London is the place to break into fashion. Topshop's NewGen, Fashion Fringe and Fashion Forward help hot young fashion designers, but only if they are design graduates. So what if you've got a great design and you're not a hot young graduate? Step forward Liberty. In March, the store put out a call to all creative types to attend an open day where they could present a product they have designed, whether furniture, fashion, jewellery, ceramics, craft or fashion accessories to an expert panel. If successful the applicant would get advice and even help to produce their product for sale at Liberty. The Liberty Open Call was just that: anyone could submit an idea whether graduate, farmer or any other profession you can think of! Within days Liberty had 700 applicants and closed the registration process. On Saturday from 6.45 am the queues began.
By 9am they snaked all the way around the store. Forget Susan Boyle, this was Britain's (and a few other nation's) Got Design Talent! In the end over 450 people attended the event: two women came from America (one from Texas with dresses and another from California with stationery), and two from Holland. And the verdict, from panel members including Yasmin Sewell of Liberty, journalist Sarah Mower and Liberty's new buying director Ed Burstell was that Liberty Open Call is an innovative new way to find talent. Here, exclusively, are some of their highlights. Commit them to memory because these design gems are the next big thing.
What we loved:
Roberto Costa Jewellery: long pieces hanging right down the torso with multiple chains, charms and brooches on them.
Christopher Raeburn: menswear using old military parachute fabric. He's worked with Tim Soar for A/W ‘09.
Makepiece: sheep farmer from Yorkshire who makes cardigans from her sheep. (http://www.makepiece.co.uk/)
Tamasyn Gambell: re-worked vintage scarves which she prints over.
Ones to watch:
Sophia Grace: creates jazzy bright coloured heels and is about to intern with Nicholas Kirkwood.
Daisy Knights: amazing jewellery, which Amanda Harlech has already snapped up. (http://www.daisyknights.com/)
To register for the next open call email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Melanie Rickey