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Inspiration: REBEL 30 Years of NEWGEN Fashion Talent


At FashionCapital we have been supporting and advising up and coming fashion designers / brands since 2001, when the portal was initially set up as part of the London Fashion Forum. Now, 22-years later, the team can truly say that the industry isn’t for the faint-hearted. While creativity features at the top of a winning agenda there are so many additional elements that make a fashion brand successful; business, financial planning and marketing, to name a few. That aside London has long been earmarked as a place that nurtures creative talent with many innovative designers being snapped up by designer brands around the globe.

Recognising the raw talent that the UK produces has initiated support platforms over the decades including; Fashion Scout, Fashion East, On|Off and NEWGEN. The latter is currently celebrating 30-years since its launch back in 1993, with one of its first recipients being none-other than (Lee) Alexander McQueen. 

Mary Katrantzou
Jonathan Saunders

NEWGEN provides financial support for emerging talents to showcase at London Fashion Week using the British Fashion Council’s (BFC) catwalk, presentation and virtual exhibition space, providing exposure to influential press and buyers. To celebrate 30-years of the BFC’s NEWGEN support The Design Museum in London is hosting a retrospective exhibition, titled ‘REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion’ sponsored by Alexander McQueen.

Gareth Pugh

With over 300 designers to choose from, including the likes of Christopher Kane, Charles Jeffrey, Christopher Raeburn, Erdem, Henry Holland, Kim Jones, J.W. Anderson, Mary Katrantzou, Molly Goddard, Roksanda, Simone Rocha…the list goes on, the curators of this exhibition, BFC Ambassador for Emerging Talent Sarah Mower MBE and Design Museum Senior Curator Rebecca Lewin, were truly spoilt for choice.

Remaining true to the ‘rebel’ title the selected exhibits showcase experimentation and exploration of new ideas through displayed garments, sketchbooks, catwalk looks and video footage. Presenting the designers very early work in all their unpolished, highly imaginative glory the exhibition also reflects on what was happening culturally, particularly in London, at the time with a very nostalgic trip back to the 90’s club scene. 

Iconic pieces include Björk’s Oscars swan dress designed by Marjan Pejoski, Harry Styles’ Steven Stokey Daley outfit from his video for ‘Golden’, and Sam Smith’s inflatable latex suit by HARRI worn at this year’s BRIT Awards. With personal favourites; Porcupine quill earrings for the Alexander McQueen SS03 show by Shaun Leane, macramé meets contemporary cutout detailing by the late Sophia Kokosalaki and innovative, re-spun denim from Faustine Steinmetz.  

Shaun Leane earrings

Alongside a plethora of creative ideas the exhibition explores cultural collaborations, inclusivity and ongoing developments in reuse and sustainability. And it doesn’t end there. At the launch of this provocative exhibition Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer announced that the British Fashion Council will receive £2m in government funding to continue investing in emerging London Fashion Week designers as part of the NEWGEN scheme. 

FashionCapital editor JoJo Iles commented: “What an impressive body of work the NEWGEN initiative has supported over the years and long may this continue. If you are interested in innovative fashion I highly recommend a visit to explore this unique archive in detail. The virtual catwalk makeover provides a bit of fun too.”

REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion sponsored by Alexander McQueen is on until 11 February 2024 at The Design Museum, 224–238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG.

If you would like to find out more and apply for NEWGEN support please visit the British Fashion Council website.


By JoJo Iles

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