Finalists LVMH Prize 2023. Story by RUNWAY MAGAZINE. Photo Courtesy: LVMH Prize.
London-born Aaron Esh graduated from Central Saint Martins MA before launching his namesake brand in 2022. Aaron Esh designs contemporary menswear that embraces a modern vision of romance, elegance and chic. Inspired by womenswear and haute couture techniques through a slightly dishevelled lens – curved hems, cropped jackets, wrapped trousers… These details, constructions and silhouettes, traditionally used in womenswear, are juxtaposed with menswear staples, fabrics and finish. Aaron Esh subverts the masculine archetype, showing there can be allure to menswear with softness and elegance – redefining what masculinity means in a wardrobe.
Bettter by Julie Pelipas
Julie Pelipas is a former Fashion Director of Vogue Ukraine, with 15 years of experience in the fashion industry. In addition, she has provided sustainability and creative direction consultancy for numerous brands. In 2019, Pelipas launched Bettter, an upcycling system that operates as a platform with a shared purpose. Bettter reworks dead stock garments and produces inclusive clothes by using customers’ body metrics. Following the war in Ukraine, she launched the bettter.COMMUNITY, working to bring the vibrant creativity of her native country to the wider world and to keep Ukrainian businesses growing. She also acts as Ambassador for the No More Plastic Foundation.
Burc Akyol celebrates exceptionally made clothing, from exceptional fabrics for exceptional moments. Akyol is a French couturier of Turkish descent. As a child, he was introduced to the craft by his father, a tailor. After graduating from l’Institut Français de la Mode in Paris in 2007 and working for several French Maisons, including Christian Dior and Balenciaga, Akyol launched his eponymous label in 2019. Inspired by people he meets, places he travels to, his own mixed heritage and traditional Haute Couture, Akyol focuses on elevated essentials of the wardrobe, with revealing details and black satin framings. Akyol won the prestigious Fashion Trust Arabia Prize 2022.
Diotima by Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott looks to fashion design as a moment of intellectual, aesthetic and corporeal unity to be explored. Having worked at all levels of the design process – from designer to consultant – Scott brings vast technical and creative knowledge to Diotima. Her experience at Costume National laid the groundwork for an approach to fashion rooted in a reverence for craft, construction and fine materials – and, as a Jamaican, her design sensibility grounds her work in the concrete intersection of the historical, political and the aesthetic. With Diotima, Scott confronts, challenges and relates to the complexities surrounding race, gender and our relationship to work and labour.
Luar by Raul Lopez
Luar is the label of Brooklyn-based designer Raul Lopez, co-founder of Hood By Air. Of Dominican descent, Lopez began to design at the age of 12 and growing up was inspired by the fluidity of the downtown New York scene. The philosophy of Luar lies in the intersection of New York City and the Dominican Republic, promoting the constant curiosity of tomorrow. In 2018, Lopez was a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Since then, the popularity of the brand’s signature Ana Bag has won Lopez a 2022 nomination for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s American Accessory Designer of the Year, as well as being included in TIME Magazine’s 2022 “Next 100” List.
Magliano was founded by Luca Magliano in 2017, and is based in Bologna, a symbol of Italian libertarian movements and class struggle: the city is celebrated as a paradigm of both ethics and aesthetics. In 2018, Pitti Uomo hosted the brand’s debut show, a collection that highlighted an idea of personal elegance, by now deep-rooted: luxury is nothing more than a gesture. Much of the brand imagery is nurtured by the concept of the “provincia”, a widespread system of dramatic landscapes and peripheral areas where people speak vernacular languages and where magic realism happens. Magliano imbues menswear fundamentals with a dark, off-beat and dishevelled attitude to make it a natural genderless code. The design is minimal yet chaotic, the tone quintessentially Italian.
Paolina Russo and Lucile Guilmard
Paolina Russo is a London-based brand founded by Paolina Russo and Lucile Guilmard. The brand is a rose-tinted supercut of Russo’s suburban upbringing in Canada, and Guilmard’s French folklore references. Memories of youth sports teams and DIY arts-and-crafts projects permeate the brand’s avant-garde garments. Since completing a BA and MA at Central Saint Martins, receiving the L’Oréal Creative Young Talent Award and establishing a multi-project collaboration with Adidas, Russo and Guilmard have been increasingly defined by considered craftsmanship, sustainability and innovation in textile development. The brand is a finalist in the 2023 International Woolmark Prize, as well as part of 1 Granary’s support and mentorship programme.
Quira by Veronica Leoni
The way Veronica Leoni approaches fashion is thoughtfully raw, direct, and soulful.
She nurtured her reflective side studying literature in Rome while London’s visual and subcultural richness shaped her instincts. From her debut at Jil Sander to her years at Céline, including her creative direction at 2 Moncler 1952, her vision has always been crystalline and sharp. Quira is her solo endeavour, named after her seamstress grandmother, Quirina. Sentimental value is woven into the creative fabric of the brand. Quirina is where Veronica Leoni’s path started and Quira captures that ever-present sentiment into a tangible form.
Setchu by Satoshi Kuwata
Satoshi Kuwata, the founder of Setchu, has travelled extensively, gathering a unique know-how in the field of visual traditions. Having lived in Kyoto, Paris, Milan, London and New York, he developed a unique approach to elegance and a profound knowledge and respect for different cultures and crafts in all shapes and forms. His style philosophy has been sharpened by working in international design studios as well as a creative director. A career that saw him collaborating with Givenchy, Edun, Kanye West, and Gareth Pugh – while developing an eye for sharp tailoring at institutions like H.Huntsman and Sons on Savile Row in London. He wants Setchu to showcase serene, elegant designs for an active lifestyle to be enjoyed outdoors.