Fashion East gives platform to emerging designers Charlotte Knowles, Yuhan Wang and ASAI
Futuristic lingerie and deconstructed army uniforms featured in the Spring Summer 2019 runway show by Fashion East, a non-profit initiative that showcases the work of emerging design talents.
Fashion East presented the work of three Central Saint Martins alumni for its showcase during London Fashion Week; Charlotte Knowles, Yuhan Wang and ASAI all showed their designs in a catwalk show in Covent Garden.
South London-based designer Charlotte Knowles aimed to create a combination of "female-gaze eroticism" and sci-fi computer games in her collection, which featured checked cutaway bodysuits and dresses suspended on toggle ropes.
A highlight included a fanny-pack-inspired top, which she pieced together from halter-neck bikinis and printed mesh slips.
"Nostalgia-inducing and quintessentially British hackneyed prints are reimagined throughout the collection on hyper-feminine yet utilitarian pieces," said Fashion East.
"Youthfully dainty florals verge on twee, plaids are updated, grids vary in scale, some appear spray painted, in addition to a trippy and distorted lionfish print that runs throughout."
Inspired by period portraits of regency women and the forms of traditional Chinese garments, Yuhan Wang combined traditionally Asian aesthetics with Western tailoring in her collection of ethereal clothes.
"People always have a curiosity about what happens behind the curtain and I see that as a metaphor about the body, the way we dress and the story behind it," said Wang.
"The dialogue between a woman and her self and the way she appears in private – it is her inner universe expressed in the outside world," she explained.
The collection by ASAI, a label fronted by London designer A Sai Ta, explores the British-Chinese-Vietnamese designer's identity as a second-generation immigrant through the lens of war.
Featuring camouflage prints made to resemble deconstructed army uniforms and bags in the shape of nunchucks, the first part of Ta's collection is punctuated with bullet holes and silver thread.
But later on, the garments take on a colourful hue with tie-dye polyester and patchwork hand-painted jeans in acid-orange, fuchsia and turquoise.
"We’re ascending through to some kind of afterlife. All those past horrors have now been left behind. She finally finds peace as the dragons, waves and clouds of Vietnam’s legends run wild," said Fashion East.
"Smashed chinoiserie porcelain jewellery made by Claire Barrow accompanies these blue and white human vases. We’re all children of the Dragon King now."
Founded in 2000 by Lulu Kennedy, Fashion East has given a start to many leading fashion designers, including JW Anderson, Gareth Pugh, Simone Rocha and Gosha Rubchinskiy.
Each season, a select number of designers are chosen by a panel of industry experts, who offer mentorship, a bursary and a fully-produced runway show.
London Fashion Week took place across several locations between 14 and 18 September.
Meanwhile, at the event's New York counterpart, Calvin Klein played footage from iconic shark thriller Jaws at part of its Spring 2019 show, while new fashion brand A.Human exhibited its otherworldly assortment of skin growths.