The best new local names in fashion from 2015
As far as local fashion goes, 2015 was a memorable year. From international accolades to standouts in the retail game, these home-grown trailblazers caught our attention.
Auckland-raised designer Georgia Alice Currie received Elle Australia's Best Emerging Designer Award, while the boys of I Love Ugly broadened their horizons with their first foray into jewellery. Harman Grubiša dominated the fashion retail game while Paris Mitchell and Georgia Cherrie broke new ground across e-commerce on an international scale, with the successful vintage boutique The Mercantile. AUT showcased a fresh new collective of forward-thinking young talent at this year's Rookie Show, reaffirming that when it comes to world-class creativity, our fashion folk have still got it in spades.
1. THE ROOKIES: TIA FENG FOR AUT AND JACK CHEN FOR AUT
Each year, AUT showcase the best in class, hosting friends, family and fashion folk at the AUT Rookie Show.
In November, young designer Tia Feng and menswear designer Jack Chen raised the bar. Feng was most recently named one of the top 50 Student Fashion Designers in the World by the Arts of Fashion Foundation in the USA.
Among a sea of budding designers, Tia and Jack stood out, with a sophisticated and refined approach to their respective collections.
Jack's reinvention of the conventional suit, through his strong-lined and sculptural tailoring and Tia's acidic colour palette, textural exploration and wild imagination, saw these promising young designers go above and beyond the brief.
2. THE RISING STAR: GEORGIA ALICE CURRIE
Georgia Alice is a name fast-becoming synonomous with Australasian style. The 26-year-old received top honours at this year's Elle Australia Style Awards, dubbed Best Emerging Artist among a sea of stylish stand-outs. Currie, whose designs are now favoured by style star and musician Solange Knowles, boasts an eye for simplicity and refined structure well beyond her years. Currie's style is clean, muted and paired-back, with her inspired pieces proving wildly popular at local boutiques such as The Black Box and The Department Store here at home. You'd be wise to expect big things from this style maven.
3. THE SORCERESS: THE MERCANTILE
Auckland-raised duo Georgia Cherrie and Paris Mitchell spotted a distinct gap in the market and decided to do what any savvy women would do and rectify it. The duo, each boasting respective fashion backgrounds, represent a Barcelona-meets-Brooklyn aesthetic that falls somewhere between Jane Birkin and Bianca Jagger on the style spectrum. Since, the pair have featured on WWD, Vogue US and Style.com, the holy grail as far as fashion recognition goes. Sourcing unique and eclectic pieces, Mitchell and Cherrie created The Mercantile, an online hub for women with an eye for style and a penchant for vintage gems. They've done all the hunting and stylish scouring so you simply don't have to.
4. THE RETAIL RENEGADES: HARMAN GRUBIŠA
At less than a year old, Harman Grubisa, brainchild of design duo Madeleine Harman and Jessica Grubiša, opened the doors to its Jervois Road flagship boutique in Auckland's Ponsonby, and the rest was history.
Very rarely does a budding fashion brand go straight to retail let alone do so this successfully. With a wealth of industry experience, clear aesthetic and sophisticated style smarts, this duo are yet to look back. Their feminine objective and classic staple pieces hold pride of place within the modern woman's wardrobe.
5. THE MINIMALIST: LUCILLA GRAY
Fresh out of the Massey University graduating class of 2014, Lucilla Gray is one designer who doesn't do things in half measures.
Gray launched her eponymous label with a trail-blazing debut at London Fashion Week earlier in 2015. Boasting a strong, clean-cut yet fluid and feminine approach to womenswear, Gray quickly became a name to remember among international stylists and fashion's elite.
6. THE DYNAMIC DUO: I LOVE UGLY
2015 marked another epic year for Barnaby Marshall and Valentin Ozich of I Love Ugly. The brand were named a finalist in the Quantium Solutions Best Use of E-Commerce Exporter of the Year award at the Air New Zealand Cargo Export NZ Awards Auckland 2015 and placed 5th in this year's Deloitte Top 50, while their first foray into jewellery and accessories proved wildly successful.
Created in 2008 as an homage to art and graphic design, I Love Ugly has since developed into an urban streetwear juggernaut, garnering recognition in urban bibles such as Hype Beast and High Snobriety. The brand is now distributed in 10 countries around the world. Since the 2011 launch of their flagship store in L.A, as well as multiple stores here at home and across the ditch, their streetwear signature continues to go from strength to strength.