5 Fashion Labels on the Rise

From an award-winning teenager to an established 30-something branching out on his own, here’s a primer on the best up-and-coming brands to know now.

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Vejas The Canadian wunderkind Vejas Kraszewski may only be 19, but he already has a deep understanding of luxury. His hot-selling brand Vejas, which launched in fits and starts in 2014, landed him a place on the short list for this year’s LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, an acknowledgement that encouraged him and his small Toronto team to hold an informal presentation in Paris this past March. His fall collection, which features sophisticated pieces in wool felt, shaved goat hair, alpaca knit, nylon, and a purple leather that Kruszewski says reminds him of a bruise, is relatively womanly for a designer whose clothes tend to defy conventional notions of gender. “Certain looks are better suited to the curves of the female body,” he concedes. “But I always make pieces for myself as well.”

Carlo Volpi Knitwear

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Carlo Volpi Knitwear Carlo Volpi shows his designs on men, but his intricately textured sweaters in tutti-frutti hues are quite lady-friendly. “I’ve always found the notion of gender irrelevant,” says the London-based ­Italian, who is 38. “I consider my work unisex—I like to mock traditional stereotypes.” Furthering that point with his fall collection of tunics, printed sweatshirts, satin blousons, and jogging pants, he combines Pop stripes with schmaltzy broken hearts and cartoon prints. Volpi produces the sweaters using Italian yarns and knitting machines that provide the lo-fi look he prefers. “I love the freedom and the magic of knit. It still amazes me how you can create a garment from a strand of yarn. It’s a weird obsession, almost a fetish.”


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Atlein Antonin Tron spent the past decade working at Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Louis Vuitton, all the while longing to start his own line. “It had to be the right moment, both for me and for how I envisioned things,” he says. It wasn’t until the 32-year-old French designer came upon some dead-stock jersey and a family-run factory with the savoir-faire to work with it that Atlein was born. The name refers to “an abstract destination—the Atlantic Ocean is really important to me,” says Tron, who escapes whenever he can to surf on France’s Southwestern coast. His love of the sport is reflected in his debut collection, comprised of intricately patched dresses and fluid separates. “Comfort and freedom of movement are important. I try not to forget the woman who will move and live in these clothes.”


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Afterhomework(Paris) As the name suggests, Afterhomework(Paris) began as an extracurricular activity. Two years ago, Pierre Kaczmarek, then just 15, started designing T-shirts for his friends; last fall, he launched an all-black collection inspired by the French painter Pierre ­Soulages. Kaczmarek makes his own patterns or drapes directly on models, and plans to take sewing classes rather than enroll in fashion school. The precocious teen, who works with Elena Mottola, 18, a stylist who is his “muse and right arm,” says his most recent offerings are a response to the terrorist attacks in Paris last November—one of the targeted cafés was just down the block from his apartment. “This affected us deeply. I wanted to show that young people can rise up through artistic expression.”


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Rokh Growing up in South Korea in the late 1990s, Rok Hwang would go to great lengths to get his fashion fix. “Information was very limited—I remember searching and searching to have a look at Martin Margiela’s or Raf Simons’s latest collection images,” he says. It was a magazine interview with Louise Wilson, the legendary British professor of fashion design, that motivated him to move to London and attend Central Saint Martins, after which he landed a job working with Phoebe Philo at Céline. “I learned so much about tailoring from her and the beauty of perfectly cut garments,” Hwang, 32, says. His new line, Rokh, designed with his wife, Stella Im, 26, debuts this fall. “The Rokh girl has attitude,” he says of his “distorted” trenchcoats, satin slip dresses with bondage-style straps, and slightly savage fur coats. “She’s real and raw.”

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