Since 1973, when the first Paris Fashion Week took place, the show has been known for its haute couture and elegance. Like New York, Paris is considered to be one of the biggest fashion cities in the world. People come from all over the globe to see the Paris fashion shows that will identify what’s going to be in style that upcoming season. While New York Fashion Week is considered to be more about American trends, PFW is more about Parisian traditional couture. As Paris Fashion Week came to a close this week, we’re reflecting on the runway shows that featured independent designers who took center stage.
Some of the more well-known designers included Miu Miu, Chloé, Hermes, Balenciaga, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. But every year, we see new designers at PFW who have their own private label without a big fashion house behind them who leave their mark on the fashion world. That’s not to say the major players aren’t leaving a mark. But there’s unique respect given to designers who are trying to make it on their own, with fewer resources and more of a focus on sustainability and collective impact. Their self-expression shines through each piece and representation of their heritage, gender identity, and other personal factors come into play.
You might not recognize their brand names but they’re already being worn by celebrities and other high-profile people. There’s even an organization called Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode that helps emerging designers gain visibility in Paris. Let’s get to know the independent designers of Paris Fashion Week 2022 and what their individual designs represent, below.
As a slow fashion brand, MaisonCléo considers its environment, employees, resources, and more when designing clothing. Founded by Marie Dewet and her seamstress mother, the French label brand is handmade in France using fabrics like silk, cotton, and linen. Each design is named after women in their family, which adds a sentimental element to each design. MaisonCléo is known for its blouses, collars, frilly dresses, and French fashion. Marie and her mother, who was once her sole seamstress, currently work with a small team of seamstresses. Everything is made-to-order and they drop limited new designs every Wednesday for followers to buy.
They are also the Instagram account owners of Fast Fashion Reality, which raises awareness about fast fashion companies that exploit workers, steal designs, and are bad for the environment. MaisonCléo prides itself on its transparency about its materials and design process. This year was their first Paris Fashion Week with designs that were available for purchase right after the show. They did not disappoint!
Kenneth Ize debuted his first Paris runway in 2020. Since then, his popularity has only grown from there. “To me, Paris is where people come together,” Kenneth told Teen Vogue in 2020. During the pandemic, he worked with the Karl Lagerfeld label to create a capsule collection. The designer’s West African designs lend credence to his hometown, Lagos. Naomi Campbell has walked in previous shows which is one of the reasons why he quickly became a global sensation. Ize’s designs are structural, colorful, and strongly representative of his African culture. From knitwear to denim shorts, the tailoring on his new silhouettes from PFW 2022 is something to be admired. Founded in 2013, Ize’s brand only recently introduced womenswear in 2019. A lot of his inspiration comes from his mother, who wore colorful tailored prints to church growing up.
Ize sources his materials from local artisans in Nigeria and ensures a safe working environment for his employees. His design process is collaborative and thoughtful, which consistently shows up in his designs.
One word that aptly describes this Parisian brand is “goth.” But it’s not the goth you’d see in your average high school — unless you attended Euphoria. Founded by Vincent Garnier Pressiat, the Pressiat brand is high couture, eccentric, and futuristic. In his Victorian style, Pressiat puts gender fluidity above all else in his designs. All of his clothing is designed for all genders. By mixing Victorian style with blurred gender lines, Pressiat reimagines a time period when people didn’t go against the fashion status quo.
How do designers participate in Paris Fashion Week?
Emerging designers can reach out to Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, an organization that helps independent designers showcase their designs at Paris Fashion Week and open them up to opportunities.
What brands do Paris Fashion Week?
Most of the well-known brands that participate in Paris Fashion Week include Valentino, Balenciaga, Chanel, Miu Miu, and more. Emerging and young designers who aren’t as popular also showcase their designs, which is a great way for them to reach a wider audience.
Supporting independent designers means your supporting a brand that cares about the environment, its workers, and high-quality materials.
- By Bonnie Azoulay