Throughout fashion history, designers have created It bags, It t-shirts, It accessories, and even It hats, but none in recent years have done what Chopova Lowena has for the skirt. People who have never even taken the slightest interest in skirts before are now donning Chopova Lowena’s unhinged, carabiner-belted kilts—Madonna and Dua Lipa are fans, too. The label has successfully created a piece that still has the power to shock in 2022, which says a lot.
Still, Chopova Lowena only had its first runway show this season, staged at Porchester Hall near Paddington Station in London. A slew of the aforementioned skirts, inspired by the founders’ relationships with their Bulgarian roots and folklore, came out in droves, but the designers also found a niche in capitalizing on punkish outerwear, sculptural puffy skirts with bows, button-downs with metal details, crafty-looking knits, printed jeans, and storybook frilly dresses with knots and ties here and there.
To put it simply, Chopova Lowena is writing its own folklore and fast becoming a brand that’s a little weird and a but off-kilter—but perfectly content in its many oddities. Founded by Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena, this season’s collection was titled, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,” a quote from a Gertrude Stein poem, and looked to Bulgaria’s Rose festival for inspiration.
The skirts were glorious, but Chopova Lowena also excelled by showing pieces that kept real-life styling in mind. Especially before the brand really blew up, one could easily see street style stars, stylists, and industry insiders wearing the mini kilts over baggy jeans, with leggings, over a big old band tee, or even paired with a dress—and the collection conveyed the same DIY spirit.
There were also lots of new styles to get excited about: suiting and bra tops done the Chopova Lowena way (covered in metal studs and silver swirl motifs that make a slight clanking noise as one walks—or rendered in leather crochet); oversized outerwear; denim vests and skirts with those same carabiners; hoodies and knitwear with the label’s signature crafty aesthetic; knitted tinsel lacrosse jerseys, and Chopova Lowena’s well-loved flocked fabrics in totally new, maximalist silhouettes.
In the past, Chopova Lowena has prioritized a diverse casting in their look books, and there was plenty of that here, too. The range of models—combined with the mini skirts, big jackets, raver-style boots with pom-poms and baggy hippie jeans—felt like a play on subcultures and expressive individuality. As a mix of heavy metal, Bulgarian folk music, and lacrosse players screaming blasted over the speakers, the final lineup felt reminiscent of the most stylish high school cafeteria full of cheerleaders, punks, Goths, cool kids, and jocks. At the school of Chopowa Lowena, having a distinct and directional vision is key to coolness.