Photo: Instagram @ashleywilliamslondon/Rex Features
As 2014 draws to a close, we can’t help but get just a little bit excited about the new season. And what better way to get ourselves in the 2015 spirit than celebrating a new wave of designers on the brink of super-stardom?
Yep, we’re talking about the latest recipients of NEWGEN sponsorship, the initiative sponsored by Topshop that has championed the likes of Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, J.W.Anderson and Mary Katrantzou, to name but a few. The British Fashion Council announced the winners in early December, but we’re getting excited about two in particular.
Let us introduce you to the names you may have heard about, but who look set to do even bigger things next year. First up is Ashley Williams, BFF to the London cool gang, including Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof. Graduating from the University of Westminster in 2012, Ashley counted Pixie and Alice Dellal among the models in her graduate catwalk show.
And it seems having a Chanel model show off your clothes is pretty handy, as Ashley is now a hot ticket at London Fashion Week, thanks to three seasons with Fashion East, and now her very own NEWGEN catwalk. Her kitsch, cartoon prints are stocked in 6 countries, and she collaborated with Selfridges to produce a denim line. Plus, Rihanna sparked a frenzy when she wore an Ashley Williams, hand-print trouser suit during her 777 tour. Now that’s what we call endorsement.
The second label we’re firmly keeping our eye on is Marques’ Almeida, the Portuguese duo who moved to London in 2009 to join the prestigious MA course at Central Saint Martins. Marta Marques got her work experience at Vivienne Westwood, while Paulo Almeida started at Preen. It wasn’t long before the two joined forces and began perfecting their relaxed, deconstructed aesthetic. We’re talking distressed denim, frayed edges and some seriously cool frocks.
The pair recently won a British Fashion Award for Emerging Womenswear Designer, and also created one of the most covetable collections for Topshop we’ve seen. In fact, some of the pieces are still available in the sale- we’ve already snapped up the cap sleeve denim tee!
We won’t have to wait very long to witness the AW15 offerings from these labels, either, seeing as fashion week kicks off in February. We know which FROWs we’ll be making a beeline for. Keep your eyes peeled, because we predict that 2015 will be a very good year for both Ashley Williams and Marques’ Almeida. You heard it here first.
By Hannah Banks-Walker