Ones to Watch: The Rising Stars of London Fashion Week 2024 February Edition


Susan Fang

The London and Shanghai-based Canadian Chinese designer Susan Fang will unveil a collaboration for the Chinese market with Victoria’s Secret during her fall 2024 runway show on Monday in London.

“I will be styling some pieces from this collaboration into our show on Monday. They work well together, especially with the bras as we have a lot of transparent gowns, and they blend so nicely together as a whole look,” teased Fang.

Following its runway debut, the capsule collection will hit stores across China in April, building up to May 20, a relatively new festive date among the younger generation in China for lovers to showcase their affection for one another as the phrase 520 sounds like “I love you” in Chinese.

For this love-themed capsule, Fang said she is blending her signature use of airy fabric, lace, embroidery, transparent beads, and floral patterns reminiscent of butterflies dancing among plants with Victoria’s Secret’s classic bras and panties.

She is also offering pajama sets with broderie anglais edges and cutwork in shapes of hearts, butterflies and clovers, camisole nightgowns that can be worn on multiple occasions, in addition to T-shirts with a puffy heart wing logo with the handwritten words “Fly with Love,” and outerwear, like a light summer jacket in rainbow gradients.

“I’ve always loved Victoria’s Secret since I was in high school. My desire to design lingerie and pajamas grew a lot after the pandemic, as many around me have been looking for more decorative pajamas as we now spend more time at home. The timing aligned perfectly, as Victoria’s Secret began collaborating with designers last year [starting with Rui] showing strong support for Chinese designers and creativity,” said Fang.

During the development of the capsule, Fang said she was mindful of cost as she wanted “end products to match the same price point with the main collection.”

“Quality was also a key point. It was about finding the most suitable fabrics and the best shape for the female body. We wanted the wearer to feel the joy of intimate wear on multiple occasions. On a personal level, it was a meaningful project for me as they are so experienced in each category and they were very open to experimenting with new ideas,” she added.

On a personal level, the designer believed that the Valentine’s Day theme is “a magical fit” for her as she just tied the knot with her Dyson engineer husband last weekend.

A nominee for the 2019 edition of the LVMH Prize, Fang has been showing as part of the London Fashion Week official calendar since 2022.

The designer has done several showcases during Shanghai Fashion Week in recent years, earning her a slew of honors, like the inaugural Yu Prize and Lane Crawford’s Creative Callout and major collaborations with brands like Zara, Nike, Ugg, Swarovski, and Chinese smartphone maker Oppo. 

Kazna Asker

A closeup of a look from Kazna Asker's FW24 collection.

A closeup of a look from Kazna Asker’s FW24 collection.

Courtesy of Kazna Asker

Kazna Asker is reimagining how fashion brands operate, with community and charity at the forefront of her label. The first designer to present a hijab collection at the Central Saint Martins’ graduate MA show, this season her collection titled “What are we fighting for?” advocates for collectively coming together to stand against adversity.

“Sometimes the pressure gets too much as an individual so it’s all about putting the action behind community,” the designer said.

“My fashion world combines my Yemeni heritage with my British northern upbringing so my collection continues the love letter to Sheffield and Yemen by merging the two worlds — whether that’s through fabrics, silhouettes or colors,” Asker explained. 

“I think this time my collection really explores the power of femininity behind the fight and the strength of the women in my life.”

Using entirely deadstock materials, technical streetwear is fused with traditional woven Middle Eastern upholstery fabrics, and silhouettes are inspired by abayas, hijabs, and jilbabs as well as the tracksuits the designer saw growing up in Sheffield — where she also developed her passion for community work, a key aspect of her brand.

“In the last year, I have worked closely with Reach Up Youth in Sheffield and started a campaign for people-of-color teachers in Sheffield to be treated equally, in which I worked directly with Sheffield City Council. This campaign inspired the development of my film ‘Fight for me, Sheffield’ which I presented in September LFW,” the designer said.

Most recently, Asker collaborated with Spread Salaam to create upcycled football jerseys to raise money for charity organization Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP), raising more than 1,500 pounds for the charity in the last month.

Amber W. Smith

A look from Amber W. Smith's FW24 collection.

A look from Amber W. Smith’s FW24 collection.

Courtesy of Amber W. Smith

Born in rural America and living in London, Amber W. Smith’s brand reimagines her upbringing through her personal aesthetic and values.

Looking to her father, a bowhunter, for inspiration, Smith found beauty in the bow and arrow.

“It’s a beautiful combination of feminine curve and masculine line, and translated that into the silhouette and pattern cutting, eliminating darts to create straight shapes and seeing the volumes and drapes that resulted when worn,” she said.

Odes to archery are in the details, too, with twisted waxed cotton cords that recall bowstrings, archery finger tabs, chest guards and belts.

“As someone who has left rural Midwestern America for a large and expensive city, I was interested in the different class connotations of hunting in the two places and how that is reflected in the garments themselves,” the designer added.

Wool suiting and wool cashmere blends pay homage to the historical hunting clothes of her adopted country, “which are far more aristocratic than my father’s hunting clothes,” said designer.

In a nod to Smith’s personal beliefs (she hasn’t eaten meat for 17 years) a leather jacket from the collection is made from second-hand leather coats that were unpicked, cleaned and conditioned, then re-cut, while a wet felted wool that Smith developed recalled a decaying deer, although she’s quick to add: “No deer were harmed in the making of this collection.”

Srvc

An image from SRVC's FW24 moodboard.

An image from Srvc’s FW24 mood board.

Courtesy of SRVC

Founded in 2021, Srvc sees clothing as an extension of the self: a way to hug and hold, to defend and protect.

Looking to daily morning commutes as inspiration, “I wanted to armor the Srvc woman,” creative director Ricky Wesley Harriot said, adding, “The city can be incredibly harsh, and difficult. I wanted to create a uniform that resonates with our woman, amplifying not only her silhouette but her powerful presence.”

Body-hugging fabrics — cable knits, technical stretch fabrics, denim reworked from vintage and pre-owned jeans — allow the wearer comfort and movement, toeing the line between techwear and tailoring. Composed of a spectrum of grays, the palette is industrial, inspired by the London that Harriot grew up in, filled with tower blocks and concrete.

Echoing that, silhouettes feature strong shoulders and toy with what is — and isn’t — on display.

“Our garments continue to explore self styling and the element of choice so often the silhouettes we propose can be reworked and tweaked to further work for the wearer,” he said.

The idea of diversity and inclusivity embedded in the garments is one that Harriot says he hopes to continue to pursue into Srvc’s future.

Charlie Constantinou

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Charlie Constantinou

Ask Charlie Constantinou about his brand, and his answer is simple: “Adaptability, function and color.” 

For his fall 2024 collection, Constantinou partnered with 66 North in a second collaboration, drawing inspiration from the outerwear brand’s home country of Iceland. Showing womenswear for the first time, the collection considers “How we can dress from the extreme weather in our everyday lives, balancing both the outdoors, the city and adapting in-between,” the designer said.

Zips, cord, and even the textile itself have been reworked in the pursuit of streamlining form and function. 

“This season we have redeveloped our signature expandable quilt into a much lighter but much warmer version featuring recycled down and mineral dye. This textile not only enhances the garment but allows the garment to stretch and shrink between sizes,” Constantinou added.

Using solely deadstock fabric in white or neutral tones, all garments are then dyed in-house, the color palette derived from the blinding whites and frosted blues of Icelandic glaciers and the earthy reds of volcanic rock.



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