Fashion world is in a state of flux. Last year many designers left big companies or shuttered their own, while others prepared to get back into the game after a long break. Meanwhile, prominent members of the industry are questioning the pace of the fashion cycle. There’s no doubt about it, 2016 is going to be a year of change for the fashion industry on many levels. There are a few designers who could be at the forefront of this change. And so, these are the people we will be keeping a close eye on over the next 12 months.
Rumors spread quickly that Alexander Wang would be cut from his position as creative director for Balenciaga last summer. Industry insiders chalked it up to slow growth, then a new designer was named, Demna Gvaslia. As founder of the buzzing, cult-worthy high-end fashion collective Vêtements, the 34-year-old Georgian designer has made his label an overnight success thanks to a wearable-yet-distinctive aesthetic. In addition to that, he has also been named as Alexander Wang’s replacement at Balenciaga. Demna will make his Balenciaga debut at Paris Fashion Week in March 2016, while continuing to spearhead Vêtements. If the new Balenciaga is anything like Vêtements, we can expect a mix of deconstruction, oversized proportions and urban-inspired silhouettes, though we’ll also be paying attention to how Vetements evolves this year.
JACK MCCOLLOUGH AND LAZARO HERNANDEZ
For 13 years, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have been innovators on the New York fashion scene with collections offering an equal mix of artsy chic and high-end craft. The two behind Proenza Schouler are making a play for the big leagues. Having succeeded in striking that rare balance of forward-thinking and commercially viable, the brand sold a minority stake to Boston-based private equity firm Castanea Partners last year. Expect global store openings, expansion into new categories and perhaps flashier runway shows in 2016, as well as the possibility of doing menswear.
One of last year’s biggest shocks was Raf Simons departure from Dior, which Simons said due to the reasons of “desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside of my work.” No doubt, we can look forward to an expansion of his namesake line, which hopefully not only grow in menswear but also include more womenswear.
Jonathan Anderson or J.W. Anderson, who won the menswear and womenswear designer prizes at the recent British Fashion Awards, has unquestionably been the ‘it’ designer of the last few seasons. At the head of his own brand J.W. Anderson and as the creative director for Loewe, this Northern Ireland-born designer has already worked with the biggest luxury houses and ready-to-wear brands, including collaborations with Versus Versace and Topshop. There is no doubt that the British designer will continue his dazzling ascent next year. He could turn a new page in 2016, as his name was among the first mentioned as a replacement for Raf Simons at Christian Dior, along with Riccardo Tisci and Phoebe Philo.
Alber Elbaz is one of fashion’s most beloved designers. For years, he has been inextricably linked to the house of Lanvin, and his ousting from that house gives him the chance to make a name for himself. The Israeli-American designer already had a major impact in 2015 and could do so again in 2016. Having spent 14 years at Lanvin, Alber Elbaz stepped down as the brand’s creative director at the end of October 2015, causing an earthquake in the fashion world as well as at Lanvin itself. It remains to be seen what the future holds for this famous designer who has received many awards for his work. Rumors quickly surfaced of a move to Christian Dior, but this has not been confirmed by Elbaz nor the French fashion house. He started with Instagram, which he’ll use to keep up his personal brand until he’s ready to announce his next chapter. Surely, we’ll be seeing those glasses and bow ties at the end of a runway again soon.