Wednesday, June 12, 2013


By Guest Contributor

Emerging British Designers

Design by Kelly Shaw (Photo courtesy of the designer)

London is renowned as the capital of fashion and design. It never fails to produce exceptional talent and the latest wave of young designers on the scene do not disappoint. Three names in particular are sure to continue winning applause and recognition over the coming months. Petra Metzger, Kelly Shaw and Christopher Raeburn are all British graduates, working in the capital at the moment and producing innovative, cultural designs. Watch them as they emerge as leading forces in their field.

Petra Metzger is definitely one to watch. She graduated from Central Saint Martin`s College of Art and Design, London in 2009 and has worked for Marc Polo, Peter Jensen and Kulture as well as earning recognition in fashion competitions run by Topshop and Louis Vuitton. Metzger is a designer of extremes and contrasts. Earlier collections included beautiful, ethereal, cloud-like dresses in white organza. They blurred rather than defined the silhouette with a suggestive sexiness in multi-layers of soft fabric. Her most recent Autumn/Winter 12 collection, however, is strikingly different. Inspired by Muslim women, here her dresses are stark black with ultra-sharp lines, clean cut and minimal in black wool and PVC with blocks of orange on delicate white muslin. The coordinating burka inspired head pieces are head turners with attitude. It is no surprise that her ideal muse is the strong, sexy and, above all, powerful Grace Jones in her 1980s heyday.

Shapes of Revolution Petra Metzger (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Kelly Shaw is a talented and politically inspired young British designer whose Autumn / Winter 13 women`s wear collection features bold statements which challenge the public to wake up to the world around them. Her work is a direct challenge to those who accept the norm, the status quo. "If You Stand For Nothing You Will Fall for Anything" proclaims one dress. Others declare `Money, money, money must be funny in a rich man`s world,` It is a quiet protest though. Unlike Katherine Hamnet`s 1980s T-shirts which shouted their messages in bold black on white, those of Kelly Shaw are more subtly stated in softer colours. They are thought provoking, funny and full of romantic charm. Her latest collection is influenced by the Occupy movement which she says achieved a great deal to draw the public`s attention to corruption amongst the rich and the powerful. She also credits it with raising her own awareness of the domination of money over style in the fashion business and of giving her the confidence to challenge this through her work. Hers is fashion for the politically aware.

A graduate from the University of East London, Kelly`s previous collections featured childlike, over-sized silhouettes, with lots of petticoats. They referred both to the past and to the present and were not clothes to ignore. How could you not engage with the slogan `Today is Boring?` Whether you agree or disagree, it is guaranteed to provoke a reaction. Her latest collection is similarly thoughtful; dreamy, romantic designs, in beautiful midnight blues and all with that same mischievous urge to provoke and challenge.

Photo courtesy of Kelly Shaw

Photo courtesy of Kelly Shaw

Christopher Raeburn is another very exciting young and ethically aware British designer, who produces both men and women`s wear and accessories. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Raeburn makes intelligent and sustainable fashion and likes to up-cycle military fabrics sourced from the UK and the rest of Europe. His designs have used ponchos, tents, battledress and parachutes and are always strikingly innovative. For example one of his latest designs is the Pop Out Parka which, through its fiendishly clever cut, can be separated into two jackets or function together as one. Like Kelly Shaw, his work references the past. This year`s collection, for example, was inspired by Maunsell Sea Forts that were built to protect London during the Second World War and many of his designs feature prints of 1960s maps of the area. It was his outerwear made from decommissioned parachutes which first brought him to the attention of the media and he continues to intrigue with his latest collection of re-appropriated military fabrics. Innovative clothes proudly remade in England! Watch Christopher Raeburn as he brings sustainable, ethical and intelligent fashion to a wider public.

Christopher Raeburn, AW13 (Photo courtesy of

Christopher Raeburn, SS13 (Photo courtesy of

Petra Metzger, Kelly Shaw and Christopher Raeburn would all no doubt appreciate the slogan of fellow fashion label Earnest Sewn, `Products Sewn in Earnest!` This US fashion label, beloved by many celebrities, might not hail from Britain but it certainly shares the same passion for authenticity and detail that is seen in so many young British designers today.

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