4 New Designers to Watch in 2021

From the extravagance of a runway show or the excitement of seeing the latest trends, a new year brings a new class of up and coming fashion designers. If you’re looking to add some fresh inspiration to your Instagram feed, here are five top fashion designers worth following.

1. Minju Kim (@_minjukim_)

“I am inspired by everything around me ranging from books and letters, to friends and my dreams. I could describe my collection as my personal diary. I always start the brainstorming stage of my collection by drawing illustrations that explain my season concept. Then, we produce our own fabric using different techniques — this became MINJUKIM’s signature style, which allows us to differentiate from other designer labels.” (Minju Kim)

Fresh off her appearance on Netflix’s hit show, Next in Fashion, Minju Kim is known for her unique take on South Korean fashion, streetwear and a subtle color palette. Her inspiration originally came from the intricate artistry of manga. She pays close attention to the subtle details of each character’s outfit. With two successful collections under her belt, you’ll want to keep Kim’s name on your radar.

2. Steven Stokey-Daley (@stevenstokeydaley)

“The traditionalist and sartorial references feel radical because they aren’t meant for me with my background. I also think there are micro-radicalisms within my approach to design, applying details of typically working class pieces (A Gannex coat, for example) to sartorial outerwear cut in a tattersall check, subverting the functionality of the elite codes of dress.” (Steven Stokey-Daley)

At the intersection of sustainability, high-fashion and a powerful femininity come the designs of Steven Stokey-Daley. Most famous recently for his collaboration with Harry Styles in the Golden music video, Stokey-Daley is beginning to carve out a niche space in the fashion industry for his work—and people love it.

3. Sheena Sood (@abacasheena)

“While my identity doesn’t define me, it certainly has informed my work and my creativity. I’ve always found my heritage to be the biggest source of inspiration. In fact, becoming re-inspired by a trip back to India is what led me to start Abacaxi in the first place. The richness of the textiles, the colors, jewelry, diversity in the ways of dress — there are lifetimes of inspiration to pull from. Art and fashion can also be tools to address my journey as a South Asian-American queer.” (Sheena Sood)

In 2017, the Abacaxi clothing brand—and brainchild of fashion designer Sheena Sood—dazzled audiences on the runway. With traditional South Asian silhouettes, her clothing includes bold prints, bright colors and intricate textiles. Her most recent collection, “The Butterfly Effect,” draws inspiration from the interconnected nature of all living beings on Earth, and how they interact with one another.

4. Kenneth Ize (@kennethize)

“To me, luxury means something that is carefully made – because think about it, that’s how this all starts. It all starts with the making. I say when I’m making my own fabric, that that’s when the magic happens! I offer [my customers] a fabric that takes three days to make, when we start making it we have no idea what it is going to turn out to be, but we take our time to find out what it will become.” (Kenneth Ize)

Kenneth Ize, originally from Lagos, brings African luxury to the forefront of his collections. The collections are strongly rooted in authenticity and craft. His work has drawn attention as bold blazers, fringed pants and bold suits pass along the runway.

Finding Your Favorites

Fashion, much like art, is subjective. The top fashion designers in your eye may not be the same shortlist for another. Leverage social media to find other up and coming fashion designers that appeal to your interests, whether it’s the intricacy of couture or the power of streetwear. Whatever and whoever you find, let yourself get inspired!

Caroline Liller

Caroline has experience in digital marketing, content marketing and public relations. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism/PR from The University of South Carolina. When not working, she enjoys traveling, being active and exploring her hometown.

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