Every time London Fashion Week rolls around, we’re reminded just how groundbreaking the creativity, talent and art coming out of the city really is. From Ashish’s politically charged sequin extravaganza and Molly Goddard’s effervescent tulle partywear through to Caitlin Price’s luxe sportswear and Burberry’s thoroughly British tailoring, the capital fosters creativity and produces some of the most exciting designers around.
Two women who see this first-hand are Sarah Mower and Tania Fares. Mower is chief critic at American Vogue, a journalist, visiting professor at Central Saint Martins and the chair of the BFC’s NEWGEN selection committee. Fares cofounded the BFC Fashion Trust, a not-for-profit interdisciplinary hub that mentors talented young designers, and is a British Vogue contributing editor. So it’s fair to say these women are at the epicentre of discovering and supporting British design talent.
To add to their respective accolades, Mower and Fares have paired up to create a new Phaidon title, London Uprising: Fifty Fashion Designers, One City. Going behind the closed doors of the city’s creative scene, the book delves into the community of contemporary designers who have positioned London at the centre of the fashion world. From the homes-cum-workspaces of East End start-ups to spacious West End showrooms, the publication is the first to map the talent that has grown in the city over the past 15 years.
Taking us to the studios of London’s most renowned designers, we’re granted access to the practices and philosophies of a multigenerational, multinational fashion community. The designers featured in the book include Jonathan Anderson, Victoria Beckham, Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, Charlotte Olympia, Molly Goddard, Ashish Gupta, Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, Roksanda Ilincic, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Sibling’s Cozette McCreery and Sid Bryan, Erdem, and Osman Yousefzada.
So why now? “The book has been a few years in the making, and that’s because we wanted to get it right; with the best contributors, the right mix of designers and photography, the most beautiful inspirational design – the little details,” Fares told Refinery29. “The publishing has just so happened at a time when a spotlight is being shone on the industry, and it’s more important than ever to celebrate and support our designers and their creativity.”
It is easy to forget fashion’s £26 billion contribution to the UK economy, or the fact that it provides nearly 800,000 jobs. This, entwined with the cultural importance of London’s creative output, is what inspires Fares: the designers “are the ones that drive things forward, both artistically and commercially, their contribution is felt not just in fashion but in society.”
The book brims with the brilliance of London’s creative talents, but who is Fares championing right now? “My particular favourites of the moment are palmer // harding and Eudon Choi, plus the wonderful style of Huishan Zhang with his playful, bold yet feminine pieces. Like the Fashion Trust, London Uprising was brought to life to uncover and showcase great talent.”
With an introductory essay by Mower, interviews are conducted by some of fashion’s most lyrical writers, including Lisa Armstrong, Tim Blanks, Lucy Yeomans, Susie Lau, Justine Picardie and Alexandra Shulman, while photographers Kevin Davies, Tara Darby, David Hughes and Christopher Brooks shot the designers in their studios, surrounded by personal ephemera, catwalk looks and their work.
A look into the dynamic, exciting and enterprising world of London’s creativity, this book is an important record in the history of fashion.