Right Brain, Left Brain | The Making of Pattern

Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators | Source: Phaidon

Today, BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed kicks off Right Brain, Left Brain, a new column on his observations at the intersection of business, creativity, and the global fashion industry.

LONDON, United Kingdom — In 2006, when I first started exploring the fashion industry, there was one book that became my bible. It wasn’t a book about the fashion business. It was a book called Sample, published by Phaidon, which showcased 100 emerging fashion designers from around the world, as selected by a panel of 10 fashion luminaries. Of course, there were many other resources one could have tapped into to learn about the fashion industry, but this was the book I found myself turning to over and over again with wonderment.

Indeed, it was through these pages that I first got to know some of the world’s top design talents and their processes, as seen through some of the sharpest creative eyes in the business. I was a fashion outsider and, at the time, so many of the names on the panel were new to me. I now look up to them as role models to learn from. Alexander McQueen for his clarity of creative vision and precise aesthetic. Tim Blanks for his knowledge of fashion history and the way his words always arrive at a beautiful kernel of fashion insight. And Walter van Birendonck, for his creative confidence, and the rigour with which he mentors his students at Antwerp’s prestigious Academy of Fine Arts. Between them, the 10 curators selected designers like Olivier Theyskens, Nicolas Ghesquière, Kim Jones, Rick Owens, Phoebe Philo and Raf Simons; in other words, the designers who have defined the last decade of fashion.

Six years later, its pages slightly tattered, the book continues to be a regular source of inspiration. So, last year, when Phaidon contacted me about being one of the curators for their next book on young designers, I was genuinely gobsmacked, and hugely honoured.

More than 18 months later, the result is Pattern. My esteemed co-curators and I have written, in our own words, about some of the most exciting young talents working in fashion today. When thinking about my own picks, I wanted to spotlight a group of global, creative young fashion talents who are also building brands and businesses that are built to last. All of them are designers we have featured on BoF over the past five years, in one way or another.

Some are well-known, and already have sizable businesses like Scott Sternberg the creator of Band of Outsiders, inaugural gown wunderkind Jason Wu, and Nicholas Kirkwood, who was just named the winner of the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund award. Some are on the cusp of breaking through, like Joseph Altuzarra and Guillaume Henry. Others are very early stage emerging talents like Thomas Tait, Huishan Zhang and Dion Lee, who have already developed very strong points of view despite being so young in their careers. One, Flaminia Saccucci, is a designer who wowed me at her Central Saint Martins graduation show and then promptly joined Riccardo Tisci’s team at Givenchy. And there is, of course, digital impresario Gareth Pugh, who is notable for his innovative use of digital projections and films to promote his precise, futuristic point of view.

In the hands of talents like these, the future of the fashion business looks bright for the next decade to come.

Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators is available now in Europe and on February 5 in the United States and Canada.