Counting the likes of JW Anderson, Wales Bonner and Martine Rose in its illustrious alumni, Fashion East is a London Fashion Week show that’s not to be missed.
Founded by Lulu Kennedy over 20 years ago, the talent incubator hosts promising young designers season after season - and AW23 is no exception.
On the top floor of The Truman Brewery in the heart of Shoreditch, Michael Stewart kicked off proceedings with his evening wear label Standing Ground.
Where last season guests were greeted by a row of statuesque models wearing his signature slinky column dresses, this time models walked down an industrial runway to a soundtrack of acid techno in a collection that felt fluid yet sculptural.
Bags were front and centre. With a range that included cross-body messengers and upcycled vintage handbags fitted with functional straps, the Estonian designer’s accessory ingenuity shone through.
Closing the show was this season’s name-to-know Karoline Vitto. Counting Paloma Elsesser and Shygirl among her fanbase, she offers a unique, refreshing body-positive perspective which the fashion industry has been missing.
For her sophomore collection, the Brazilian-born designer brought her celebration of the female form to the Eighties: “I wanted to take the idea of the strong Eighties supermodel, contemporise it and bring it into a curve scenario.”
Not only did she exclusively use plus size models, but she brought the curves and folds that are so often hidden into the spotlight. Skirt suits with an exposed waistline, jersey dresses with a full side cutout, and exposed metal detailing throughout.
Instead of using virgin fabrics containing elastane, like the vast majority of plus size designers, she partnered with deadstock supplier Nona Source.
It an exciting moment for the brand, and later this year Vitto is entering circular fashion: “We are going into rental this year. I can’t share too much yet, but I’m very excited for these clothes that you see on the catwalks to have a second life.”