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Four up-and-coming UK designers to look out for

Lucy Brown speaks to four promising UK designers about what their brands represent and what role fashion plays in one's identity.

SophiaTel

Photographer: Sophia Edsobva


Nigerian designer, Sophia Edosovba, created SophiaTel in 2019, a lifelong passion for her, having started sewing at the age of eight. SophiaTel creates luxurious, special occasion dresses with the brand's mission statement being 'Every dress has a story behind it and the story was written by you.'

"It isn’t all just about designing clothes," she says. "It is also about the relationship between the person making the clothes and who wears it."


From the initial idea to the sketch and the fabric choice, Edosovba creates her designs to help bring out the wearer's individuality and strives for perfection. "For me, it’s not about creating thousands of dresses. I believe what’s worth doing is worth doing well, so even if I create just one dress, I make sure I create something close to perfection," she says.

What role does fashion play in a person’s identity?

"Fashion is a non-verbal identity of a person. I believe it would be boring if everyone was the same, so embrace who you are and let your fashion speak for you."


Ferda London

Photographer: Lauren Tugwell


Founded by designer Ferda Yayci in 2018, with its first collection released in 2019, Ferda London creates fashion with a message.


"My last Autumn/Winter 2022 collection is inspired by the global difficulties women are going through in their daily lives," she says. The collection represents women combating injustice.


"The rich fabrics, colours, prints and modern silhouette are to represent the power and victory gained and that we will gain," she explains. Ferda London makes clothes for women to feel both powerful and sexy, something that Yayci is extremely passionate about.


"Every woman deserves to be respected in a world where inequality unfortunately still exists. So I would love for them to walk with pride - not just because they are wearing my clothes, but to help them discover how strong they are when they wear them."


What role does fashion play in a person’s identity?

"I do believe the way we dress has always been the strongest communication tool without speaking a word. From the film industry to politicians, we might not all notice, but many of them use fashion to develop messages. So it isn’t as simple as it seems for some people."


Seref

Photographer: Serefina Charles


Designer Serefina Charles, created the clothing brand Seref, a range of gender-free garments and accessories during the pandemic after being unable to secure a design job after graduating from university.


"I just thought I had nothing to lose and began the process of starting my own brand," she says. After seeing a lack of creativity in gender-free clothing, Charles knew that this was the route for her.


"The majority of what was available were boxy, oversized tees and hoodies branded as unisex. I wanted to create exciting, expressive clothing that could be worn by anyone and everyone, while at the same time being mindful of my impact on the environment," she says.


Seref minimises her brand’s impact on the planet by using dead-stock fabrics that would otherwise end up in landfills.


What role does fashion play in a person’s identity?

"Clothes are what the world sees of you before you get a chance to show your personality. They can show a snippet into who you are like as a person. Being able to dress however the hell you want can be a courageous act in a society that thrives off of insecurities. The most inspiring people to me are those who are not afraid to be their true, authentic selves, and I can often recognise this in the way that somebody dresses."


Ran by Nature

Photographer: Bryna Chrismas


Ran By Nature is an adaptive and sustainable activewear brand launched in 2021 by designer Bryna Chrismas. Chrismas, says that the brand’s mission is "to promote mindful movement and sustainable living while offering diversity and representation within fitness and fashion".


Ran By Nature’s fabrics, trimmings and packaging are all sustainably sourced - they are either recycled, organic or natural. In addition, 10 per cent of the brand’s profits go to charity, more specifically to the charity LimbPower. LimbPower supports amputees and individuals with limb impairments.


For their Sports Durag, Ran By Nature has partnered with Black Trail Runners, offering a portion of proceeds to the charity seeking to increase the inclusion and representation of Black people in trail running.


What role does fashion play in a person’s identity?

"Clothing plays a huge role in identity. Our relationships, memory, culture and even mood can be expressed through clothing. By making specific fashion choices, we are sending messages to ourselves and others about what matters to us- what kind of person we are."


This is from the Kindred. Identity issue, out now. Purchase the copy through the link here.