Having launched the careers of Rodarte, Zac Posen and Phillip Lim, Gen Art knows about burgeoning designers. We asked co-president Elizabeth Shaffer what each designer in the new lineup is bringing to the table.
After a two-year hiatus,
Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion returns to New York September 9, with an accessories showcase of four designers, followed by a runway show featuring seven ready-to-wear labels (including one menswear entry). Here, the organization's co-president Elizabeth Shaffer describes what made each designer stand out to the organizers.
ANN YEE: "Ann Yee was a pretty obvious choice this year -- she's kind of a darling in the fashion world right now. It's definitely warranted, she makes beautiful clothes ... You can tell every pleat, zipper and button were taken into careful consideration."
Ace & Jig
ACE & JIG: "These girls are great and their energy is infectious. They started out launching LaRok and eventually left to pursue personal projects, including ace & jig. You can tell they're passionate ... and they're total textile geeks which brings an added dimension."
EIGHTEENTH: "A lot of designers think they have to come crashing out of the gate with huge collections. What we love about Alexa Galler is that she did the opposite. She started with a line of six great T-shirts and let things progress organically into the amazing collection it is now."
SUNGHEE BANG: "In our first meeting with Sunghee, we were totally blown away. [She] moved from Korea right out of high school to design clothes and attend school, and within a few years of her graduation, found her designs walking down the runway in Alexander McQueen's show."
JENNIFER CHUN: "Jennifer was the first designer we met with that had every stitch of her collection finished. She's meticulous with her work and it shows. Prior to starting her namesake label, she trained with Michael Kors, David Lam and Brian Reyes."
WILLIAM OKPO: "Darlene and Lizzy Okpo represent the designer that Gen Art really exists for. Not only are they our youngest designers, they're two of our hardest working. They do everything themselves from the sourcing to sales ... The result is a collection of really stunning, wearable pieces ... with a strong cultural influence."
BARON WELLS: "It's often a tough choice [to choose only one menswear designer], but Baron Wells made it easy. Their pieces are all made in New York and the tailoring is impeccable. A lot of the shirting is ... unisex, which we're hoping they play with a bit at the show."
Wool and the Gang
WOOL AND THE GANG: "WATG is really doing something different ... You can purchase the pieces off the shelf, or you can buy ... kits to knit yourself. I love the idea of making fashion interactive like that, and also allowing the customer to customize their pieces themselves."
COLLINA STRADA: "We really love the individuality in all of the Collina Strada pieces. It's so much better to wear a bag that speaks to your character than the same 'It bag' every woman in your office has. Collina Strada makes the 'It' bag for those of us who hate 'It' bags."
OSBORN: "It's hard not to fall in love with the bright colors and patterns of these shoes. They're all handmade in Guatemala, which really comes through. The price-point is great -- this is the shoe everyone needs to own to brighten up their gray days."
FALCONIERE: "At the end of the day, fashion is supposed to be fun. Falconiere delivers that by whisking you away to this crazy medieval world. We've been watching Juniper Rose since her launch with Donna Karan a couple years ago."