The dictionary defines a ‘Margin’ as: The edge or border of something. It's fitting then that this is also the name of London’s longest running independent fashion trade event, renowned for seeking out the hot new design talent currently teetering on the edge of the fashion industry, and launching it headfirst into the playing field.
Hidden away in an intimate showroom exhibition space just off London’s high profile Bond Street, this year’s Margin event introduced a host of new brands and directional, fresh designers from as far as Japan and as near as Bethnal Green, all of whom are currently making their debut on the UK fashion scene.
Space is limited, so only brands with a clear directional edge and something new to offer are invited to exhibit. The result? Visitors are guaranteed a sneak preview into the forefront of the latest quirky boutique-driven street wear collections.
More encouraging still, Margin 2013 demonstrated the growing conscience of the fashion industry, with a handful of emerging brands with impressive ethical production morals. First up is Printmonkey London, a fresh faced, Shoreditch-based t-shirt label with a love of graphic design and a goal to make ‘wearable art’ for men and women. Inspired by street art, “hidden back-street treasures, and the diverse style of the people around them,” not only are Printmonkey’s ethereal designs contemporary and hip, but the brand also operates fair-trade practices in every aspect of production.
From Shoreditch to Sri Lanka, next on the moral compass is DaDa Underwear, created with the intention of making the generic men’s underwear industry more interesting, more ethically conscious and sustainable. How? By “using art, bamboo, recycled paper and empowerment.” Not only is the underwear – which comes in three styles Trunk, Shorty and Retro - manufactured ethically using (amazingly soft and light) refined bamboo yarn, the team are also working to empower local Sri Lankans, taking them from challenging situations, teaching them how to sew and providing them with a livelihood that enables them to sustain on their own.
Last but not least is the beautiful debut collection of embroidered t-shirts and jumpers by up-and-coming young design house Netty Ratti. Launching the fledgling label off the back of 10 years of creative industry experience, Netty Ratti’s unique cross-stitched tops are “inspired by tattoos and creatures.” And the cherry on the proverbial cake? All products are made using materials sourced from ethical suppliers and designers, and production and finishing is carried out locally by people in Manchester.
Also of significant mention amongst the shows creative niche labels this year was Rory Hutton, whose quirky yet beautifully handcrafted bowties place a strong emphasis on tradition while at the same time aiming to reinvent a classic wardrobe staple inspired by the spirit of British eccentricity. The gorgeous pieces have already been snapped up by Fortnum & Mason. Watch this space, people!
Margin 2013 also saw Chinese import Judy Wu bringing her fledgling collection to London at last, with a stylish brand blending her Chinese roots with a darker, more modern and edgy rock and roll flavour to suit strong yet feminine women.