It is a little known fact that way back in 2000 when Fashion East was still a great idea without a name, it was little old me that came up with the name"Fashion East". I was at a meeting with the PR's of The Truman Brewery, and being a die-hard east london fashion girl about Hoxton (we didn't call it Shoreditch then) it seemed only right that if the publishers of The Face called themselves Emap East then this should be called Fashion East. Back then it was the Truman Brewery's owners, the Zeloof brothers, specifically Ofer Zeeloof, who wanted to help some of the talented young designers lliving and working in the area. Many of the designers rented space at the labyrinthine Truman Brewey and it was Ofer Zeloof and his then girlfriend Lulu Kennedy, (now queen of Fashion East), who were the driving forces. I was on the selection panel for Fashion East for a few years back then, and have always been immensely proud of the designers it has shepherded from obscurity into the limelight. These include Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, Roksanda Ilincic, Michael van der Ham and Gareth Pugh.Sticking around long enough to seeing these guys and gal grow from stressed out first-timers into internationally known designers is one of the joys of this job.
Lulu announced the new Fashion East line-up today, and its looking real good. Simone Rocha, yes she is John Rocha's daughter, has been a confident and impressively professional designer from her St Martins days and is dedicated to her craft. Judging by the pedigree of the other two designers, catwalk newcomers both, this show will be a home run. Check them out, below.
Elliot Atkinson SS11 collection
Atkinson gained a BA in womenswear at Edinburgh College of Art, where he received the Waterman Fashion Illustration prize. Atkinson describes his signature as “tough but feminine, sexy yet nonchalant” and his debut collection was snapped up by Browns Focus. Tailored clothes use fine, luxurious materials; delicate fabrics are punctuated by tougher textures such as metal fastenings, hardware, leather and shearling. For AW11, eclectic influences include ritualistic body piercing, Native American culture and the Scottish Highlands.
Simone Rocha SS11 collection
For AW11, Simone has been inspired by her Portuguese family portraits from the 1920's, and Louise Bourgeois’ metal and textile sculptures. She is exploring new textures and fabrics and introducing knitwear to her collection for the first time. Her AW11 show will be styled by Celestine Cooney, fashion director at Twin.
James Long SS11
Long is launching his new womenswear line at Fashion East. This decision follows the high demand for his menswear pieces from buyers and female fans. His debut collection fuses gypsy and grunge with Arran style tasselled knits, layered to create a punk mountain style look. Ecru, camel, chestnut and midnight base notes are injected with sharp colour accents. 1970s gowns are teamed with alpaca knitwear, boucles with macramé detailing.
Long debuted in 2007 at MAN, the Topman and Fashion East menswear initiative, to glowing reviews and support from leading figures Alister Mackie, Creative Director at Another Man and Style.com’s Tim Blanks. Long has gone on to become a NEW GEN‐MEN award favourite and consultant for leather specialist Jitrois.