Eight Designers You Need To Know In 2017
If we’re being honest, the list of designers that make us swoon is crazy long. Seriously, we’d be here for hours naming them all. So instead we’ve selected eight designers that we’re completely freaking out over and know are going to be doing big things in 2017. These are the fashion labels that every blogger, editor and celebrity you love will snatch up, and the signature styles will be sold out faster than Usain Bolt. They are changing the game, shaking things up, and creating jaw-dropping designs that we guarantee you’ll be adding to cart on the regular. They're under the radar, but not for long. So without further ado, we present your 2017 designer primer.
Suzanne Rae wears many hats. She is a designer, a short film maker, and is actively involved with several women’s groups around New York City. In 2014 she partnered with the original Girls Inc. – a leading advocacy organization focused on providing mentorship, education and a voice for young women around the country – to re-launch their sewing program, which offers young girls the opportunity to learn a basic life skill, while combining the contemporary designs of today. Suzanne has also been involved with other environmentally conscious organizations such as the Endangered Species Coalition. Let’s just say she is a woman of many talents, and also happens to be one rad human. Based in Brooklyn, Suzanne designs minimalist and sophisticated pieces that are strong and delicate at the same time. Often taking inspiration from feminist theory as well as women’s and gender studies, her collections are consciously made for the wearer’s own enhanced experience and not for the gaze of others (buh bye Male Gaze). This perspective appears to be stronger than ever in her SS17 collection with many girl-power messages directly on the clothing. Get ready for boxy mesh tops with faint stitching that reads: “I’m not your seductress.”
2017 HIGHLIGHT: This year marks the debut of her first line of footwear. Square toes, golden sheen, loafers and mules… this is going to be one hell of a year.
Ryan Roche’s designs have been embraced by Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jaime King, Kendall Jenner and Solange Knowles. Hello, dream team. Ryan has quickly made a name for herself in the fashion industry. Inspired by a childhood spent beneath the wild blue and pink Idaho skies, her collections evoke a modern minimal romance through luxurious textures and a harmonious color palette. Her signature shade of blush comes from a dye derived from avocado skins and pits that Ryan sources herself. Her breathtaking work has not gone unnoticed. She was the runner up in the prestigious 2014 CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund, a nominee for the 2015 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, shortlisted for the 2015 LVMH Prize in Paris and now nominated again for the 2016 CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear. This talented woman is flourishing in the industry and with her first investor on board we don’t see her slowing down anytime soon. Her signature of powerful femininity was definitely felt during her SS17 show as ballerina vibes took over in gently flared leggings, camisoles and belted cardigans all in pale shades of apricot and optic white. A dreamy spring is ahead.
2017 HIGHLIGHT: Watch for a newly expansive selection of woven pieces – beautiful tailored blazers and jackets – made with amazing Italian fabrics. Yes, please.
Designers Keren Longkumer and Valerie Quant are much more than just business partners. They are long time friends and really, soul/sole mates. They met in 2011 in the Footwear Design Program at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. After collaborating on a few projects, they realized their similar eye for design (and their mutual love for Solange) and the rest was history. Now working from opposite sides of the world, Valerie from Los Angeles and Keren from Nagaland, they continue to make daring footwear for the modern woman. They redefine classics through unconventional forms and proportions, rich hues and textures all alongside a laidback aesthetic. Even though their brand was only founded last year you can find them stocked at over a dozen big-name indie boutiques: Assembly, Objects Without Meaning, Concrete + Water, Sincerely, Tommy, and featured on Racked, Profyles, Slash-Zine and The Zoe Report, to name a few. LOQ has accomplished so much in such short time and they aren’t stopping anytime soon. Their SS17 collection brings something a little different to the table and you won’t want to miss it.
2017 HIGHLIGHT: Three words: woven leather mules.
Designer Lean Zuniga considers lamé an everyday luxury. Now that’s something we can get on board with. After styling film and theater and running the much cherished vintage store La Reina in Alphabet City, NYC, she launched her line Electric Feathers in 2007. Inspired by the elegance in all things effortless and functional, her clothing captures contemporary timelessness and versatility. They are intended to be worn in many environments, from to day to night and throughout all seasons. She works hard to design pieces that are wearable yet unique. Take her drapey, inventive frocks from FW16, they can be twisted around the neck like a halter, worn straight and flowy, or unhooked like a robe. This adaptability has become her signature. In her SS17 collection she reworks her usual rope-neck convertible dresses, cropped jumpsuits, and hooded parkas, but with one major change: every piece is unisex. The underlying androgyny reestablishes her designs as truly straightforward, classic and versatile. Look out for boxy tops and shorts that are so comfy and effortless, you won’t want to take them off.
2017 HIGHLIGHT: Breakthrough into unisex pieces. Clothing for all is the way to go.
Designer Alnea Farahbella prefers riding motorcycles over driving cars. In fact she spent over a decade teaching overseas and riding motorbikes with her little Shih-Tzu dog named Tiger. How rad it that? From her global travels Alnea discovered the connections between fashion, art, design and education. She taught design workshops in Japan, met her partner in Vietnam whose style inspired the beginning of Toit Volant, and then returned to the states where her second wind for fashion took off. After living in New York and teaching with Shelley Fox for the MFA Fashion Design & Society at Parsons, her and her partner packed up their lives and drove cross-country to Los Angeles. The sunny city is now where she creates her independent fashion label Toit Volant. Alnea’s designs are classic yet progressive, dynamic, playful, adaptable and affordable. She sees fashion in a realistic view, believing in quality materials, sustainable manufacturing, fair labor and social responsibility. She evokes culture and ethnicity in each and every piece she designs.
2017 HIGHLIGHT: Sustainable, structured garments at a totally reasonable price.
Valentina Bezuhanova couldn’t find the right block heels for her garden wedding so she, her twin sister Sabina Gyosheva and their longtime friend Denitsa Bumbarova created by FAR. Well, it didn’t happen quite so simply as that, but the brand was inspired by their own personal realization that there was a serious gap in the market for high quality yet affordable fashion footwear. They felt that they could never find shoes they truly loved so they decided to design their own. Inspiring, we know. With a focus on sustainability, they make each and every shoe out of dead-stock leather from premium Italian factories. This not only allows for minimal waste production but also keeps their shoes super exclusive and interesting since sometimes only two pairs in one size can be produced. It’s clear that these girls know shoes, but they also know how to work an Instagram. Right from the get go, they created a strong social presence through beautiful, quirky re-’grammable images. So, if you haven’t already seen them watch out for editors, bloggers and celebrities constantly gramming their own by FAR shoes. Hands up for the power of Instagram.
2017 HIGHLIGHT: Lace up boots you can wear with anything.
Styling and collaborating with musicians like Peaches, Feist and Kelela is just the beginning of the long list of cool things on designer Desiree Klein’s CV. After living in Berlin and studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her long-time passion for product design. This is where she opened her first eponymous shop in Little Armenia which carries her own brand DÉSIRÉEKLEIN and a curated selection of fellow Berlin designers. Her collection is comprised of timeless, detailed pieces, that are simple to wear, yet complex and smart in their structure and aesthetic. They are easily and cleverly transformable: think a simple skirt with two drawstrings in the front to adjust the length. Easy yet genius. Her ready-to-wear styles are also androgynous, as many of them double as unisex items. We seriously can’t get enough of her artistic one-of-a-kind designs. Prepare yourself for saturated blues and yellows, more drawstrings, and ruffles in the best places for SS17.
2017 HIGHLIGHT: Her unique manipulation of fabric that brings life to clothing.
Maria Dora designs with a heavy concentration on research, trends and visual aid. Two moodboards: one for techniques and shapes, and the other for overall influence. Her combination of studies, Political Science at the University of Iowa and Fashion Design at Parsons the New School for Design, guided her to design this way. It’s like combining an analytical essay with a sculptural piece. After spending many years working as a studio assistant for Juan Carlos Obando and doing sweater development for various films, Maria Dora pursued her deep love for knitting with the creation of her eponymous line. She designs in-demand staples with a focus on cozy knitwear and functional layering pieces. The collection has a strong dedication to craftsmanship with each and every piece handmade locally in Palos Verdes. Let’s just say this knitwear is so good you would wear it in the dead heat of summer. Her SS17 brings even more goodness to the table. With a focus on sincere silhouettes, enveloped in emotional color and finished off with honest details, these clothes are for an adventurous spirit.
2017 HIGHLIGHT: The softest fabrics in the world, such as a cotton cashmere blend and Japanese bias wool. We. Can’t. Wait.