From Erdem to Molly Goddard, a sense of escapism prevailed on the catwalks in London this season. Even when designers brought the fashion set on trips to breathtaking dreamscapes, they also addressed pressing issues such as climate change, which provided an impetus for designers to explore ways they can reduce fashion’s impact on the environment. Amidst the doom and gloom, however, several up-and-coming designers provided an extra special spark that reiterated London’s standing as a hotbed for creativity.


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Richard Quinn SS20 show

To say that Quinn’s star is on a meteoric rise is an understatement. Since he launched his namesake label three years ago, the 29-year-old has made great strides with accolades under his belt to prove it: He won the H&M Design in 2017 and scored the biggest coup of his career by clinching the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design (the Queen was even in attendance to present him the award). For spring/summer 2020, Quinn stuck to his guns and crafted a collection that evoked the magic of haute couture. His imagination took flight in a series of puffy-sleeved dresses and feathered gowns—all rendered in dramatic floral prints and silhouettes.


Bovan began conceptualising his spring/summer 2020 collection by first examining notions of workwear and uniform, then injecting a Sci-fi twist to the clothes. The result? A selection of bomber jackets, motocross-style pants and patchwork gowns that married his boundary-pushing aesthetic with the value of craft. The other highlight of his show? Those out-of-this-world headpieces that have also gotten the most traction on Instagram. Crafted by milliner Stephen Jones from rectangular pieces of lenses reportedly used in surgery, the box-like distorted the faces of the models to comical and bizzare effect.


Launched in 2000, Fashion East is an initiative that provides emerging designers with resources to grow their labels. The programme also gives them the opportunity to showcase their collections on the catwalk, thereby thrusting their names into the global spotlight. This season, the honours went to Central Saint Martins graduates Gareth Wrighton and Wang Yuhan. The former centred his collection around the perils of the Internet, which gave birth to slogan t-shirts, dresses and knits that blurred gender lines. Wang, on the other hand, redefined traditional ideals of beauty with a melange of romantic dresses coloured in the softest and sweetest of hues.