Labels to love
The future of fashion (and our wardrobes) looks bright, thanks to a host of exciting new designers. Meet the labels you’ll want to wear
Meet the young designers breathing new life into today’s fashion
‘I had no idea who Margiela was. I barely knew McQueen,’ says Y/Project Creative Director Glenn Martens of his fashion knowledge when he began to study design at the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp a decade ago.
Originally from Bruges, Belgium, he had a degree in interior architecture under his belt but, feeling too young to enter the professional world, decided to give fashion design a go. ‘I went to the interview with a portfolio full of chairs and furniture. I never thought about the fact I would have to sew,’ he says from Y/Project’s Paris studio. He graduated first in his class in 2008, walked straight into a job at Jean Paul Gaultier and also started an eponymous brand, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week in 2012 and ran for three seasons.
It was in 2013 that Martens heard from menswear brand Y/Project, which had been founded by French designer Yohan Serfaty and business partner Gilles Elalouf in 2010. Serfaty passed away, and Elalouf was looking for a new helmsman. After joining, Martens immediately added a womenswear line, and the brand’s profile rocketed. It’s been credited with sparking the sense of revolution that’s currently happening within the industry, alongside fellow French brands such as Vêtements and Jacquemus, all of whom have broken through the strict Parisian system once solely ruled by older, iconic houses.
‘We ask customers to think about what they see,’ Martens says of Y/Project. ‘We ask them what they want to own, and what they want to become.’ The
SS17 collection is full of adaptable pieces (pictured, above and right), in celebration of women in the world. ‘There’s streetwear next to velvet cocktail dresses, next to unisex pieces. We take inspiration from wherever we want, whether it’s subculture or a historical era. It’s an eclectic melting pot.’
The next step for the brand is to add footwear and accessories, but Martens wants to keep the fun factor. ‘I hope people can see that there are a lot of jokes and personality in the clothes. Inside any company, you need fun, or you can’t deal with the stress. Take it easy.’ What better motto to live life by than that? YPROJECT.FR
‘We spent the whole weekend with paint brushes!’ says Cheshire-born Rix, who met McCloskey, from Northern Ireland, while they were studying Fashion Management at the London College of Fashion. ‘We’d never intended Rixo to be a print-heavy brand, but the reaction to our first two prints was so great that we said, “We can actually do this ourselves.”’
Once the prints were placed on their silk ‘Camellia’ dress – a breezy midi-length style with blouson sleeves and side-splits – a sell-out was born, beloved for its dress-up, dress-down versatility. ‘People have got behind the story of the brand and the fact it’s me and Orlagh doing everything from our home,’ adds Rix. ‘It’s not trend-led at all: we want customers to simply see a dress and fall in love with it.’
Rixo has grand plans for the future: an essentials range, handbags, accessories, jewellery and even a concept store are all on the cards. And we don’t doubt for a second that McCloskey and Rix will achieve it all.
Silk blouse, £185, viscose trousers, £155, both Rixo