6 Emerging Designers to Watch This Fashion Month

Meet the rising talents who will be showing their collections in New York, London, Paris and Milan.

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CreditPhoto and portrait by Dario Castillo

John Targon, 36, New York

John Targon is already a familiar name in the fashion world. As a co-founder of the New York-based brand Baja East and the former creative director of Marc Jacobs’s contemporary ventures, the 36-year-old Chicago native has been in the industry’s limelight on and off for half a decade. In 2017, after leaving Baja East, Targon took a step back from fashion. “I wanted to shut the door on shame and bring forward my life’s learnings,” he says. This ultimately led to his new label, Fall Risk by John Targon, which he launched in April of this year. The name is lifted from the wristbands given to medical patients, which caught Targon’s eye when he was looking out for an intoxicated friend at a hospital in New York. “Life is unexpected and these chapters of our story are both humbling and hilarious — your clothes should reflect that,” he says. Instead of showing seasonal collections, Targon is selling his garments — which are inspired by retro sportswear and streetwear — directly to his customers while creating buzz through social media. A knitwear expert, Targon seeks to create comfortable yet thoughtful clothing that is seasonless and uncomplicated. “My clothes should be a second skin so that when you’re comfortable in them, well then, they’re yours,” he says. His latest collection, which will be Fall Risk’s fourth, is inspired by the idea of remix, and it references the ’70s and ’90s as well as pieces from his own past collections. There’s also a subtle sports motif, seen in an argyle polo shirt inspired by boarding school uniforms and a chunky powder-blue sleeveless sweater with a shrunken fit.

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Carly Mark, 31, and Ayla Argentina, 27, New York

Carly Mark and Ayla Argentina met in 2016 through a mutual friend in New York City. Mark was working as a contemporary artist at the time but considering a career change (she had previously interned at Versace and Marc Jacobs before working as a gallery assistant at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise). “Once I realized fashion didn’t have to be corporate, and the art world was more corporate than I had anticipated, I moved back toward clothes again. This time feeling very free about it,” she says. Argentina (who uses the pronoun “they”), had a background in fashion design, having interned and worked for brands such as Ralph Lauren and TSE Cashmere. Mark asked Argentina to collaborate on costumes for a video she was working on for a solo exhibition. Shortly after, Argentina joined Mark’s art studio as her costume assistant and they continued to create garments for her work. In 2018, they debuted a collection of their pieces — patchwork suits and dramatic fuzzy dusters inspired by medieval garb — during New York Fashion Week, and the brand Puppets and Puppets was born. For the spring 2020 season, the designers will present their second collection, which Mark describes as “Romanov meets ‘American Psycho.’” Expect to see tailored suits evocative of Wall Street businessmen mixed with Russian-inspired outerwear and hoop skirts. “Fashion is so corporate here that there is a pushback happening,” Mark says. “Young designers are doing it their way, on their terms, whatever way they want.”

Eftychia Karamolegkou, London

Eftychia Karamolegkou always had an eye for design. She grew up in Greece surrounded by paintings and hand-carved furniture made by her grandfather, a trained architect and self-taught artist, which continue to define her minimal aesthetic. Later, she worked in graphic design before enrolling in the fashion design master’s course at Central Saint Martins and interning for the London-based brands Mary Katrantzou and Marques Almeida. Her graduate collection, shown in 2017, centered on suiting and quickly caught the attention of stores such as Opening Ceremony and Machine A, prompting her to found her own namesake label that same year. The brand still focuses on innovative tailoring; Karamolegkou takes inspiration from office wear, which she then transforms with baggy cuts and neutral colors. “I think I gravitate toward tailoring because it is a kind of secret language,” she says. “It has so many codes that by changing details, you can reveal different messages.” For her next collection, she mined business meetings and corporate hierarchies for inspiration, creating imaginary characters that informed her pieces. The archetypal chairman, for example, who doesn’t need to prove himself and can adopt a more relaxed look, inspired a clean loose fitted shirt paired with relaxed trousers, while for a C.E.O. she designed a full suit. Karamolegkou’s signature two-tone technique, in which she mixes tonal browns in one suiting fabric, will reoccur in this collection along with new styles such as a wool mohair Harrington jacket.


Paula Canovas del Vas, 28, London

Paula Canovas del Vas was born and raised in Murcia, Spain, where she spent much of her childhood at her mother’s bridal dress store learning from the atelier’s seamstresses and patternmakers. In 2013, she moved to London to freelance at the British brand Ashish and later interned at Gucci in Rome and Margiela in Paris — but she always wanted to design her own collections and began working on her own label while studying for her master’s at Central Saint Martins. In 2018, her graduate collection of fantastically patterned neon jackets was picked up by Dover Street Market in Tokyo. “My tendency is to gravitate toward shieldlike volumes,” she says of her oversize, eye-catching shapes. “There is something very comforting about wearing them.” This month, Vas will present her third collection in London via a virtual reality installation that will be open to the public. The idea was partly inspired by the idea of voyeurism and the personal broadcasting made possible by social media. “I wanted to offer an alternative to a fashion catwalk and encapsulate the experience in a way that would be long-lasting and democratized,” she says. Vas also wanted to give viewers insight into how she sources her upcycled materials and works with artisans in southern Spain to develop her fabrics, such as synthetic patent leather and whimsically embossed knits. One particular dress in the new collection, which was constructed from 10 meters of pink and green dead-stock organza, took two weeks to make.


Susan Fang, 26, Milan

Susan Fang began designing clothes at age 5, for the girls in her comic books. Born in Yuyao, China, she moved from place to place during her childhood, from China to England, Canada and the U.S. “It was a lot of changes,” she says. “But it made me extremely interested in the difference between people’s perceptions and perspectives.” Fang became passionate about exploring the arts, culture and fashion of the places in which she lived, and she eventually settled in London, where she studied fashion at Central Saint Martins. After graduating, she spent two years gaining experience at Celine and Stella McCartney before founding her eponymous label in 2018. Characterized by naturalistic and geometric motifs, her otherworldly pieces include bags made from bubblelike glass beads and sheer pastel dresses, but perhaps her most notable invention is the “airweave,” a garment made from strips of featherlight fabric (such as chiffon, yarn) that shape-shifts as the wearer moves, creating the impression, in Fang’s words, that her garments “swim between two and three dimensions.” Although she is still based in London, Fang will show her spring 2020 collection in Milan, at the invitation of Sara Maino, Editor of Vogue Talents, a platform dedicated to emerging designers. Fang was also shortlisted for the LVMH Prize this year. Her new collection will be filled with optical illusions and unexpected materials, she says: “It will be very surreal and ethereal.”


Rym Beydoun, 29, Paris

For her placement year at Central Saint Martins, the designer Rym Beydoun decided to go back home to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and take a step back from the fashion scene. “I wanted to be in Africa and reconnect with people and the culture,” she explains. While there, she started to teach herself about the different textile weaving, dying and printing techniques of ethnic groups across the continent. Later that year, she interned at Uniwax, a wax print manufacturer in West Africa where she worked with street tailors to make custom suits, and at the Abidjan-based clothing label Laurenceairline. After graduating, she then moved to Beirut to work on her own pieces and in 2017 launched Super Yaya, a line of colorful clothes made from fabrics inspired by the different places where she’s lived and traveled. For her next collection, she looked to Indonesia and the tradition of bati, a technique of wax-resist dyeing on fabrics. “I conducted research and gathered old photographs depicting Indonesian dress and compared them to the ones I had from Abidjan, Bamako and Dakar,” she says. “I go to places for inspiration, specifically markets where I can exchange and learn from traders. I usually need to build my own research by taking photographs of the people and environment.” Her new garments will feature a lot of patchworks made of hand-dyed bazin and wax fabric (both colorful African fabrics made of cotton). These fabrics are manipulated together to create an explosion of color as well as transparency, creating a sensual yet modest feel.

Angela Koh is a market editor for T Magazine.

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