It is 12 years since Kennedy set up the initiative with the Old Truman Brewery and, lest we forget, there is a whole impressive roster of talent (to name just six for now: Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Richard Nicoll, Meadham Kirchhoff, Louise Gray and Roksanda Ilincic) who have enjoyed this rite of passage. Fashion East doesn’t just support young talent. It delivers it.
So, which three names were in the spotlight this season?
Maarten van der Horst on his second outing at FE had moved on from his Central Saint Martins MA and all those eccentric Hawaiian prints and nylon petticoats. But there was still fun to be had with those bold pink rose prints on ice white shiny jackets and pastel blue or pink shirting - all suitably subversive, in a summery fashion. While the arctic white silks worked a treat, with that occasional punch of pink, the fine cotton shirting – in short playsuits or knicker-shirt combos – needed beefing up with some suitably arctic winter outerwear.
Marques’ Almeida (that’s Marta and Paulo) have fast built a reputation for artfully distressed denim – they did it for their terrific MA collection in deep indigo, for their first Fashion East collection last season in bleached denim and last night, for autumn / winter 2012, in black and lime denim. Actually, they threw in some equally distressed raggedy knits and ravaged suede, too. Best were the most moth eaten of pieces with frayed loops that ran down bare backs or fronts of jeans and the pearl grey mohair half-sweater with the beat-up long suede beneath.
Most impressive was James Long, the former menswear designer who loves to embellish, now on his third and final run with FE. Man, what that man can do with wool, leather, sequins and fringing! It was all there, on one sleeve. Well, two sleeves, of a quilted leather jacket. He splashed out with glittery pink Lurex that he fashioned into a simple coat or full skirt and there was one cream wool tube dress with stripes of alternating textures that really showed off his skill for off-beat decoration.