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NEWGEN Celebrates 30 Years!

NEWS | Sept 14, 2023

Each year, in the lead-up to London Fashion Week, we eagerly look forward to the shows of emerging designers nurtured by the British Fashion Council's NEWGEN initiative. These talents have been diligently preparing for weeks, and now, on the eve of this year's London Fashion Week, they are poised to step into the spotlight and present their artistry to fans and critics alike.

By Shayma Salah

NEWGEN was established by the BFC in 1993, to support the best fashion design talent in the UK, with aims to build creative, responsible businesses for the future. It has helped nurture the careers of hundreds of designers and businesses, launching many of them onto the international stage.

Cast your mind back to 1993, when Lee McQueen had just presented his first collection after graduating from Central Saint Martins titled "Taxi Driver". The collection, which shook the fashion scene with its rebellious spirit, was later lost outside a nightclub soon after being debuted. Today, the collection is part of the latest landmark exhibition to open at London’s Design Museum.

For its 30th anniversary, NEWGEN’s rich history and London as a fashion powerhouse of creativity is celebrated in REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion. Coinciding with the start of London Fashion Week, the exhibition is sponsored by Alexander McQueen, who also made headlines this week since it was announced that Sarah Burton would be stepping down as creative director. Opening on the 16th of September, the major exhibit will honour the work and impact of over 300 pioneering NEWGEN designers.

Featuring close to 100 individual pieces, these designers have each revolutionised the industry, by offering a fresh perspective through championing and reimaging history and heritage, spearheading more sustainable practices and breaking the norms around what contemporary fashion is and means.

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Marjan Pejoski’s ‘swan’ dress, worn by Björk at the 2001 Oscars, quickly became one of the most iconic red-carpet looks in history as well as the stand-out display of the exhibition, marking the first time that this perennial dress will be displayed publicly in the UK since its first appearance 22 years ago.

Alongside Pejoski’s dress, a version of Sam Smith’s divisive, inflated latex suit by current NEWGEN recipient HARRI, which caused a storm at the 2023 BRIT Awards; and S.S.Daley’s whimsical collection worn by Harry Styles in his music video ‘Golden’ are on display. Visitors get a chance to see Daley’s original floral Oxford Bags trousers — tailored from upcycled curtains — as well as other pieces skillfully cut from fabric donated to fashion schools across the UK by Alexander McQueen.

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REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion will also play host to an array of films, drawings, memorabilia and never-before-seen archive material that The Design Museum has worked closely with the designers to meticulously select. Notable brands such as Bianca SaundersJ.W. AndersonMolly GoddardSaul Nash and Kim Jones are to be featured.

To mark the monumental display former NEWGEN recipients, AhluwaliaChristopher KaneErdemGiles DeaconHalpernMary Katrantzou and ROKSANDA have donated signature prints for limited edition tote bags in seven distinct colourways and designs. All unique in their own ways, each of the designs is perfect for those wanting a maximalist addition to their wardrobes. Christopher Kane's designs showcase an elaborate floral motif, while Ahluwalia's tote employs an almost mesmerising optical illusion technique.

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Each stand-out design comes in two sizes, with the large retailing for £70 and the small £40, all available to purchase from The Design Museum, Harrods, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fenwick, Machine-A and Bags of Ethics. For every purchase, a small donation is made to the British Fashion Council Foundation, through their charity partner, Bags of Ethics.

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