If you’re looking for under-the-radar brands to know about, @UpNextDesigner is your new best friend. Known to discover labels right before they take off, the Instagram account shares new, emerging and talented designers from around the world to its vast community of followers that include industry insiders, influencers and A-listers like Bella Hadid.
Founded by Albert Ayal, UND helps young creative talents gain serious exposure in an oversaturated space often dominated by larger brands. The fashion publicist scouts emerging designers to highlight and share via posts, which he curates based on his research of trends and talents. According to an interview with WWD, this also includes looking to global fashion schools for promising students, whom he then connects with to follow their progress and share their work. Over time, the platform grew a following of people captivated by the designs of emerging talent while Ayal formed relationships with those he spotlighted.
Ayal also uses UND to bridge up-and-coming designers with stylists through connections. Pieces seen on celebrity clients gain widespread exposure that catapults small labels into the mainstream, often resulting in high purchase volumes and flooded DMs. His first link put LA-based textiles designer Erika Maish on the map after her glittering custom beaded two-piece was worn by Kylie Jenner on vacation last year.
More recent moments include Brooklyn-based designer Kim Mesches’ sculptural dresses (above) appearing in the cover art of Cardi B and Normani’s Wild Side and a striped top from knitwear designer Georgios Trochopoulos spotted on an out-and-about Kendall Jenner. Beyond that, designers have also gone on to land features in commercials, magazine editorials and more after being UND-approved.
With over 97,500 followers at the time of publishing, UND exists today as a space for people to come together and celebrate young emerging talent. In addition to posts, Ayal has expanded to do deep dives with brands as well as Instagram takeovers that allow designers to introduce themselves and interact with new followers. From fresh interpretations on suiting to eco-conscious designs and innovative textiles, the diverse range of expertise from the designers on the platform provides an endless source of inspiration and options to help you expand your repertoire of favourite brands. It’s also a good place to sniff out emerging trends and gain insight into the future direction of the industry. But let’s be frank, who doesn’t want to find out about the next big thing before it blows up?
To help you get started, we’ve listed a few of our favourite designers scouted by Up Next Designer:
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We can’t keep our eyes off the bold prints and wearable shapes of Lisbon-based designer Constanca Etrundo’s garments. The Central Saint Martins textiles graduate uses sustainable fibres as the base of her deconstructed woven fabrics to create playful, colourful looks that are bound to brighten anyone’s day. Drawing inspiration from a 1950s series by Life Magazine, her AW21 collection takes a more earth-toned palette to present natural prints and geometric cut-outs across pieces designed to comfort and shelter during current times.
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