Net-a-Porter’s latest initiative is a mentorship scheme dedicated to nurturing new fashion talent
You're probably already aware that keeping up with fashion trends is a tough gig. Having a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the world's latest drop of ugly sneakers or top-handle bags, and being able to name drop new designers, is true dedication to the field. While avenues for accumulating this information are aplenty, Net-a-Porter's keen eye for the fashion stratosphere makes it a go-to for most when it comes to adopting newfangled looks and discovering collections from emerging fashion labels. And now, leveraging on that expertise in scouting, cultivating and promoting new brands, Net-a-Porter has launched The Vanguard, a program that acts as an incubator and accelerator for fresh fashion talent.
Providing mentorship, advice and marketing support to give these talents long-term success, brands will graduate from the program once their businesses have matured after a few seasons on the site.
"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 program," said Alison Loehnis, president of Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter.
What does this mean for us as consumers? The sheer joy of discovering four new designers each season, and adding their pieces to our burgeoning wardrobe. For this fall/winter season, the inaugural batch is made up of Les Rêveries, RÜH, Gu_de and Souliers Martinez. Here's a sneak peek of what to expect from the class of 2018.
Founded by Sonia Trehan, RÜH is all about refined silhouettes with a grown-up elegance to it — however, its Instagram account is private and its website requires a membership. To create a sense of community and networking, private weekly salons will be held at its New York townhouse from November.
2. LÊS REVERIES
Lês Reveries is a New York-based label designed by sister duo Ai Ly and Wayne Lee — Ly was a designer at Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren; Lee worked as a buyer at Barneys New York. Designed for the modern woman who still daydreams and loves wearing romantic dresses and cosy knits, expect beautiful ruffles, soft florals and backless details.
For timeless, understated bags, look to Korean brand Gu_de — inspired by the '70s, the brand's name is taken from an antiquarian Scottish pronunciation of "good". We love its sculptural shapes, especially those in glossy croc-embossed leather which creates a seamless combination of vintage and luxury.
4. SOULIERS MARTINEZ
Souliers Martinez launched last year, combining classic craftsmanship and modern colours with a tapered toe which instantly elongates the appearance of your legs. Each shoe is made by Spanish artisans using hand-lacing techniques — a traditional skill that is usually passed down from mother to daughter. The intricate weaving process can take up to three days for a pair of thigh high boots.
Shop these emerging labels at Net-a-Porter.