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“I honestly didn't want to have my own brand,” Louise Lyngh Bjerregaard tells us over Zoom from her Paris-based atelier. A close alumni of both Eckhaus Latta and Anne Sofie Madsen, the CSM-graduate honed her craft and developed an obsession with textiles and meticulous attention to details while working on ten or more internships. “I saw the realness of what it takes to build an emerging brand without money and I didn't really want to do it,” she adds with a smile. Despite this first-hand fear experience, Louise had long created under own name so launching her eponymous brand was inevitable when she couldn’t find the position she longed for. In reaction to rejection, the Louise Lynn Bjerregaard atelier was born and the industry took notice, even before the designer herself was quite ready to acknowledge what she’d built. “I still didn’t see Louise Lynn Bjerregaard as a brand, it was more of a mental outlet because I really love making clothing and the storytelling it entails.”
In 2020, Louise was recognized as being a part of “The Young Artistic Elite” and received the Danish Art Foundation’s 2 year working grant, which enabled Louise to make her runway debut during couture week in Paris in July 202, before making her debut digitally on-schedule in August 2021 as a part of Copenhagen Fashion Week. Later last year, the brand was shortlisted as finalist at the 2021 Zalando Sustainability Award and the 2021 Magasin du Nord Fashion Prize. Today it’s more than a brand, it’s an atelier that works across seasons blurring the boundaries between ready-to-wear and couture. Now, more than ever, independent talents are able to cultivate their own spaces and define their own approach.
Similarly, Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena continue to cultivate their own humour and glamour-lined path from their south London-based studio. After graduating from CSM, the dynamic duo set up their own conscious brand juxtaposing folklore and sportswear with a concentration on sustainability and craft. Quickly,everyone-in-the-know started wearing their long pleated skirts and puff-sleeved dresses that explored their Bulgarian heritage. While continually expanding the Chopova Lowena universe on their own terms, they haven’t compromised their artistic ethos. “It is not about being the best out of your class or whatever, the best of the show,” Emma told 1Granary in a recent feature that explores the realities of owning a brand, “it’s about having a good product that are going to sell.”
Just six months after their acclaimed CSM MA 2018 collection, Laura and Deanna Fanning made their London Fashion Week debut and marked an exciting new chapter in the Kiko Kostadinov label, the launch of womenswear. Since its acclaimed spring/summer 19 debut, the Fanning sisters have cultivated a synergistic counterpart to the menswear line, which was launched by its eponymous designer back in 2016. United by an emphasis on pattern-cutting and uniforms, Kiko, Laura and Deanna are continually pushing possibilities and igniting imaginations in this collaborative brand that houses a mutual passion for sartorial innovation and experimentation. “We want people to take away a sense of alchemy,” the sisters told LN-CC after their first collection, and alchemy perfectly sums up the shared practice of this exciting trio, blending each of their distinct voices, visions and talents into one persuasive and powerful statement. For spring/summer 22, the Fannings presented one of their most personal collections to date as the sun-kissed transitional wardrobe remembered their balmy Australian summers. Kiko Kostadinov demonstrates the power of pure collaboration. We’re stronger together!
Since its inception, Isa Boulder has continually pushed Balinese craftsmanship and challenged definitions of ‘sexy’ and sustainability from the inside out. After graduating from her CSM womenswear BA, Jakarta-born Cecilia ‘Lia’ Basari moved to Bali and was soon introduced to Yuli Suri, an experienced hand in Bali’s garment production scene. As the pair became friends and began to explore the island’s craft community, a local production company began laying off staff and they decided to take on the seamstress and launched Isa Boulder. “The catalyst for Isa Boulder was our love of craft and the camaraderie working with our colleagues who are as obsessed about making clothes and using it as a medium to express our art,” they recall over email. For spring/summer 20, Isa Boulder began as an unconventional line of “awkwardly sexy” ruched satin swimwear that face-slapped the male gaze, quickly established cult status and took over our Instagram feeds. “When we design, there is almost this rebellious streak and intention to design against what men would typically find sexy,” Lia explained during its launch. Their unique combination of form-fitting styles, contouring open-knit designs celebrate a balance between ethical craftsmanship and contemporary aesthetics, while showcasing the power of small-scale production. Isa Boulder only looks forward. “As long as our team remains intact and equally motivated and inspired, I’m sure we will be able to create more and more exciting pieces,” they add over email. These words resonate with all four brands celebrated here and ring true with any independent talents. Fashion’s future is safe in these hands.