MATCHESFASHION announces The Innovators Programme initiated and designed to champion young design talent. The initiative has been built upon from an existing womenswear project to include menswear and is a robust package of practical support including mentorship, preferential business terms and marketing. The programme launches in September.
12 designers across menswear and womenswear
Support across all social, editorial, and marketing channels with original content for each designer
Preferential payment terms and £1.8 million in marketing support
Communication and marketing focus for each designer in global territories
The 12 designers represent the best in global talent and are: Art School, Ahluwalia, Chopova Lowena, Stefan Cooke, Germanier, Halpern, Harris Reed, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, Thebe Magugu, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Bianca Saunders and Wales Bonner. Eleven of these designers are already partner brands.
‘‘Our customers come to MATCHESFASHION for our curation of fashion and are often looking for the very best emerging designers. Our success is rooted in authentic partnerships with emerging talent and we feel fortunate to work with so many talented designers. So, I am delighted to announce The Innovators Programme, a year-long commitment to 12 designers that offers meaningful support across retail, marketing and communications with mentoring to help empower them. We look forward to working closely with these designers to connect them more deeply with our customers globally and help them scale their businesses.” Ajay Kavan CEO at MATCHESFASHION
‘I am delighted that we have formalised our support for emerging talent, developing The Innovators into a programme that actually helps futureproof their businesses in what has been a tough year for the creative industry. I have worked with many of these designers for a long time and I am so happy that we are committing to their visionary collections in a practical, material way.’ Natalie Kingham, Buying Director at MATCHESFASHION
‘‘Emerging talent has always been at the heart of our business but often these businesses exist outside of traditional production cycles and need additional help and support to grow. This programme solidifies what we have always done, recognising talent and promoting their inspiring collections. We’ve worked closely with many of these designers already and I’m excited to continue our journey together.’ Damien Paul, Head of Menswear at MATCHESFASHION
The Innovators Programme was developed as the MATCHESFASHION team collaborated closely with designers during the Covid-19 pandemic. It became clear that many of the designers were unsure how their brands could thrive through 2020 and that practical support and ongoing commitment was required. Kingham and Paul developed the programme to ensure that each brand was amplified via MATCHESFASHION reach across content, social and marketing whilst providing business mentorship and generous financial terms.
Each designer was chosen for having a unique and powerful DNA which is intrinsic to the curation at MATCHESFASHION and which illustrates the diversity and creativity which appeals to our global customer base. Both Priya Ahluwalia and Kévin Germanier work in a sustainable manner without compromising their design aesthetic, Grace Wales Bonner weaves art and cultural references into her collections, whilst Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY explores and deconstructs couture technique. Art School set the design process within the broader community whilst Chopova Lowena fuse tradition with craftmanship in a modern way. Harris Reed’s creativity sparks conversation and inclusivity and Michael Halpern approaches glamour via a modern lens, Bianca Saunders explores modern masculinity and Ludovic de Saint Sernin embraces fluid notions of sex and gender. Thebe Magugu sets his South African heritage in a contemporary light and Stefan Cooke have a subversive and youthful approach.
The Innovators Programme will launch in September with original content and amplification to support each designer as their collection arrives on site. The support will continue throughout the year of the programme.
The collections are available on MATCHESFASHION.COM.