5 Fashion Week Designers You Need to Know

September is one of my favorite months for many reasons: Back-to-school, Labor Day, Lil’ Wayne’s Birthday, Starbucks’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes and, of course, Fashion Week. Fashion Week is actually a misnomer; instead of a week, it is a month-long event full of runway shows, presentations and parties that starts in good ol’ NYC, and then travels to London, Milan and Paris.

Don’t know your Marc Jacobs from your Calvin Klein? If the only designers you know hail from Project Runway or Go! International lines at Target, listen up. Here are five hot designers whose work has them poised to become the next Oscars de la Renta and Diane von Furstenbergs.

Grab a bib and get ready to drool.


Hailing from Northern California, this 25-year-old designer has been making fashion-lovers swoon for his tough-girl chic designs since 2007 when he launched his first full women’s collection. Since then, he’s been making the grungy, sexy, I-don’t-give-a-f**k look cool again. Basically, anything Wang puts down the runway instantly becomes the latest it-item. Even Topshop, Britain’s better version of Forever 21, has ripped off his designs. This fashion newcomer isn’t going anywhere and is sure to have a long and successful career ahead of him.


One day, sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy are in California packing the few dresses they’d designed into suitcases to show to editors in New York. A week later, they’re on the cover of Woman’s Wear Daily (think the New York Times for fashion types) and their collection is championed by the likes of Anna Wintour. Rodarte, named after their mother’s maiden name, is a design house focused on extremely beautiful, detailed, whimsical pieces that drop jaws. These creations are literally wearable art. Can’t afford to spend $2,000 on one dress? Don’t even worry; the duo is planning a Target collaboration that will be available for sale this December. Expect gorgeous party dresses with offbeat touches on a college-friendly budget.


Have you ever wanted a piece of clothing that’s comfortable and cool but doesn’t make you look like you’re trying too hard? Phillip Lim is your man. Everyone from Scarlett Johansson to Camilla Belle to Kate Hudson has worn items from his collections, full of cute dresses in laid-back patterns adorned with feminine details. Earlier this year, he started Go Green Go by Phillip Lim, a 10-piece eco-friendly collection full of tunics, biker jackets and harem pants. As Nicole Phelps from Vogue said, “Lim knows how fashionable women want to dress.” And to me, it’s head-to-toe Lim.


Are you an international jet setter that spends one week in Ibiza, the next in St. Barth and ‘relaxes’ in St. Tropez? Neither am I, but if I was one, I would only wear Matthew Williamson. His crazy prints in relaxed fabrics have me imagining myself on a yacht in the Caribbean with a piña colada in hand. This British designer, who’s heading back to London Fashion Week this season to celebrate the British Fashion Council’s 25 anniversary, has been designing his own label since 1997. Earlier this year, he released a collection with H&M that had fans waiting in line for 12 hours before the store opened. With fans like Katy Perry, Kelis, Sienna Miller and Keira Knightly, this man is my second-favorite UK import… After Prince Harry, of course.


So, you’re an aspiring fashion designer on a plane to New York and notice that Anna Wintour, possibly the most powerful woman in fashion, is on your flight. What do you do? Instead of cowering in sweatpants, as most of us would have done, Lazaro Hernandez, half of design duo Proenza Schouler (pronounced Skool-er) slips a note to the notorious ice-queen. One thing leads to another and in 2002, during their final year at Parsons The New School For Design, Barneys New York buys Proenza Schouler’s entire senior collection. Since then, the buzz around Hernandez and partner Jack McCollough hasn’t stopped. Their line, full of strong, timeless statement pieces that can be styled in a myriad of ways, is always one of New York Fashion Week’s most-watched show. Expect at least one Spring 2010 trend to revolve around this collection. Oh, and Lazaro, no more getting head butted by celebs, OK?

Are there any other designers you think we should know about?

All photos via style.com showcase Fall 2009 runway looks

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