What does it take to be a fashion designer today? Grit, that’s for sure. Often times, wearing many hats; not only conceptualizing , cutting, and sewing designs, but marketing and getting your brand seen, shooting lookbooks, managing finances and customer orders (often with no business or operations background), and building relationships with manufacturers, buyers, and customers. Suffice to say, it’s a big risk to start a fashion brand and one that can be daunting, even more so when you don’t have the proper resources or mentorship to help build up your company.
And, of course, to be a designer who wants to stand out and actually push the fashion industry forward, you need to have something to say. Inclusivity, though it may seem like a buzzword in the industry at the moment, is important in every aspect. Inclusive of different body types, skin tones, genders, perspectives and the environment. It’s something that we, at Teen Vogue, try to live up to everyday, not only with our storytelling but also with the voices we try to amplify.
To continue these efforts and move the needle even further, we introduce you to: Generation Next, a new mentorship initiative that identifies and champions the voices we think are up next to lead and push things forward in the fashion industry. At Teen Vogue we know that having access to resources and mentorship within the fashion industry often times means being in the right room or having a certain privilege. We want to help close that gap.
Generation Next will be a first for us. Teen Vogue’s editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner and fashion and beauty features editor Tahirah Hairston, with the help of our style team, selected five fashion brands that we feel embody the ethos of Teen Vogue. There’s Camilla Carper and Janelle Abbott of Femail, Anifa Mvuemba of Hanifa, Elena Velez of Elena Velez, Tia Adeola of Slashed by Tia, and Georgia Fallon of Dyke Sport.
As a part of the Generation Next initiative we’re bringing the six talented designers to New York City on September 9th to showcase pieces from their collections, in partnership with Snapchat. Our mission is to bring together a room of fashion industry insiders and enthusiasts where critical networking opportunities and relationships are fostered. Generation Next will also be an ongoing mentorship between Teen Vogue and the chosen designers, with plans to help them with access to and advise on various parts of the fashion business. Ultimately, one designer will be selected to be featured on the cover of Teen Vogue’s next Young Hollywood issue in February 2020.
Keep reading to find out more about the designers, and stay tuned for all things Generation Next from our debut New York Fashion Week presentation.
Who: Anifa Mvuemba, a self-taught, Baltimore-based designer.
Brand Statement: “Boasting femininity with chic simplicity, Hanifa features an array of styles, colors, textures, and exclusive patterns that caters to every woman's body. Designed with a black woman in mind, Hanifa targets your everyday hardworking, bold and beautiful woman who embodies class and a subtle edge. Initially based on providing custom and alteration services, Hanifa has evolved into a full lifestyle brand offering RTW pieces, shoes and jewelry. Hanifa prides itself on offering luxe fabrications, sourcing internationally from Dubai, Istanbul, New York City, and Washington D.C. Seven years post launch, Hanifa dresses everyday fashion girls and IT girls alike (including Kelly Rowland, Kylie Jenner, and many more), and has graduated from an e-commerce only destination, opening its first retail space in the heart of Baltimore in 2019.”
Who: Elena Velez, a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who graduated from Parsons School of Design earlier this year.
Brand Statement: “Inspired by the traditions and crafts of her industrial lakeside community, Elena’s work incorporates an appreciation for the artisanal heritage of the American midwest epitomized by the metalsmith industry, a historically iconic trademark of her hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A proponent of authentic process and creativity under constraint, her collections often incorporate found, salvaged, or site-specific materiality. Through an aggressively delicate aesthetic signature, Elena designs with the tactile sensibility of a maker who prioritizes functionality and utility over perfection or beauty, investigating the relationship between femininity and force.”
You Might Have Seen Them: On Solange Knowles’s in Numero Berlin
Who: Camilla Carper and Janelle Abbott began Femail after they both graduated from Parsons School of Design as a creative way to stay in touch, sending clothing and collages back and forth, through the USPS.
Brand Statement: “We offer a light hearted, playful, and unabashed approach to intertwining the sentimentality of the material world with an embodiment of the present moment. FEMAIL does not follow trends intentionally, but inadvertently; our connection to the present moment keeps us in the stream of collective creative thought. We instead are actively attempting to build our own language and mythology out of the refuse of the fast fashion industry—which has left us with a mountain of materials to make use of. We are not attempting to appeal to a market but instead of mood and an emotion. We want people to accept and embrace their connection with textiles and garments so that less ends up in the landfill and more is restored to wearability—we offer new perspectives for consumers to view the garments that they already own. We encourage people to maintain and recreate from what their own closets.
FEMAIL believes that the fashion industry at large could benefit from becoming more accountable for their means of production, rate of production, use of natural resources, and imposition on the consumer. The fashion industry as it is today, will not last, considering the devastating effects of the climate crisis projected and already experienced. The future of fashion must be different and FEMAIL is attempting to create a vision of that future.”
You Might Have Seen Them: Showcasing their fashion as art at Bellevue Arts Museum.
Slashed by Tia
Who: Tia Adeola, a designer born in Nigeria, raised in London, and now based in New York, who created the brand from her dorm room during the summer of 2017.
Brand Statement: “The aim of Slashed by Tia is not only to make bold and badass wearable art for women but to also continue to rewrite history through fashion. Following her trip to Paris, Tia's interests have shifted from the Renaissance period to the French Revolution. The French Revolution (1789-1799) was essentially about dethroning the king and his family to give power back to the people. It was a huge cultural revolution in which the aftermath continues to affect us today. In today's society, we can draw parallels to The French Revolution, as people of colour have created a platform at the detriment of legacy social constructs. Similar to The Renaissance, She felt inclined to put a modern twist on French aristocracy- before The Revolution and beginning of cultural shifts and life-changing shifts for people of colour.
While in Paris, She wanted to explore and educate herself on the history of the people of colour. She came across the work of Alexandre Dumas. He was born right after the French Revolution in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The newly created political context from the French Revolution gave rise to people like Dumas to be very successful in the literary field. He wrote the Three Musketeers, one of the most famous books in history, and The Count of Monte Cristo, yet the majority of people at the time publicly attacked him and mocked his African heritage.
She has explored art history, particularly paintings of royals, for over 7 years and still has yet to find subjects that look like her that weren't slaves or jesters. Hence why she believes it's necessary to continue to explore aspects of history that interest her and rewrite it using her clothing to ensure girls like herself feel like royalty through wearable art.”
Who: Georgia Fallon, an emerging fashion designer born in Sydney, Australia,with an interest in starting a conversation on sexuality and representation in fashion.
Brand Statment: “Dyke Sport is a luxury streetwear / sportswear brand by Georgia Fallon. Dyke Sport debuted at London Fashion Week, opening the University of Westminster AW ’19 Show. The Brand embodies uncompromising and fierce women; unapologetic in their appearance and sexuality.
Dyke Sport reclaims a traditionally derogatory term - celebrating the beauty and fierceness of lesbian culture. ”
You Might Have Seen Them: On Charli XCX during her most recent tour.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue