Harper's Bazaar

January 2011

Fashion Collectives

Established designers embrace the power of networking to showcase the best new talent

‘It is clear that this century will be one of connectivity and networking’ says trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, ‘of social cohesion and functioning within a group.’ Designers are taking note, as a collective mentality is blossoming in a business not renowned for its altruistic approach. Dolce & Gabbana has just launched Spiga 2 – a Milan flagship store that dedicates space to less established names including Martin Grant, Kinder Aggrugini, Peter Jensen and Alaia alumna Sophie Theallet, alongside rookies such as Brussels-based Marc Philippe Coudeyre, or Erkan Coruh, winner of Milan’s Who’s On Next talent-spotting project. The Italian duo allowed each designer to edit their own display. ‘At the beginning of the career, it is important for a designer to present his/her most representative pieces,’ says Stefano Gabbana. And they are adamant that it’s not a publicity trick. ‘We will carry on selecting new talents’, says Domenico Dolce. ‘This space is there to last.’
Yoox founder Federico Marchetti is also keen to nurture new talent within his online empire; was developed as a showcase for young British designers including Mary Katrantzou and Todd Lynn.

Notting Hill lifestyle boutique Wolf & Badger operates as a collective too, providing up-and-coming designers with premium retail space. ‘We saw the opportunity to bring power back to designers,’ says director George Graham. ‘Customers love buying into the unique story behind the exciting brands we stock, and love the idea of owning a lesser-known label that may well soon be the next big thing.’