Avant Garde designers have always been the rebellious sibling in the fashion industry. Against the status-quo, conventional tailoring and regular themes, their creative minds have been a huge part on the evolution of fashion. Deconstructivism started with Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, who then became a huge inspiration to Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester. The exploration of taboo subjects from Alexander McQueen was also beyond his time. Plus, there have been many more that hold an integral part of how fashion looks like today. Much like those designers in their time, the new avant garde designers create out of the anxieties, politics and social constraints of the current zeitgeist. Below I’ve listed my top three avant garde designers that are recently exploding with popularity!!
After being appointed creative director of Y/Project, Belgian born Glen Martens raised the game with his experimental proportions and witty take on historical references. What is core to the brand (and something that I am drawn to) is that the clothing is gender neutral. In an interview, Glen Martens states that rather than looking at gender, he designs with the intention that the cut would look good on anyone. In a recent article I wrote, I mentioned Y/Project when I talked about the trompe l’oeil/nakedness trend that is sweeping the fashion scene. Though Martens is already a hugely recognised designer in his own right, his runways just seem to be getting better and better. If you love items that have duality, an element of risque, and playfulness, try some of the pieces below!
Dark. Moody. Post-apocalyptic. Kiss boots. – Those might be a few words that instantly come to mind when you think of Rick Owens. Rick Owens’s brutalist design with a mixture of modern glamour has earned him the name, “The Lord of Darkness” from his dedicated following. Although in recent shows (did you see his SS23 show with the ball of fire), Owens has skyrocketed in popularity, the brand actually existed since 1994. Taking his experience designing in an underground glam and grundy scene. Owens brought an elevated technical construction for a more couture-like feel. All over Instagram, fashion-bloggers are channeling their more gothic sides with pieces from Rick Owens. Those ‘Kiss Boots’ have become a cult favourite. Ready to tap into your futuristic dark side?
Founded by Christa Bösch and Cosima Gadient, Berlin-based label Ottolinger pieces are centred around construction and deconstruction. In fact, the process of their design is destructive in order to create their couture-level techniques. Skirts are shredded, cargo trousers are burnt, everything is chaotic yet controlled. What I love most about Ottolinger is that not only do the designs contain an element of “cool,” the disorder is seductive – even sexy. Tap into your more rebellious side with an Ottolinger cut-out top, and layer with your favourite boxy blazer or match with loose jeans.