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5 emerging designers to watch in 2020, from conceptual tailoring by Peter Do, to subversive Amish dresses by Batsheva

5 emerging designers to watch in 2020, from conceptual tailoring by Peter Do, to subversive Amish dresses by Batsheva

Going up

Text: Gordon Ng


Boy, is it hard to keep track of all the new and upcoming designers in fashion, but here are five noteworthy names worth keeping your eye on in the year ahead.

Peter Do

New York designer Peter Do has been quietly but surely gaining traction with his minimalist lines and smart designs. He's got a great hand with sharp tailoring, and many of his pieces fit perfectly into the wardrobe of a busy woman who wants fashion without the fuss. His work hit the spotlight when stylist to Zendaya, Roach Law, dressed her in a full Peter Do outfit — starring his signature tailored bolero and asymmetric pleated skirt. Also look out for his signature 'Spacer' fabric, a sheer, spongy material developed exclusively by and for the brand, which marries structured lines and a tactile softness.

 

Commission

Commission — also a New Yorker — comes from three first-generation Asian immigrants, Huy Luong, Dylan Cao, and Jin Kay. The brand takes inspiration from working moms in the '80s and '90s, drawing from the pan-Asian style tropes that were birthed from nascent globalisation. The result is a design language that trades in east-meets-west, with boxy shirts and tailoring, bold prints, and a naive sensuality. The brand was picked up by Net-a-Porter as part of its Vanguard program to support and promote emerging fashion designers. Commission is available exclusively on the e-tailer, so shopping for it is a breeze.

 

Telfar

Telfar Clemens isn't exactly new or undiscovered, but his Shopping Bag had a moment of ubiquity last year. Suddenly, it seemed, everyone cool was toting one — and not cool in a *cough* whitewashed, gifted-to-influencers way, but rather because it was on the arms of real people. It's representative of the inclusive conceptual ground that Clemens designs from, and of the brand's ethos of carving out space in the fashion world for audiences who have been left out. It helps, of course, that the bag is stylish, functional, and sells at a price far below most luxury designer goods. It's got the utility and unfussy smarts that made something like Proenza Schouler's PS1 satchel an It bag in the 2010s. Their next growth spurt post-bestseller will be fascinating to watch.

 

Batsheva

Possibly the only thing more subversive than sexiness today is deliberate unsexiness. That's the idea behind Batsheva, a young label launched by former lawyer Batsheva Hay, at least. The brand found its footing when Hay had a vintage dress remade, and from it, her interest in conservative Hasidic dressing flourished. As in, long sleeves, full skirts, little to no skin showing. After Vogue's digital creative director wore a Batsheva dress to a Calvin Klein show, the designer soon got picked up by Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, and Erykah Badu. As fashion's conversation around feminism continues, Batsheva's experimentation with the conservative end of sexuality and modesty will appeal to (and challenge the conventions of) many.

 

Totême

For the ultimate in Scandinavian cool — think of the Swedish and Danish street style set — one need look no further than blogger Elin Kling. Thankfully, she's managed to distil all that chic minimalism into Totême, a brand she launched with her husband Karl Lindman in 2014. Think of Totême as a new generation A.P.C, with easy ready-to-wear that glues any modern wardrobe. It's the sort of upscale casual, everyday clothing that has found itself among the staples of editors and fashion bloggers alike. A good seasonless investment might be their jeans, which are modeled after a vintage fit. They're some of the most flattering (and comfortable) around.

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