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Best Of: FashionUnited's Interviews from 2017

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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With 2018 just around the corner, FashionUnited is taking a look back at some of its most read articles over 2017, and here are the round-up of the top interviews:

Fashion Scout’s Martyn Roberts on why we need to “champion" emerging talent

Ahead of London Fashion Week, FashionUnited chatted to emerging talent platform Fashion Scout’s founder Martyn Roberts on why London has long held the label as being a ‘hotbed’ for emerging fashion talent and why it is important to support new fashion designers.

“So many designers when they first graduate they need somewhere to showcase,” explains Roberts. “Just look at Eudon Choi. We met with him when he was still working for another brand and he was a designer behind-the-scenes, we went on to support him through his first show and a further four seasons. It enabled him to get his feet on the ground and get his business going and for us we were showcasing someone who we really believed was exciting.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Danielle Wightman-Stone

Image: courtesy of Fashion Scout

Alexa Chung on launching her label: ‘Shit got real pretty quickly’

Alexa Chung’s journey from model to tv presenter to designer muse and now creative director was not as smooth as you may think and FashionUnited spoke to her exclusively at an event launch in Amsterdam about the challenges she faced setting up her own brand.

“It was a bit of a shock getting into the business, starting a company from scratch, building a team and seeing all the hard work that goes into making something into a garment,” said Chung.

Read more: FashionUnited / Vivian Hendriksz

Image: by Chloe Leenheer

Emerging designer to watch - Edda Gimnes

This fashion week one emerging designer stood out and that was Norweigan, London-based Edda Gimnes, winner of Fashion Scout’s Merit Award. Gimnes chatted with FashionUnited following her debut solo presentation at London Fashion Week about spring/summer 2018 collection that combine sports-luxe with 1950s glamour and a whole lot of fun with her child-like illustrations and digital prints.

“As a young designer the amount of money and energy I’ve put into my collections to be seen by the right people in the industry is crazy,” said Gimnes. “It is so important to have awards like this to give me the opportunity to showcase for them. Showcasing in general it is so expensive, if I hadn’t have had this for this season, I probably wouldn’t have been able to showcase in London.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Danielle Wightman-Stone

Image: courtesy of Danielle Wightman-Stone

How Filippa K aims to become 'the most relevant Scandinavian brand’

Filippa K is fast becoming known as the Swedish brand for high-quality, well-fitted, sustainable styles and now with the return of its founder Filippa Knutsson, as its creative director, the brand is to continue its success story by becoming "the most relevant Scandinavian brand on a global stage.”

FashionUnited spoke to the brand's chief executive, Kristofer Tonström and brand director Karl-Johan Bogefors at the opening of the label's latest flagship store in Amsterdam to find out about Filippa K plans for the future. “Filippa has been out of the business over the last five years and there has been a lot of internationalisation during that time," explained Tonström. "But now we see a huge opportunity to be at the forefront of the digital world as well as grow even more internationally."

Read more: FashionUnited / Vivian Hendriksz

Image: Filippa K, Facebook

Heidi Klum discusses her debut Lidl Collection

Supermodel Heidi Klum’s collaboration with budget supermarket Lidl has been one of the success stories of 2017, the line was selling at a rate of 106 products per minute in the UK on the first day. FashionUnited chatted with Klum about how her affordable collaboration of wardrobe staples, from skinny jeans and blazers to suede and leather biker jackets came about.

Klum said: “I receive countless requests each year and I’m very happy about those offers. But I can’t accept them all, nor would I want to, because it’s important for me to be able to identify with the company and the products. We’re both pursuing the same goals in this collaboration: namely, to make fashion fun and to make this pleasure affordable for everyone.

“The collection is a mix of favourite pieces from my own clothes closet plus new ideas or individual pieces that were lacking in my wardrobe. I’m proud of each and every piece in the collection.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Danielle Wightman-Stone

Image: courtesy of courtesy of Esmara by Heidi Klum

How Reformation aims to bring sustainable fashion to everyone

Los Angeles label Reformation is transforming how consumers see sustainable fashion by making it sexy. Starting off by selling upcycled vintage clothing, Reformation has become one of the few brands to successfully combine a fast-fashion business model with sustainability, and FashionUnited spoke to Kathleen Talbot, vice president sustainability and operations at Reformation during Beyond Green on how the label plans on growing without compromising its sustainable values.

"Our challenge now is how you take that same ethos and commitment to doing fashion differently, reuse that vintage model and grow and scale a company that can bring sustainable fashion to everyone," said Talbot.

Read more: FashionUnited / Vivian Hendriksz

Image: courtesy of Reformation

CEO Asics: “We have yet to launch our true DNA”

Sportswear brand Asics is looking to cement its position within the sports and running markets with its new store concept and FashionUnited spoke with Alistair Cameron, chief executive of Asics EMA, about the challenges within the competitive running market, and the brand’s ‘true’ DNA.

“It is one of the world’s oldest sports brands,” explains Cameron. “Asics has a great understanding of the needs of athletes. Many people talk about how to do something, but we actually do it. We have a scientific institute in Japan, where more than 100 scientists work on molecular structures, which later become the newest spring tensions in shoes. During the past 25 years, over 25 innovations developed in Japan have been implemented in our products. The Japanese business now exports its expertise in all global markets. That is unique.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Anne Buis

Image: courtesy of Asics

Q&A: Olivia Cantillon, co-founder, OwnTheLook.com

Finding a gap in the e-commerce market is difficult, especially within the multi-brand market, however, OwnTheLook.com's co-founder Olivia Cantillon is looking to change the way women shop with its experimental approach to retail, not just offering trend-led affordable fashion, but also showcasing how to wear those trends by a team of industry insiders. FashionUnited spoke to her ahead of the online retailers launch to discuss the concept, the challenges of setting up a start-up and plans for the future.

Cantillon said: “I saw a gap in the market for an online multi-brand platform that made outfit dressing its focus and I wanted to target all of those fashion-crazed girls that had surrounded me my whole career.

“It was important to me that the styling concept wasn’t the only difference in appeal, so I began searching for unknown and emerging brands that hadn’t fully made their way into the UK marketplace. By providing ready-to-wear looks that were styled in a less traditional way with brands that weren’t yet known was something that really excited me.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Danielle Wightman-Stone

Image: courtesy of OwntheLook.com

LFW Interview: Katie Ann McGuigan

Irish-born, London-educated Katie Ann McGuigan is one of the hottest new talents to showcase at London Fashion Week, her attention to detail and technical knowledge, which comes across in her oversized outerwear decorated with intricate prints has caught the attention of industry insiders. Ahead of her autumn/winter 2017 catwalk showcase, FashionUnited found out more about her inspiration, challenges and how FashionScout helped her realise her dreams.

“Fashion Scout has allowed me to be ambitious with my own work, following on from my graduate collection,” explains McGuigan. “I am extremely grateful to Fashion Scout for giving me this opportunity to create another collection and launch my own brand as well as simultaneously providing me with a wonderful platform to make my mark as an upcoming young designer, has fulfilled one of my many aspirations.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Danielle Wightman-Stone

Image: courtesy of Fashion Scout

Blend Re:wind: A new recycling technique for cotton & polyester separation

Sustainability has been a hot topic of 2017 and FashionUnited spoke to experts developing a new recycling technique that could change the future of the fashion industry with its chemical method that separates both cotton and polyester from cotton/polyester blends which can be used again in new, high-quality products.

“We came up with this method utilising chemicals which are already used in the forest and viscose industry because we believe that this just the beginning of chemical recycling,” explained Dr Anna Palme, whose doctoral thesis project set the groundwork for the innovation to FashionUnited. She previously carried out extensive studies of used cotton/polyester sheets thrown away by hospitals. “In order to encourage the large-scale use of textile recycling within the fashion market and to scale the initiative up, we thought it would be very good to have a method which can be integrated into existing industries. The separated cellulosic materials, cotton, in this case, can be integrated into existing processes that use cellulosic materials, such as viscose production.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Vivian Hendriksz

Image: courtesy of Mistra Future Fashion

Fair Frank: Connecting customers with those who make their shoes

Do you ever wonder who made your shoes? FashionUnited speaks to Andreas Fransson, founder of fairtrade footwear label Fair Frank, who is actively encouraging his customers to ask who made their shoes by offering complete traceability of his supply chain.

“My mission is to inspire people to care about where their products are made,” explains Fransson. “I may have just started out and still have much further to go as a brand, but I want to make sure it is always clear to everyone where all my products are made and where all my components and input materials are coming from. People deserve to know and they should know it is coming from a good, reliable and ethical source.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Vivian Hendriksz

Image: courtesy of Fair Frank

Archibald London to ‘disrupt the market by nipping at the heels of luxury’

Online-based Archibald London is looking to disrupt the luxury market with its premium eyewear brand’s expansion into sweaters, scarves, leather goods, denim, homeware, knives and even footwear, and FashionUnited talked to chief executive Rohan Dhir about the label’s success.

“We started with glasses and then we branched out into all types of categories as we realised that we had a golden idea at our fingertips,” explains the 29-year-old entrepreneur. “We did not want to be seen as just a glasses company, we wanted to be seen as this company that offers the best quality products for the best possible price.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Vivian Hendriksz

Image: courtesy of Archibald London

A day in the life of a male fashion model

Many feel that modelling is a glamorous profession, however, it does involve a lot of hard work and FashionUnited spoke to Mumbai-based print and catwalk model Himanshu Singh to uncover some of the myths around modelling during his fours of working with designers and labels including Rishta by Arjun Saluja, Archana Rao Label, Huemn, and Little Shilpa.

“The Indian fashion industry is currently undergoing a major identity introspection. It is struggling hard to find its identity as it has been aping for many decades what goes on in the West, particularly in Europe, with fashion trends in Bollywood mirroring European fashion,” said Singh. “But for the last ten years, the Indian fashion industry has been moving towards its own identity, which has benefited the models too. Indian models are finally being favoured, in India as well as in the West, and the obsession with typical Caucasian skin and body type seems to be coming to an end.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Simone Preuss

Image: courtesy of John Smedley SS18 by Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council

Havaianas: Dressing you from ‘toe to head’

Best known for it brightly coloured footwear, Havaianas recently expanded its product categories to include apparel, swimwear, and accessories, and FashionUnited spoke to Guillaume Prou, president and chief executive of Havaianas EMEA about the success of the brand and how consumers have changed their view of the brand.

“Consumers have been walking into our stores and asking if they can buy the sales assistants t-shirts,” said Prou. “I think that there is plenty of consumer appetite for having more from Havaianas. Having a look which is complete, from your flip-flops to your board shorts and shirt is what consumers want.”

Read more: FashionUnited / Vivian Hendriksz

Image: courtesy of Havaianas

Best Of