The Fashion Awards 2017: Who Are The New Designers You Need To Know?

Ahead of Monday night's bash, ELLE walks you through the nominees for best upcoming womenswear designer.

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The MET Gala might have a fairly controversial theme (hello, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination) this year, but don't let that distract you. The Fashion Awards (in partnership with Swarovski) - aka the Oscars of the style industry - are about to blow you away.

Why? Well, firstly they've got the glitziest of locations. Come December 4, London's Royal Albert Hall will be dolled up with an extra-long red carpet, starry guests and over-the-top performances. In fact, this is the first year they've introduced a musical guest, so expect something big.

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Secondly, the nominee list features the very best talents in the fashion scene right now. From Rihanna's Fenty Puma label battling it out against Supreme to Gigi and Bella fighting for Model of the Year, it looks set to be bigger, and better, than before.

Perhaps a little less well-known are the British emerging designer categories. There are two awards - one for menswear, one for womenswear - but both celebrate the British-based designer who has had a major creative impact on global fashion over the last 12 months.

So, who's in the women's camp? ELLE finds out.

Faustine Steinmetz for Faustine Steinmetz

Faustine Steinmetz is the 31-year-old designer who taught herself to weave via YouTube tutorials. So far, so very millennial. She did, however, also complete her Masters at Saint Martins under the guidance of Louise Wilson - meaning she's trained with the best. Steinmetz is now based in east-London and launched her eponymous brand in 2014.

At her first LFW runway show in September, the designer – who previously showcased her work via art exhibition–style presentations – nailed what's fast becoming her signature look: reworked denim. Whether it was distressed jeans or denim jackets, Steinmetz knows how to reimagine something you've definitely already got in your wardrobe and make it special.

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Natalia Alaverdian for A.W.A.K.E

If you're an avid reader of ELLE, you'll already be very familiar with 32-year-old Natalia Alaverdian's buzzy fashion label. We delved into her home (a Shoreditch warehouse, naturally) and uncovered not only a trove of vintage treasures (which you can read about here) but stacks of books, cherished photographs and a penchant for all things futuristic.

The Russian-born, Belgium-raised Alaverdian served as fashion director at Harper's Bazaar Russia for five years before switching to a more photography-based role at the magazine, where she then also began her label in 2012. The result? A.W.A.K.E, which is an acronym for All Wonderful Adventures Kindle Enthusiasm, and essentially means strike while the iron is hot. The clothes are heavily influenced by Japanese art and culture, beloved by everyone from Kim Kardashian to the fash pack, and are currently taking the world by storm.

So, what's next? Plans for 2018? 'I've had a challenging year. The plan is to be a bit less stressed!' she tells ELLE, 'and to grow and develop our own online store which we launch in December.'

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Rejina Pyo for Rejina Pyo

In September, Rejina Pyo (a former assistant designer to Roksanda Ilincic) made her debut runway presentation at London Fashion Week. Two things stuck out: firstly, she recruited almost half the show via Instagram. And secondly, the size 4/size 6 debate wasn't so much 'dealt' with rather totally ignored. The models actually reflected women's bodies because, as Pyo herself explained: 'I had a baby six months ago and that really made me think about all different shapes of women, and their roles. My role—a mother—is one that I didn't have before and this is like a celebration. Nothing political or particularly feminist, just a celebration . . . I want to make clothes that people can wear every day and still feel special.'

So, yeah, Pyo is a modern-day designer. And while we're already sold, it also helps that the clothes are pretty spectacular: ruffles, oversized slouchy suits and wool coats which are designed for real women with real lives (not just for the catwalk). The best bit? Prices are surprisingly affordable.

As she tells ELLE: 'I'm honoured and grateful to be nominated by industry leaders and alongside so many designers that I admire. 2017 has been a big year of change for me with the baby this nomination feels like a pat on the back of myself and my team. I feel confident and excited for what we can accomplish.'

Matty Bovan for Matty Bovan

Matty Bovan was always destined for great things. After winning the prestigious LVMH Graduate Prize immediately after his graduate show, he went on to assist at Louis Vuitton, collaborate with Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu, and then launch his own label under Fashion East. One of London's pre-eminent young designers, his thought-provoking collections (designed for the 'female version' of himself) are filled with colour, texture and twisted glamour.

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As Matty told ELLE:

'This feels like a year of great transition, particularly as I will be holding my first solo show at fashion week in February. I am very excited'

Michael Halpern for Halpern

Wonder why you're suddenly seeing sequins absolutely everywhere? Sure, you expect to see shiny things at this time of year, but 2017's bling explosion has notably outshone anything we've seen before. That'll be down to 'sultan of sequins' Michael Halpern. The 29-year-old designer's 70s-influenced work has inspired the likes of Amal Clooney to hop into a pair of sequinned flares. The Central Saint Martin's alumnus is currently dazzling the fashion scene while simultaneously putting glamour - seriously unabashed glamour - back on the map. Whether he wins or not, Halpern is going to be huge.

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