#1: Moto Guo


Who’s behind it: Malaysian classical music student-turned-fashion design graduate Guo, who launched his eponymous label in 2015. His clothes, which are meant to be menswear but are spot on the gender-neutral trend, are carried at some of the world’s hippest cult boutiques, including Tokyo’s Wut, Los Angeles’ Please Do Not Enter and e-store www.cuevolution.com. Last year, he was one of the 23 designers shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH Prize.



Its X Factor: Guo’s flair for exaggerated shapes, fabric manipulation and off-kilter styling puts him in the league of arty wunderkinds such as Walter Van Beirendonck and Jacquemus’ Simon Porte. For S/S ’17, which was presented at Milan Fashion Week, oversized, retro-influenced tailoring gets a little boy (or girl) spin with colourful gingham and bows, complete with homey knits.


#2: Aalto


Who’s behind it: Finnish designer Tuomas Merikoski, who previously worked for the menswear studios of Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. He launched this womenswear label in 2014 in Paris, and is part of the new wave of designers reinvigorating the city’s fashion landscape. Stockists now include Opening Ceremony, Hong Kong’s I.T and Harvey Nichols, and Seoul’s Boontheshop – in other words, the multi-label concept stores to be seen at. Did we add he was a LVMH Prize finalist last year?



Its X Factor: Merikoski is obsessed with the youth culture and underground scene of his native Finland, but distils it elegantly into simple, sophisticated tailoring and wardrobe staples. Case in point: For S/S ’17, he plastered prints and embroidered collages of the Moomins – the hippo-like comic characters by famed Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson – onto denim jackets, loafer slides and silk shantung cocktail frocks.


#3: Miuniku


Who’s behind it: Mumbai-based sisters/London College of Fashion alumni Tina and Nikita Sutradhar, who debuted in the F/W ’14 season, only to snag a special award at the LVMH Prize a year later in 2014 (with it came €100,000, or S$151,000, and a year-long mentorship under the fashion conglomerate). Besides Paris’ Le Bon Marche, their collections are carried at trendy Seoul boutique My Boon and Mumbai’s Le Mill, with plans to be sold at Jakarta’s Fou Store in the works at press time.


Its X Factor: They’re India’s answer to Rodarte’s Mulleavy sisters with their love for colour and art, but a whole lot more everyday friendly. Often working with lightweight fabrics like silk satin, poly-crepe and cotton jersey, their look is modern, polished yet youthful, as seen in the abstract, digital-print outerwear, and two-tone pleated skirts and wrap dresses for S/S ’17.


#4: Sies Marjan


Who’s behind it: Brunei-born, New York-based Dutch designer Sander Lak. A critics’ fave since his debut last Spring, his label’s moniker is a portmanteau of his parents’ first names. Aside from formerly heading design at Dries van Noten, Lak cut his teeth at brands like Marc Jacobs, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Balmain. There’s the Vetements connection too: Stylist Lotta Volkova (aka Demna Gvasalia’s right hand) also styles for Lak.


Its X Factor: Lak’s into American sportswear, yet brings a romantic European sensibility to it with his penchant for draping, bright hues and asymmetrical cuts. The clothes appear simple, but boast unexpected details like a double collar or layered sleeves. This season, he builds on the aesthetic with silky draped blouses and iridescent bias-cut slips.


#5: Roberta Einer


Who’s behind it:
Estonian-born designer Einer, who underwent internships at the likes of Balmain (where she was a print and embroidery assistant), Mary Katrantzou and Alexander McQueen, before launching her namesake label a year ago. Her talent had the folks at the British Fashion Council Newgen committee pronouncing her “One-to-watch” in 2015.


Its X Factor: Her flirty streetwear-inspired designs (sold on www.151luwolt.com) are made for the Club Kid/street-style crowd. Think Pop Art patterns and a more-is-more approach to embroidery and embellishment. Her deep interest in traditional Slavic embroidery and knit techniques, coupled with her experience at brands known for needlework, also means that her handmade pieces boast a demi-couture quality.


This story first appeared in Female‘s February 2017 issue.

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