In the first part of the two-year program, designers selected for the incubator get an intensive eight-month business finance and marketing education as part of the C.F.D.A.'s partnership with Stern School of Business at New York University. Because the designers have established businesses, their brands also act as a case study project for the M.B.A. students, who work with the designers to develop business plans that include e-commerce and finance strategies.

Having the tough love of aspiring business sharks pick apart and critique her business was sometimes uncomfortable for Ms. Malik. “We’ve been very proud about building our business ourselves from the ground up,” she said. “Sometimes it felt too big and I had to negotiate my feelings around the program. But it was the best treatment we could have gotten.”

Beyond the textbook education of running a business, Ms. Beltrán said the value of the incubator for her was also the introduction of work discipline. “I was dying to have routine,” she said in Paris during the recent fashion season. “I needed to have a more formal business structure.”

Integrating the M.B.A. students and designers has a marked effect on the designers’ language when they talk about their lines now. Ms. Malik refers to her brand’s “DNA” when discussing A Peace Treaty’s identity, which she describes as “global ethnic modern for the contemporary girl.” Ms. Beltrán also uses the same term when talking about Dezso’s look.

Before joining the incubator, Ms. Beltrán knew her company from every angle, but talking about it in a business pitch was stressful for her. That new business language also prepares the designers to present themselves and their brands to potential investors and executives, such as in a recent presentation to Pierre-Yves Roussel, chief executive of LVMH Fashion Group.

Throughout their residency, industry executives are assigned to incubator fellows as mentors to help them identify personal challenges and guide them in developing their businesses.

Shira Sue Carmi, a fashion business consultant, is acting as a mentor and helping Ms. Beltrán streamline Dezso and transition the brand from a casual summer line, which in early designs used materials like leather and sharks’ teeth cast in rose gold, to the high-end luxury market. Mexican bracelets from her first collection retail starting at about $100, and more recent pieces with semi-precious stones retail for up to $95,000.

The C.F.D.A. not only wants to elevate designers’ business operations while in the incubator, but also foster their creativity to continue developing their lines. Through partnerships, designers are granted allowances for travel and funding for business projects. Ms. Beltrán, for example, will shoot a video lookbook in Puerto Rico. A Peace Treaty will travel to Colombia for inspiration for their coming collections.

As the C.F.D.A. prepares to start taking applications in spring for the next generation, Ms. Smilor said it was exploring the possibility of creating a showroom for the designers.

The business development and skills the designers receive in the incubator are fueling more than just their existing brands.

“The idea is that when I leave the incubator everything is under control so that I can take the next step,” Ms. Beltrán said. “But I cannot do just jewelry. My dream is to design a hotel.”

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Newport International Runway Group Latest Trends: Green Is the New Black

With the rise of fast fashion stores like Forever 21 and H&M, clothes and accessories are easier – and cheaper – to come by than ever. And while a pair of $10 jeans and an $8 necklace are hard to pass up, there’s also a dark side to production on such a mass scale – namely, making the fashion industry the third most polluting industry on earth after oil and agriculture.

That’s the likes of why Stella McCartney, G-Star RAW, Loomstate, Bionic Yarn and the manufacturer Saitex have joined forces with the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to revolutionize the fashion industry through Fashion Positive, a new initiative aimed at accelerating innovation in high-quality materials, products and processes to improve how clothes are made across the industry.

The program helps fashion businesses in five categories of sustainability: material health, material reuse, renewable energy, water stewardship and social fairness.

At the initiative’s star-studded Second Annual Innovation Celebration Friday night, Lewis Perkins, senior vice president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, said the program is helping industry leaders create the future of fashion.

“It’s really retooling what we’ve been doing for 150 years, since the industrial revolution” Perkins said. “Now we realize that energy is not cheap and water is not indefinite, and we really have to look at different systems.”

The initiative’s first goal is to create Fashion Positive’s Materials Library of ethical materials and suppliers that other companies can then use to create their own products. Perkins defined this ground-up approach as a “continuous improvement roadmap” for sustainability, which also happens to make money for those involved.

“There’s a big shift that’s occurring, the whole industry has awakened to the fact that it’s wasteful, there’s toxicity, low price points are driving human rights issues, wage issues,” Perkins said. “We have to do something, and the whole industry knows it.”

Investors like Schmidt Philanthropies and the DOEN Foundation are funding the initial challenges associated with finding sustainable souring materials, modernizing manufacturing equipment and ensuring worker safety and healthy work conditions. And, naturally, creating products that are appealing — and sellable – to consumers.

While the issues won’t be solved overnight, the program is hoping to have partnering brands and designers reach the Cradle to Cradle Certified GOLD-level standard by 2016. And what’s more fashionable than that?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Style files: What Makes Tokyo Collection Special by Newport International Runway Group Latest Trends

Events called "fashion week" are held in most of the world's major cities twice a year. Typically, 30 to 100 designer brands - mainly from the host country - spend three to five days holding runway or other fashion shows to unveil the collections and fashion accessories they plan to introduce to the market half a year later.

As the clothes are worn by professional models and presented under special lighting with music, the shows are believed to be the best way to present designers' new looks.

Not all brand names can participate in such events, however. The ones that can are usually those enjoying profits from fairly large operations, since such shows naturally come with a high price tag. Most brands introduce their new styles in an exhibition format, in which clothes are simply hung up for display.

The most famous fashion week is held in Paris, the capital of fashion. The second most important one, in terms of scale and number of participating brands, is in Milan. This is then followed by the fashion week in New York and the one in London. Tokyo Fashion Week rounds out what are called the five largest fashion weeks by people in the Japanese fashion industry.

However, Tokyo Fashion Week, which ended its showing of 2015 spring/summer collections last month, hardly matches up to the other four because it lacks famous brands. Such world-famous Japanese names as Issey Miyake, Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and Sacai do not introduce their new collections in Tokyo but in Paris. Anrealage, which made a name for itself at the Tokyo Fashion Week in recent years, also has moved its collection venue to Paris.

Needless to say, few journalists and buyers come to Tokyo from abroad to see the Tokyo collection. However, many of those who have walked the streets of Tokyo say the city is home to some of the world's most outstanding fashion sensitivity. I find the words are not entirely flattering, though. Simply put, the importance of the fashion week of a city does not necessarily reflect the degree of fashion sensitivity found in its streets.

Let me introduce two collections I thought were very special during the latest Tokyo Fashion Week. They were also very typical of the Tokyo collection.

Lad Musician, designed by Yuichi Kuroda, organised its 40th show during the week.

Lad Musician has always presented shows in a unique manner by, for example, accompanying them with so-called shoegazer rock music typified by guitar effects and creative guitar noises, as well as theatrical smoke.

The latest show had fantastic features, too, thanks to a presentation using laser beams, LEDs and other effects.

The show, held under the theme of the rock band Spacemen 3, actually seemed to be an homage to the shoegazing band that broke up in 1991. Sonic Boom, a former Spacemen 3 member, gave a live performance during the show.

Kuroda designs minimal and simple styles, but the show itself was great entertainment with its music and visual presentation. It can be regarded as a kind of otaku world, but it was as beautiful as fireworks in the summer night sky, if you could forget it was part of the fashion business.

The other impressive show was that produced by Nozomi Ishiguro Haute Couture. It organised the evening fashion festival Kawaii Hate Night at Club Diana in Tokyo's Hibiya district on Oct. 27, which included a runway show.

To attract general audiences, a photo session took place in collaboration with a street snap magazine. A special version of a T-shirt jointly made with the magazine was sold, and a live concert was held.

The main event, of course, was the 2015 spring/summer collection of Nozomi Ishiguro Haute Couture held in cooperation with rock band Flying Dutchman Effect.

Ishiguro, who worked at Comme des Garcons' planning department, advocates designs with a message. According to Ishiguro, Kawaii Hate Night reflects a "hatred for Japanese girls and women who keep using the word kawaii." The remarks sound very Ishiguro, a designer known for a spirit of rebelliousness.

Ishiguro believes it does not mean anything if a designer just makes clothes and then lets models work the runway. He thinks actions and statements must accompany clothes.

His belief might have made the latest festival happen by symbiotically combining the euphoria of a rock festival with a fashion show.

Both Lad Musician and Nozomi Ishiguro are truly unique. Tokyo must be the only city where fashion designers like Kuroda and Ishiguro can proudly show such a personal collection.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Newport International Runway Group Tokyo Fashion: Meet the 8 Anti-Diva Design Stars Who Are Transforming Fashion Now

The fresh green shoots of fashion are gathering in a baking New Jersey cornfield for their generational portrait. Joseph Altuzarra and Danielle Sherman, creative director at Edun, have driven out from their studios in New York City. From London, Simone Rocha, Peter Pilotto, and his design partner, Christopher De Vos, are blinking in the blinding sun. Their London compatriot Jonathan Anderson of J.W.Anderson is looking dazed after landing from Tokyo, direct from the opening of a new outpost of Loewe (his new gig). Anthony Vaccarello has arrived from Paris, Marco de Vincenzo from Rome.

Though it’s up in the 90s out here on the farm, there’s no sign of anyone wilting or complaining. Hanging in the shade of the location truck, they’re behaving true to peer-group form—being sociable, joking, keeping one another going. They’re happy to be here, this hardy crop. They’re the anti-divas, the grounded ones. The children of the crash.

Their background stories could make an economist’s mind boggle. All eight began slap-bang in the carnage of the global financial crisis, sending out their delicious micro-varieties of clothes—colorful, individualistic, well made, and expertly targeted things—into a fashion world that had turned dull and conservative. “What happened with our generation?” Altuzarra is trying to explain how things went right. “We really had to sell those clothes. Because we’ve built these brands during a recession, there is a pragmatic approach to clothing. You have to be unique—be your own brand.”

It’s been less a style movement than a careful infiltration by fresh, creative, business-sensible minds coming from behind the scenes and out of cupboard-size studios in New York, London, Paris, and Rome. Altuzzara vividly remembers starting up in his Manhattan apartment in 2008. “I was at Givenchy, and I thought that if I wasn’t going to do it then, well, when? We opened selling the day after the market crash. Which”—he laughs—“was awesome.”

A fearlessness came into it. Vaccarello says he didn’t feel a moment’s angst when he left Fendi and gambled his livelihood on a tiny collection of five jackets and five swimsuits in Paris in 2009. “It was the perfect time!” he insists. “I’d saved up—I never wanted to borrow from a bank like designers did before—and I knew my customers were waiting.”

What counted vitally was a laser-like instinct for knowing whom you’re speaking to—whether that means Vaccarello and his talent for sexily sliced tailoring or someone like Sherman, his polar opposite, who started her career with Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen as the perfectionist designer of T-shirts at The Row. “Everything I do has to be quite functional and have an integrity and honesty,” she says. A fabric geek, Sherman took a route behind the scenes, where she learned to work closely with local factories, and then to Asia with Alexander Wang. (“I was his twelfth employee!” she boasts.) She’s now quickly upgrading Edun to a polished designer level for New York Fashion Week while building the collection’s ethical production to 85 percent–made in Africa status.

Now aged between 28 (Rocha) and 37 (Pilotto), these crash babies have become adult professionals attracting all kinds of fashion attention amid an upsurge of sponsorship, mentorship, and prizes that arrived to support young designers in the mid-2000s. Altuzarra benefited from winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in New York; Peter Pilotto, Anderson, and Rocha from London’s NEWGEN sponsorship; Peter Pilotto, meanwhile, also won the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund in London. In France, Vaccarello took both the Hyères prize and the Paris ANDAM prize, and in Italy, de Vincenzo emerged through Italian Vogue’s Who Is On Next? competition. It’s made them all much more open to building relationships than the designers who went before. As independents, they’ve been meshed into the culture of publicity-generating collaborations—most recently, Anthony Vaccarello x Versus Versace; J Brand x Simone Rocha; Altuzarra for Target. With Instagram and Web video, they’ve moved even faster.

Rocha, with her sweet-but-tomboyish dresses and Lucite-heeled brogues, and Peter Pilotto, with its mesmerically textural colors, have quietly gathered customers from across the globe—a far cry from the fate of London’s lone-wolf indie designers in the nineties. They get out and travel, learning to calibrate their collections for different climates and cultures—and they’ll never boast about just how successful they have been. Pilotto practically has to have his arm twisted before he admits, “Well, we sell to 200 stores on six continents. There’s only one we don’t sell to—Antarctica!”

This serious, savvy generation has even transformed the attitudes of major luxury-fashion conglomerates, which are suddenly in a flurry of competition to sign them up. Altuzarra is in expansion mode, designing in a renovated office after negotiating a minority investment from France’s Kering group. “Having a partner like Kering, who are able to fold you into their manufacturing capabilities, is something that makes a huge difference,” he says. Anderson, with a new minority investment from LVMH, has moved out of the unheated basement in Shacklewell Lane where he and his stylist Benjamin Bruno froze in the winters; now he’s in a three-story building with an e-commerce studio. In Rome, de Vincenzo is turning out his beautifully elaborate, streamlined clothes with a different kind of LVMH backing: He’d worked as a highly rated Fendi bag designer for ten years before telling the company he was desperate to start his own collection of clothes. “Silvia Fendi was brilliant,” de Vincenzo says. “She said I could stay and have my own studio. I think it is a unique arrangement.” LVMH, Fendi’s parent company, smartly got to keep its star bag designer—and to bet on his future in ready-to-wear on the Milan runway.

Now their talent and knowledge are beginning to be almost as highly valued by the fashion establishment as Premier League footballers are in sport. The analogy works for the 30-year-old Anderson: As he shoulders the dual responsibilities of managing his own brand and being creative director of Loewe, he talks about it in sporting terms. “My dad was an Irish national rugby player. He’s always drilling it into me: ‘It’s all about your team!’ ”

What’s really different about this generation, though, are the family, friends, and loyal stylists around them. “I like growing with the people who know me and support me,” says Vaccarello. Rocha’s mother, Odette, is her business partner. Anderson’s brother, Thomas, is his HR director. Altuzarra’s mother, Karen, is chairman of the board, and Altuzarra’s words stand for the whole group: “I believe in creating this like a family—one that has worked together from the beginning. To me, that’s a beautiful thing.” If there is a common denominator among all these disparate talents, the thing that has taken them all past survival to the point of flourishing, it is their normality, their loyalty. They’re rooted.


Newport International Group Runway

When we talk about fashion, appearance is crucial for obvious reason in the fashion industry. With that in mind, Newport makes and styles a virtual fashion haven with an excellent source of design inspiration.

You don’t have to join the Newport International Group Runway to enjoy it. Casual readers can just browse and search to it. You will discover and share what you find in the Newport by exploring tags, individual people’s spots, popular or recent bookmarks, and popular sites in the Newport. Or, you can simply check out, which covers what trends our editors are seeing emerge in the runway.