One of the huge privileges of being the Fashion Editor at Large and working with Grazia is that, for the last four years, I've sat on the NEWGEN panel for London Fashion Week. NEWGEN is about recognising and nurturing fresh new talent, and giving it a platform through TopShop sponsorhsip. When I see how well former NEWGEN designers such as Chris Kane and Erdem are now doing, the rewards speak for themselves.
But NEWGEN is not the only fashion sponsorship program in town as I discovered when asked to sit on the selection panel for Vauxhall Fashion Scout. VFS is the junior version of NEWGEN. David Koma graduated from VFS to NEWGEN 18 months ago, and indeed got noticed when his VFS show was rammed and editors tried to squeeze in to his off-schedule event housed at their permanent show space at the Freeemasons Hall in Covent Garden. In short, Vauxhall Fashion Scout is a force for good.
The most coveted sponsorship prize from VFS is the Merit Award. The recipient gains a fully sponsored catwalk show and exhibition space at Vauxhall Fashion Scout during London and Paris Fashion Weeks, and three years business support. I have to say that when I first saw the upcoming September SS12 Merit Award winners Leutton Postle, comprising knitwear production expert Samantha Leutton, and CSM MA 2011 graduate Jenny Postle, I was somewhat lost for words with a sense of awe at the handmade brilliant madness of the work. At first it was as if Michael Van Der Ham had taken crystal meth, but then it sinks in that this is ALL KNITTED....
Jenny Postle's Central Saint Martin's MA graduate show
With knitwear having a resurgence much in the same way print has done over the last five years, Leutton Postle have possibilities for growth and development that we can't even imagine yet.
The girls mission statement: "[our work] freely embraces riotous colour, unusual surface texture and rich pattern to create beautifully offbeat knits for women. Each piece is handmade and aims to produce truly original couture-quality knitwear by pushing the boundaries of technique and design."
Kicking off their business with a sponsored catwalk show is most fortuitous; now its over to them to design and create summer knitwear (a challenge) that will keep the Browns Focus customer (they have an exclusive AW11 deal with the above collection with the store) and hopefully others clients and retailers happy.
I know all of us on the panel of VFS are very much looking fowarsd to the Leutton Postle show in September.