top of page

New Faces of Luxury: A Profile on the Fashion Industry's Best and Brightest Up and Comers

From Paris to New York to Los Angeles, Fashion Week is sweeping the globe with its timeless appeal to the craving for luxury that lives within each and every one of us. The fashion industry and its performative aspects, like runway shows, have been built on big names that keep drawing the crowds back year after year. The brands carry with them the expectation of showcasing new and innovative looks which still adhere to the trademark of these brands at their individual cores; the essence of what makes them iconic.

Designers like Ralph Lauren constructed their brands off of the essence of marketing luxury to the everyday consumer, known for classic and high brow looks tailored to the wealth and style of the gatsby era, yet adapted to be wearable in modern day fashion culture. Vivienne Westwood made her mark by harnessing the past within her pieces, working to poke fun of and adapt aspects of traditional English styles, conquering both the use of traditional tailoring and the introduction of materials such as tartan and Harris Tweed. Through the weathering of many fashion eras, the designer has upheld brand continuity through consistent historical references and adaptations mimicking the trends of the era. Miuccia Prada, another household name within the fashion industry, is a brand that is looked to for its minimalist take on traditional styles, always producing somewhat simple modern designs. These greats and many more are held to expectations and standards that have been set for their brand–when one hears these names, immediate aspects are expected within their designs.

Oftentimes, these designs are not entirely fresh, as while they are intended to evolve alongside trends, the constraints of staying true to the vision of a brand override any true revolutionary pieces. This creates a necessity for youth in fashion– a movement to seize the moment and pave the way to the fashionable future utilizing completely new and revolutionary styles and ideas. This season, young fashion creators are more talented and iconic than ever before, bringing audiences new and never before seen designs. Fashion does not have to be aged or established through generations to meet the definition of luxury. Youthful creators are making headway in the fashion world, executing the vision of a new generation.

Here are some new and incredible designers that are actively transforming and modernizing the fashion world that you should be paying attention to.

Charles De Vilmorin

Charles de Vilmorin is a 26 year old French designer born in the city of Saint Germain-en-Laye, and raised in the city of Compiègne. Growing up, Vilmorin aspired to become a director within the theater, finding he had an intense passion for manufacturing and manipulating sound, light, costume, and actors in order to execute his individualist and artistic vision. This even manifested in his authoring of plays in his teen years, although his roots in visual art ran much deeper, tracing all the way back to his sketches at the age of five. It is clear to see from where Vilmorin’s passion stems, as he comes from an affluent French family, with his mother being an art teacher, and his father a ‘fashion-obsessed’ financier. Shortly after graduating from the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne, De Vilmorin launched his own début fashion collection on Instagram.

A look from Charles de Vilmorin Spring 2021 Couture Collection, Vogue

This managed to attract attention from the likes of previously well established and acclaimed designers within the fashion world, like Jean Paul Gaultier, who eventually sponsored Vilmorin’s own path into the world of Couture. Eventually, the designer was even enlisted to take on the position of creative director at Rochas, as they admired his artistic and modernized vision, but this only lasted two years, as Vilmorin wished to concentrate on the development of his own projects as opposed to reviving old ones belonging to other individuals. While he has had the privilege of working with such designers and has been influenced by his family’s fashion backgrounds and tastes, Vilmorin managed to gain notoriety on his own for his unique and trademark gender-fluid aesthetic. These designs and ideas are transforming the demands and expectations of high-end fashion, bringing a masculine lens to traditionally feminine design areas. Vilmorin has often expressed that the very essence of all of his ideas, designs, and collections is that the casting within his shows determines more about the attitude and tone of his pieces rather than the actual pieces themselves. In this way, he hopes to really embody the androgyny of pieces and prove that his designs are for anyone, regardless of the societal ideas of what is traditionally masculine, feminine, or flattering. This year alone, Vilmorin’s pieces were featured and garnered a lot of attention and praise for the young designer at Paris haute couture week, incorporating high fashion menswear into the lineup of his runway shows, making the statement that high fashion and design are for men just as much as they are for women, criticizing the idea that fashion is just a woman’s game.

Charles de Vilmorin Spring 2021 Couture Collection Piece #9, Tagwalk

The purpose of Vilmorin’s work is to defy traditionalist standards of fashion and allow his designs to reflect and cater to all types of people, regardless of gender identity. Vilmorin is well known and praised for his utilization of simple and neutral colors, such as black and white, with the addition of some sort of modern art aspect being manufactured into each design. His pieces work to elevate basic modern pieces with his own contemporary flare which demand attention from global audiences. Vilmorin is certainly one of the most relevant, innovative, and well achieved rising designers of this generation.

Tia Adeola

New York based, London raised, and Nigerian born designer Teni “Tia” Adeola is best known as the founder and creator of her own line, simply named Tia Adeola (originally called Slashed by Tia). Although she graduated in May of 2019 from The New School in New York with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Culture and Media, Tia first began the construction and launch of her brand at the young age of 18 from her dorm room in 2017, drawing inspiration from both the Renaissance period and her storied background in art history. When creating her line, Adeola had one critical vision– to help rewrite fashion history to cater to people of color.

A signature Adeola Piece, Metal Magazine

As a result of this, activism has been a key theme and motivator for all of her pieces, leading her to the creation of designs uniquely serving to highlight the beauty of racial and ethnic diversity, allowing spotlights to be placed on voices and faces which are not typically pedestalized within the fashion industry. Her designs are known for incorporating sheer, ruffled, and organza fabrics and materials, even starting out by gaining notoriety for her uniquely ruffled face masks first launched in the spring of the 2020 pandemic. As a child of immigrant parents being raised and societally conditioned in London, there was often a divide and lack of understanding between Adeola’s fashion-related ambitions and her parent’s vision for her future. Although they were never outwardly disapproving of her passion, it was clear that there was a disconnect, as they could not understand what about the industry fascinated her, nor how she could be successful within it. It was not until her viral ruffled mask designs were featured on CNN that they truly understood what she was setting out to achieve, as the family would watch CNN nightly. This was a turning point for Adeola, where she knew that her vision was concretely achievable with international recognition for her work and familial pride behind her. Although her original vision was to cater to women’s fashion specifically, her vision has expanded to include menswear and luggage, pushing her own personal creative bounds as she grows as a designer. Adeola knows that as a 26-year-old designer who is still growing herself, her designs and ideas will grow with her.

Metal Magazine

She is concentrating on staying true to her original styles and core messages of her brand, but also understands that she has not given all that she has to give yet, and that her vision could change alongside the world. As her experience expands, her designs grow more and more refined, and her shows are meticulously crafted to represent Adeola’s individual vision and ideas, some of them even utilizing Nigerian music, ballerinas, and models. In her revolutionary creation of a brand which is meant to represent minority communities that have often been shunned by the fashion industry, Adeola, although young, is already changing what it means to be a participant in the designer community. Currently, Adeola has recently gained notoriety for the feminine designs she has used to dress the likes of celebrities such as Cara Delevigne, Gigi Hadid, and Sza.

Karoline Vitto

Karoline Vitto, i-D

Karoline Vitto, born in Brazil and based now in London, strives to use her brand and designs to celebrate and embrace every aspect of female bodies, aspiring to create looks which are not just body positive in nature, but rather make sure to highlight perfect imperfections. In her early childhood, Vitto lived in a town with just under 80,000 inhabitants, where she learned basic sewing and sketching skills from her mother and grandmother, who sewed their own clothes. Vitto began her studies at Central Saint Martins and graduated with a Masters in Fashion from the Royal College of Art. Her designs are well known for their rejection of unrealistic and typical standards of beauty, which have been embraced so toxicly and commonly in the fashion world, instead choosing to manufacture curve and fold friendly looks and sizes to uplift and

cherish all bodies. Her mission statement clarifies that Vitto places the human body and all of its wonders at the center of the design process, working the clothes around the body rather than forcing a body to fit the clothes. Additionally, her responsible use of resources and desire to eliminate waste within the industry mark her as one of the more environmentally conscious modern designers in the industry. Founding her label in 2020, her brand is still very new, and yet Vitto has remained entirely consistent and rigid in her desire to promote size inclusivity, mass producing sizes ranging from UK8 to UK28 in every piece, even including the ability for customers to order pieces custom made. Her pieces accentuate parts of the body that the fashion industry has worked for a very long time to find ways to hide, not just embracing but truly showcasing the most vulnerable parts of a woman’s body.

Her work has been a crucial step towards the de-stigmatization of bigger bodies, as well as towards the inclusion and expansion of high fashion and beauty standards to extend to and resonate with all women. She has reached mass levels of success as well, even appearing in Milan’s Fashion Week earlier this year with the support of Dolce and Gabbana. Throughout all of her shows, Vitto aspires to make sure that every model feels normal in her clothes, striving to go above and beyond the demands of diversification but rather allow it lead to normalization of this type of inclusion on the runway. Her pieces frequently incorporate and utilize metal, elastics, jersey, and knit materials, often including rips, rings, and chains in her designs, giving her a very trademark look which can clearly be tracked through the bulk of her pieces. As she grows in her abilities as a designer, Vitto has taken a slight change in design related to practicality and wearability after receiving feedback from other women. Swapping out elastic bands and brass rings, which created a sort of constriction of the body for sections of knit cashmere and transparent nylon, Vitto has worked hard to incorporate comfort and support while retaining the basic sensuality of her pieces. Karoline Vitto has so far been featured on the cover of Vogue Brazil, and has been worn by big name plus-size supermodels Paloma Elsesser and Precious Lee, as well as other celebrities such as Jojo Todynho, Duda Beat and Shygirl.

Taofeek Abijako

Taofeek Abijako, a Nigerian designer based in Brooklyn, was the youngest fashion designer featured in the 2018 New York Fashion Week at the age of 19. His designs and career aspirations are all inspired by his colorful and multicultural childhood, where he became fashion conscious and curious at a young age. His father was classically trained as a fashion designer in Nigeria, which Abijako admired and used to greatly inspire his own path. In order to fund the creation of his first collection, Abijako would upcycle plain Vans sneakers and increase their value by painting them, and reselling them for almost quadruple the price. Still a high school student when he was able to begin actualizing his vision, Abijako launched his brand, Head of State+, just two years ago after immigrating to the United States. This collection gained some notoriety after an article profiling the pieces built some traction on Twitter, and some weeks later a buyer from Japanese chain United Arrows purchased the entire collection.

Surface Magazine

Additionally, at the age of 17, Abijako was able to raise 3,000 dollars through the retail of his t-shirts to fund the construction of a water system near his village back home in Nigeria, beginning to fulfill his charitable ambitions early on in the construction and launch of his career. Because of his young age at the time of this release, his designs garnered attention for the youth and life they brought into the fashion industry, working especially hard to ensure his West African roots were represented and highlighted within his designs. This year at New York Fashion Week, now 24-year-old Abijako brought his newest collection called “Memories of Home '' meant to center around his father’s journey from Lagos, Nigeria to Spain. The pieces were designed to center around the idea of home, as well as cultural blending and celebration, returning once again to the core of his brand ideas. Another important aspect that went into the feelings behind this collection, as well as its intention, is his new perspective on fatherhood, as a now recent father himself. This has served to bring tradition and family into his designs more strongly than ever as Abijako himself grows alongside his brand.

Head of State+ collection looks for Essence

Abijako is known for his basic street wear-like designs, which all tend to provide social and political commentary in addition to West African influence, making his pieces extremely meaningful and provocative. Throughout his shows and interviews, Abijako has made it known that he wishes to use his lines as a way to make a greater difference beyond the world of fashion. Although it is not the most typical route of

philanthropy or advocacy, he wishes to use his gifts and passions to express his beliefs and do good for the world beyond the fashion industry. Abijako is recognized by the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for class of 2019, and has been the recipient of other awards such as winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Brooklyn Museum/Instagram Design Visionary Grant and FGI RisingStar Award Finalist positions.

These four young designers are making history on the youthful frontier of the fashion industry, changing the world of design to be a more inclusive, innovative, and flexible space. Vilmorin, Adeola, Vitto, and Abijako have all used their brands to attempt to change the course and focus of fashion, expanding the possibilities for representation, as well as celebrations of culture and difference on the runway. The future of fashion is beginning to reflect the desires and expectations of the newest generations, catering to more diverse tastes and radical outlooks. In an industry so prominent in the creation of societal beauty standards, it is amazing to see a shift in attitude beginning to occur. Following in the footsteps of these young designers who are paving the way, even more young and creative voices are beginning to make headway in a space that has traditionally been dominated by unrealistic expectations and elitism. The fashion world is witnessing the discovery and exploration of a new, youthful frontier within itself, and it is transforming the industry in an entirely revolutionary, yet necessary way. Fashion and design have become mediums which young creators have been able to mobilize as instruments of change and progression. This is just the beginning of the fashion revolution, and the industry needs to brace itself for the changes coming, led by young creators of the future.

By: Sarah Goldstein

bottom of page