One of the great things about running FW is that I get to look at so many amazing independent labels doing amazing things, it’s often been said on this site how many great retailers, designers and makers are out there away from the High Street and that’s why there is a specific award for these wonderful businesses in the FW Awards each year. I as the man behind FW have been on a personal quest to track down the best out there and so with that in mind this is the only award that is not picked by the judging panel, it is hand-picked by me from all the things I’ve seen in the last year.
There will be a new winner this year though, after discussion with a couple of the judges the point was made that charity shops have as many branches as big name High Street shops so we have moved their eligibility into that award. So who did I pick . . .
I’ve talked about Pritch many times in the last couple of years and Arina Pritch continues to produce some of the most innovative items available, I’ve loved the idea that jackets can be constructed and deconstructed by the wearer to create so many looks from just one piece, and the use of colour, one of the stand out things from fashion week in September were the striking blues that had appeared with other colours. Also I’ll make a lil nod toward Meet The Russians where Arina showed her personality and said some really honest and forceful things about the industry and where she wants to go. Designers should have voices to match their talent and Arina has both in masses.
Looking back at shots we have retweeted over the year showed how often I think Mod Dolly has hit the target so perfectly, there’s a real nod to fashions past worked into something beautiful and modern. Here is a label that has created a distinctive style, you can tell Mod Dolly garments instantly, and continues to build an amazing look book.
The takes on trends were excellent, the use of tartan stood out in the dresses, and the accessories really fed into the feel of simple, classical, yet quirky and fun.
Need we point to the repeated featuring of Mod Dolly on our Labels To Look Out For as further evidence of why we think this label has really made something special so quickly and we know that it has an even bigger future ahead.
East London has become a real fashion hub with so many independent businesses there that its hard to know where to look at times, well actually its fairly easy for me, it’s The White Pepper. Another label that has a clear identity, I adore their sense of play and fun mixed in with achingly beautiful tailoring as well as more casual items. They have found a way to mix street style with vintage ideas and from that there is a clear look to what they do. part of the FW standard is that independent labels really stand out as they explore their creativity more and all of the nominees do this.
The White Pepper have made real progress in where they are available, having been with ASOS & Topshop as well as many other retailers and the label will continue to grow, but as I like to tell people I liked them first. ;-p
Forage & Find are a fairly new find for me, nominated by one of the FW readers for the Non-High St Directory. When I went to check them out, well wow, just wow, such beautiful and exquisite pieces hand made from reclaimed antique items they find new beauty thanks to the work of the team behind the label.
I love vintage, and old things in general so seeing the charm bracelet made with typewriter keys had me sold instantly. So often great ideas fail in the production and yet every single item on the site finds its mark.
My personal faves are the pocket watch inspired designs, timeless beauty from time pieces it works on so many levels. This is truly a label to watch out for as I’m convinced they will go far.
So there we have it, my nominations, the result of this award along with all the others will be announced at the star-studded awards night in the chicest of London Venues. (see how I can sell a bar by a train station, but one day we’ll be hiring the savoy and having canapes with Bollinger rather than peanuts and pints. Also we’re a bit light on the celeb front, anyone got Barry Chuckles number?)
In all seriousness though these are stunning labels that are leading the charge of the indies go nd check them all out.